Dublin Pasties and Cornish Protectionism.

Dublin Pastie (12 of 12)While I was researching Cornish Pasties, I discovered that the former tin miners are a pretty defensive lot. They have the humble pasty protected under European legislation. By way of contrast, with their pasty protectionism, when the Duke of Wellington invented the Beef Wellington (I believe he carried a fillet steak and mushrooms into battle, hidden inside his left boot.), he didn’t say that the Beef Wellington couldn’t be prepared outside Ireland (for he was an Irishman). No, being both Irish and generous of spirit, he allowed anybody, anywhere prepare the now famous dish. By contrast with the complex and delicious Wellington, the humble pasty was originally some leftovers, wrapped in pastry, by a tin miner’s wife. So why, oh why, can one not prepare a Cornish Pastie anywhere outside Cornwall?

Given the complexity involved in chopping up a bit of beef and vegetables and then wrapping it in pastry, I can’t see the big deal. So I set about trying to understand the attraction. For fear of bringing the weight of the European Parliament down on my head, I decided that I should cook Dublin Pasties. These differ in a number of ways from the internationally protected Cornish gastronomic wonders. Firstly, I used a mix of pork, red onion, sweet potato and regular potato. They couldn’t sue me over the ingredients. Could they?

A lot of chopping involved in this. To prevent legal action, mine are not quite cubes.

A lot of chopping involved in this. To prevent legal action, mine are not quite cubes.

When everything is chopped, season well and mix.

The Cornish season theirs too. Do they have rights or are they seasonal?

The Cornish season theirs too. Do they have rights or are they seasonal?

The pastry is a very straightforward affair. Sorry, the pastry is unique and is handed down through generations. I believe it is authentic Cornish NOT.

  • 500 grammes of white flour
  • 120 grammes of  lard
  • 30 grammes butter
  • A half teaspoon of salt
  • 120 ml of water

Put everything except the water into the food processor and give it a lash until it is well combined and the mixer is jumping around the work surface.

Generations of pastry making skills go into the mixing (What nonsense).

Generations of pastry making skills go into the mixing (What nonsense).

Pour in some of the water until it combines into a pastry looking lump. Wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge for an hour. Check the perimeter of your property to ensure no Eurocrats or former tin miners have gained access to prevent you ripping off their culinary colossus. Roll out the pastry and use a small plate as a template for cutting out circles.

Keep the knife handy to fend off Europol police.

Keep the knife handy to fend off Europol police.

At this stage, I was wondering if the Cornish had a protection on the pastry too. Hopefully not. Spoon the mixture into the middle of the circles of pastry.

They look a lot more colourful than the Cornish.

They look a lot more colourful than the Cornish.

Add a knob of butter, in the same way as the Cornish do (risky, very risky). Fold towards the middle and pinch closed along the seam.

Side note on making seams in a piece of pastry: Whatever you do, DO NOT make the seam down the side. It would appear that Cornish tin miners (those paragons of the epicurious) used to stuff the pasties down their trousers and retrieve them, for an underground feast, with an arsenic tainted hand. (Arsenic was part of tin mining, from what I hear.) The canny chaps would hold the pasty by the folded edge and eat all bar the arsenicated crust. As a result, only the Cornish can make this fold. We must fold down the middle. It’s European law! 

Fold to the centre. Legal action would follow if we folded to the side.

Fold to the centre. Legal action would follow if we folded to the side.

Being careful to not mimic the Cornish, I put the pasties together. An egg wash completes the process. The egg did not come from a Cornish Hen, which funnily enough, they have no protection over.

The folded centre reminds me of the Ha'penny Bridge - A Dublin landmark.

The folded centre reminds me of the Ha’penny Bridge – A Dublin landmark.

Perhaps I should apply to the European Commission to have the Dublin Pasty registered and protected? We could use the Ha’penny Bridge as our logo (In the same way that the Cornish built the Eden Project in the shape of a giant glass and steel pasty.). Into the oven with them for 20 minutes or until they turn a nice golden colour. Serve them with some traditional Dublin Guinness and some chutney. This chutney is made by the delightfully named ‘The Birds and the Teas’ and comes from County Wicklow.

Guinness, chutney and some unprotected pasty action. Lovely!

Guinness, chutney and some unprotected pasty action. Lovely!

My pasties may be rogue and unprotected. However, you can safely eat the crust and, in all honesty, the filling is more flavourful than I imagine the internationally protected version to be. So, until my application to the Eurocrats is passed and the Dublin Pasty is given the same protection as should have been afforded the Dodo, feel free to make it, wherever you live. Yes, even in Cornwall!

