Reigning double World Pasty Champion Graham Cornish has revealed some of his secrets to making a perfect example of Cornwall’s national dish.
Graham, from Launceston, Cornwall, won both the Cornish Pasty Professional and the Open Savoury Professional categories at last year’s inaugural World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project in Cornwall.
He has decided not to enter this year but instead will be giving visitors the opportunity to sample his prize-winning pasties at the second annual championships at Eden on Saturday March 2.
Graham said: “Every Cornishman’s favourite pasty is his mother’s and I started helping my mother make them when I was small, which has led to a life-long obsession.
“My favourite recipe is for a traditional Cornish pasty made up of skirt beef, fresh vegetables and seasoning, but it’s my mother’s secret method for short crust pastry that truly makes it.”
While Graham’s own recipes remain secret, he has ten top tips to perfect any pasty, whether it’s an old family favourite or a new invention, such as Graham’s award-winning smoked fish and saffron pasty.
Graham’s top ten tips:
1. Make the pastry one day for the next to allow the gluten to relax.
2. Ensure you have enough crimps to produce a small crimp; mine have 23 normally.
3. Don’t put the crimp flat on the baking sheet or else it will dry out on baking.
4. Buy the ingredients fresh and locally.
5. Recipes are never the same, some days an onion will be strong, others it might be mild and watery. Adapt the recipe to work.
6. For baking, start off in a high oven to seal the pastry, and then turn down until the pasty is baked.
7. The water content of pastry will be different most days, owing to absorption rates and what’s in the atmosphere.
8. For the non-purists, pasties can work with other fillings, like peppered steak with horseradish and clotted cream for example.
9. Keep the pastry cool, you want the fats to melt in the oven not in the kitchen.
10. This tip came from Michel Roux: to get a great glaze, enrich it with extra egg yolk and salt to achieve a glossy and crisp finish. .
The World Pasty Championship have categories for every level of expertise, with company, professional, amateur and junior classes and the chance to enter either traditional or unusual flavoured pasties.
It will cost £10 to enter each category of the competition, except for the junior categories, which cost £5. This gives the competitor plus one other person free entry to Eden on Saturday, March 2, 2013.
The event will include a full day of music, demonstrations, storytelling and tastings, along with a real ale bar with special guest ales and a grand Oggy Oscars party in the evening.
To read the full entry details and to register, go to: http://www.edenproject.com/world-pasty-championships-rules. To find out more about the day of activities, go to: www.edenproject.com/world-pasty-championships