Best of British Food - Traditional Cornish Pasty
Jane Seymour of ‘Henry-VIII-not-the-beheaded-one’ fame was a fan of the Cornish Pasty. Although nobody can put an exact date on when the Cornish Pasty originated, a letter from a baker to Henry VIII’s Jane Seymour, saying “…hope this Pasty reaches you in better condition than the last one …” proves that they were popular amongst the royals in the 16th century.
Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives Of Windsor, first performed in 1600, contains the line: “Come! We have a hot pasty to dinner”.
As legend would have it, the Devil wouldn’t dare attempt to venture across the River Tamar into Cornwall, for the fearful thought of being put in a Cornish pasty as the filling.
No one person can lay claim to the pasty. It is believed that it was created for Cornish tin miners, who, unable to return to the surface at lunchtime, would have a hearty, easy-to-hold and simple-to-eat lunch dish. With their hands often dirty from a morning's work, the pasty could be held by the thick pastry crust without contaminating the contents.
The thick crust also acted as an insulator, keeping the contents warm for several hours. Pasties were often also made with a meat filling at one end and a sweet filling of fruit or jam at the other—making a complete meal in one!
Pasties may no longer be the food of tin miners, but they are one of the nation's favorite snack or lunch foods.
The pasty also makes a substantial supper dish when served with peas and gravy. "Proper Job"