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  • Thank you for striking a blow for gastronomic freedom. That’s a handsome and individual Dublin pasty, not a pastiche of a Cornish jobby. And I’m very willing to bet it tastes a whole lot better than the grey meat and soggy potato version the Cornish protect so zealously…

    • I couldn’t (wouldn’t) have put it better myself Kate.

  • Looks delicious =)

    • Thank you. They worked well. Thanks for the visit too.

  • I’m with Kate on this one. When we were in Cornwall some years ago we made a point of eating Cornish pasties everywhere we went. We never found a good one and it put me off ever making them. The Dublin version looks better and your post made me laugh out loud so you get my vote.
    Got to go, there’s an angry tin miner at the door ….

    • Thanks Linda. I think I’ll apply to Bord Failte (Irish Tourism Board) for a grant.

  • Wonderfully written piece, Conor, and fabulous pasties. I adapted an Ottolenghi recipe into a pasty which could start a conflict between Cornwall and the Middle East:)

    • As long as you keep both of them away from my door Roger. I have enough difficulty dealing with my family!

  • Even when you’re making something I know I wouldn’t actually like, your recipes always make me want them – they just look so good in the photos!

    • Fay, you are too kind. But, you should try it before not liking it.

      • It’s the sweet potato, I just can’t stand it. Without that it would be lovely! I would just make it with the less attractive kind of potato. I would probably make the big, cornish style crust though – I love my stuff crusty 😉

        • Don’t tell the Cornish lads. They will hunt you down….

  • It’s the beer that I love!! I use Guiness to make Beer Stew (Beef Stew)!! Better than using stock 🙂

    • Rina, you have to try my Beef and Guinness Stew. The link is her: http://wp.me/p1NUXa-60.

      • ok! ill get back to you when I’ve done this 🙂

        • I would love to see you joining my transglobal pasty organisation too. If we had a specialist in the Philippines, it would be coup!

  • Nice firm pastry – sounds absolutely delicious. I’m a fan of hot water crust, but it’s difficult to work with for pasties. These look stunning!

    • Thanks Nick. They were pretty tasty and didn’t burst open. A result in my book.

  • I’m all for it Conor!!! Cornish pasties made in the wilds of South Dublin….I’ll quote a fella ‘province’ man of man..NEVER, NEVER,NEVER!! Great pastie fella, my trip around Cornwall last year saw these buggers blow my size 32 waist tp 36!

    • They would make great cycling food. Lots of calories and they could keep you warm too. No wonder the tin miners want to keep it all to themselves.

  • The seam looks suspiciously like a Jiaozi dumpling fold… Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles are likely on their way!

    • I cower in fear John. Though, when I get exterminated, the tin miners will just come up above ground and carry on. It’s not fair!

  • Isn’t the Waterford Blaa protected too?

    Am curious Conor, as Kate made pasties here last night but she sauteed the onions and garlic first. It looks like all your ingredients are raw going into the pasty – is that right?

    • Yes and Yes Lorna.
      The Eurocrats have seen fit to designate it as unique. I wont be baking them any time soon.

      All the ingredients went in raw. Very tasty, if you will pardon my self praise.

  • Love the Guinness pouring shot!!!

    • That helps with the ‘Dublin’ bit.

    • That’s what caught my eye the most as well. I wonder if one also needs to have a glass while cooking the Dublin pasty so as to do a better job. 🙂

      • A glass before beginning. Another to ease the process and a couple after usually works fine…

  • Delicious!

  • So funny, and those Dublin pasties look quite delicious. I wonder though, having now read the Cornish site, what is the percentage of your meat and vegetable content? (“The meat content must not be less than 12.5% of the whole pasty and vegetable content must not be less than 25%.” Really???)

    • It would be a pretty miserable pasty if one used these as a guideline. In my experience, lots of pasty makers tend to err on the 80% pastry side and hope for the best on the rest.

  • I just love reading about the unique “rules” of the European culinary world. As far as the States go, it seems in our country that Burger King can even blatantly rip off the ubiquitous McDonald’s Big Mac and not get sued. And the sad thing is that it is terrible fast food to begin with. HA! Beautiful pasties, though. 😀

    • Thanks indeed. Your naked commercialism is not the answer but the over zealous Eurocratting is not the solution either. There should be a court of common sense to sort this stuff out.

  • Another beautiful mouth watering creation. Is this your entry for the World Pasty Championship?

    • I’d be afraid to show up for fear of the Cornish!

