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  • We're in St Agnes, Cornwall, and as you can see,

  • I've already got my Cornish pasty right here.

  • It's robust enough not to break,

  • and, actually, being so portable is the reason

  • why pasties are so beloved here in Cornwall.

  • It was because miners would take them

  • down the mine with them to have for lunch.

  • The times have changed, the mines have closed,

  • but the pasties have stayed.

  • How did they do it?

  • We're here to find out.

  • The key to keeping a pasty together

  • when it's filled to the brim

  • is all about the pastry itself.

  • This type of pastry is neither puff nor short crust.

  • It's called rough crust.

  • Made with flour, lard, butter, salt, and water,

  • rough crust is kind of the best of both worlds.

  • This pastry has a slight flakiness to it,

  • which makes it more flexible than short crust.

  • But since the butter and the dough

  • are mixed together and not laminated,

  • there aren't as many delicate layers as in a puff pastry.

  • But don't worry, I didn't say

  • we wouldn't get any layers at all.

  • Some will still be there.

  • This is because fresh dough is folded over

  • with leftover pastry from the day before

  • to create some air.

  • Nigel Hudson: So, you see there how

  • the pastry is getting thinner?

  • And we'll go back and forward

  • until we get the right thickness.

  • Claudia: Which is about this one?

  • Nigel: Yes, for the pasty rounds themselves.

  • So, you create the folds in the pastry

  • to create some air in the process,

  • to give that rough puff texture.

  • We don't want to go to a full puff pastry,

  • because it wouldn't hold the contents very well.

  • But just to make the pastry a bit lighter

  • than a short-crust pastry.

  • Claudia: Yeah, because that will break.

  • Which can feel very hard.

  • Claudia: Is that a custom tool that you have?

  • Nigel: I will not tell you the code

  • to the safe where this goes,

  • because without this, we can't make pasties.

  • This is a 7 1/2-inch pasty ring.

  • This is a medium pasty.

  • Claudia: And you got it handmade?

  • It's custom-made for you?

  • Yes, yes.

  • And this is the large pasty ring.

  • That's the 9-inch pasty ring.

  • Claudia: OK.

  • It looks like a tool you would use in an Olympic sport.

  • What's that sport?

  • Yes, it could be. Curling!

  • Claudia: Curling.

  • Is it sharp?

  • Nigel: Not particularly.

  • We have had this one sharpened recently.

  • Claudia: The person who sharpens this

  • is somebody you trust.

  • Nigel: Yes, yes.

  • Claudia: 'Cause you have to give this away.

  • Nigel: Yes. He has to sign for it.

  • Claudia: A robust, but flaky rough crust

  • is ready to meet with its other half, the filling.

  • We use a very scientific measuring device

  • called a cup.

  • Claudia: All of the fillings are humble ingredients

  • like potatoes and onions.

  • And their usage goes hand in hand

  • with the humble origins of the Cornish pasty itself.

  • Each ingredient is also there

  • to aid the portable nature of the pasty.

  • Potatoes are waxy and keep their shape when baked;

  • swede, or turnip in Cornish, adds sweetness

  • I'm told using carrots is sacrilege

  • onions and seasoning add flavor;

  • and beef and butter provide the juices

  • to create a nice gravy, as they say around here.

  • At St Agnes Bakery,

  • they use a cut of beef called rump skirt.

  • Nigel: Rump skirt is the quality end

  • of the skirt part of the animal.

  • There's only a few kilograms per carcass.

  • It's about twice the cost of the ordinary skirt,

  • but what you get is a much more luxurious product.

  • It's a lot leaner, it's a lot juicier.

  • It's less gristly.

  • And earlier you did mention the M word.

  • We do not use minced meat.

  • That, minced meat,

  • there have people who've not got out

  • of the building alive for using the M word.

  • Claudia: All right. Bye, I'm leaving now.

  • You may have noticed that ingredients are all added raw.

  • This is a rule when making Cornish pasty.

  • Why? Because they will cook all together

  • in their own juices when the pasty is baked,

  • and since the rough crust will hold them tight,

  • nothing will get out until you give a bite.

  • It's almost time to close the pasties,

  • and there is a specific technique to do it.

  • It's called crimping.

  • Each crimper seals the edges of the pasty

  • by pinching it at one side.

  • Tradition calls for 20 crimps.

  • Nigel: Each crimper's style is different.

  • Each crimp is different.

  • And when we're cooking the pasties,

  • you can sort of tell, oh, that's a Jenny crimp,

  • that's Rebecca's crimp.

  • And also there's a difference

  • between the right- and left-handed people,

  • because the right-handed people

  • end up crimping, end on the left;

  • the left-handed people end on the right.

  • Claudia: Oh, OK. Nigel: Yeah.

  • Claudia: So you're right-handed?

  • Nigel: Yes, yes.

  • And they all have a different style

  • for ending the pasties, too.

  • Claudia: That's where I come in.

  • No crimping experience whatsoever,

  • only walking in knowing that I'm right-handed.

  • What's my style going to be?

  • Sue Drew: Take the ends.

  • Claudia: Both ends? Sue: Yeah.

  • Claudia: Oh, that's loaded!

  • God! There's a lot of stuffing.

  • Sue: It's OK. And then

  • Claudia: Just try and close it?

  • Sue: Try to close the other end, yeah.

  • Claudia: OK. Oh, God, it's falling off the side.

  • Sue: It's OK, just hold it up.

  • Pull it over.

  • Claudia: Yeah.

  • Sue: And then you keep pulling it over

  • as you go along.

  • Claudia: God. All right.

  • So like that?

  • Sue: Yes. That looks nice, actually.

  • It's better than mine. [laughs]

  • Claudia: Who would have said?

  • Sue: And then you just keep going.

  • Claudia: Oh, yeah, that's not looking as nice.

  • Oh, you're not saying anything.

  • That means I'm not doing it right. [laughs]

  • Sue: No, it's fine.

  • It's just, we do it that way,

  • and you're kind of doing it backwards.

  • Claudia: Oh, really?

  • Sue: Because we started like this. That's it.

  • Claudia: Oh, oh, OK.

  • I always start off well, and then I kind of

  • just get lost along the way.

  • It's all right, so it has different personalities.

  • I'm going to pose with my wonderful creation.

  • So, why do you do a side crimp, then?

  • So the original Cornish pasty,

  • like, back in the,

  • well, many, many years ago,

  • when the miners were working in the mines,

  • was half sweet,

  • maybe jam,

  • and half veg.

  • Claudia: Oh, that's interesting.

  • So they used to take them down the mines with them,

  • and because their hands were dirty,

  • they would hold this.

  • Claudia: They hold the crimp.

  • Sue: To eat the pasty, and then leave that bit.

  • Claudia: Nice and crimped,

  • the pasties are finished with a glaze of oat milk