      • Well, that’s definitely something to consider. Designing an entire building around their pasty is pretty serious stuff… 😉 You wouldn’t want to hurt their feelings with your new and much improved version, who knows how they’d react?! And never mind if they’ve read this post beforehand.

  • Lovely. I’d apply for your own protected status immediately Conor – you’re onto something here. A proud race, the Cornish, with their own recognised language and push for UK devolution. Very wise not to upset them, they could attack via Dun Laoghaire armed with stale pasties within a working day…

    • Maybe the best thing ye could do is slice Cornwall off the “Mainland” (A term I use cautiously) and push them out into the sea. Independence is often not all it’s cracked up to be.
      We can blockade the mouth of Dun Laoghaire Harbour by sinking the HSS High Speed Stenna ship. That would have the double benefit of blocking the port and removing the only link between Dun L and the UK.

      • Ha! As long as we get this years Six Nations fixtures out the way first….

        • We are not feeling Six Nations love over here after last weekend in the Europeans. We are feeling a bit vulnerable. We should sink now.

  • I laughed out loud at the following, “Check the perimeter of your property to ensure no Eurocrats or former tin miners have gained access to prevent you ripping off their culinary colossus.”

    I don’t often laugh out loud (don’t want to attract the attention of the Cornish, although we’re a good distance from the UK here in northern NL). Your photography is exceptional and I really enjoy the humor and dialog, not to mention the historical facts.

    • Those Cornish will stop at nothing to defend their rights to culinary greatness (?). The history, much like the beef wellington is best taken with a pinch of salt.

  • Wow, Conor. This is seriously beautiful. Love the photos and the history. Really great cooking!

    • The photos, at least, are authentic. I’ll let you decide on the history for yourself….

  • Ooh skating close to the edge with this. 🙂 It looks fabulous.

  • Looks amazing again. Is it really true that the Cornish pastry is protected to be only made in Cornwall? That’s crazy!

    • Absolutely. That’s why my Dublin one can go global. It’s very exciting!

  • That’s a damn fine looking pasty there Conor. I’m happy you took special care to avoid copyright legislation 🙂

    • You bet ya’. Would you consider doing an Australian one to defy them? My bro in Dar es Salaam cooked one today. My sister in Norway is getting ready to do one. Dedy (https://dentistvschef.wordpress.com/) has done an Indonesian version that he plans to post soon. We are going global at the expense of the Cornish!

  • Well, well, well, who knew! I think I’ll try your Dublin version. . . and set the dog at the gate in case any strange men turn up.

    • Dionne, You HAVE to give it a go. We are going worldwide with this. See my reply to Dedy below. Let me know PLEASE!

      • For sure. When I make mine, I’ll take a pic and send it to you.

  • i just made one, stuffed with salt crust quail and hopefully it will featured in my blog asa…
    always lovin your step by step preparation photograph….

    • I love it Dedy. My brother in Tanzania sent me a picture of a Dar Pastie. My sister in Norway is thinking of a Norwegian version. It looks like we are going global!

  • he pasty looks good I lived in north Cornwall for many years never found a good cornish pasty, they also do a Devon pasty now as the Cornish got up set at bakery shops selling pasties and saying they where Cornish!!!!! where ever you are in the world of mining they say you will fine a Cornish man the little buggers will dig there way into anywhere , I now live in Thailand and on one trip to pattaya on the coast I saw a street vender selling Cornish pasties made in Thailand, now that could set off a big international problem!!

    • Brilliant stuff Roy. I think we have them on the run. I’d love them to try and take a Thai street vendor to the European Court of Justice.
      Thanks for visiting and for the excellent comment.

  • What a treasure of insights and comments, here! I have the humble pasty on my blog, too – and in revolt suggest filling them with whatever you wish. Here in the states we have no Pasty police in the States! Ham & Cheese? Philly Cheesteak? 🙂

    • Thanks Frugal. Fill away with whatever you choose. We must keep looking over our shoulders in fear of Eurocrats….

      • Glad you understood my garbled sentence! I wonder how these would be filled with Guinness Stew! Too moist and messy, maybe.

        Yes, look over our shoulders and promptly consume any evidence! A time honored tradition of those on the wrong side of the law! 🙂

  • Conor, Oh Conor! I made this on Thursday evening with salted cod. Ohhh, the aroma and the flavour. Fabulous!

    • Brilliant choice Dionne. Don’t tell the Cornish or the Eurocrats. They will take action against you!

  • Nice to see the lard being used in the pastry! I know the Cornish pasties are protected but there are some shocking ones about.

    • Too true Maria. Why did they protect them?

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