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Gluten Free Cornish Pasty

Gluten Free Cornish Pasty

I grew up in a small mining community in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There were three major immigrant groups that established the community; English (Cornish), Italian (Sicilian), and Scandinavian. All three of which I claim heritage.

Growing up pasties were as common on our table as a hamburger. Every year there was a school fundraiser where ladies in the community got together and made thousands of pasties. Really thousands. It was quite the feat! It wasn’t until I had traveled away that I realized the Cornish pasty was a unique meal.

Early mining settlement – Upper Michigan

Mining was a major industry and that’s what lead to the abundance of immigrants who came to the area. They brought with them their cultural and culinary traditions.

Pasties were a staple for Cornish miners. The dish is very simple and the story behind its importance in mining is as interesting as the dish itself. Essentially a pasty must have potatoes and onions, other fillings are added based on the person whose eating it and wrapped up in a flaky crust. Cornish wives would make pasties and stamp one end with the initial of the person whose lunch it would be.

Entire Cornish families worked in the mines so it was important to know whose was whose.  The pasty itself keeps warm for long periods of time but in case it did cool down miners would toss it on the end of a shovel and heat it up over a head-lamp candle.  

A pasty was always eaten upright without a fork.  Superstitious miners claim that the stamped corner of the pasty should be left behind for the “gremlins” in the mine. This is the same end that miners held onto while eating, and as mines often had high levels of arsenic there may be something more to this superstition.

Gluten Free Cornish Pasty

I’ve never had to make pasties because they’ve been readily available for purchase.  The recipes are decades old and frankly why mess with something that tried and true?

MarocBaba had come to really like pasties before his celiac diagnosis and was really sad that he wouldn’t be able to eat them anymore. So when I had to decide what comfort food I would make I took on a gluten-free pasty.

I found my aunt’s Cornish pasty recipe but couldn’t use the directions as they were – lots of lard and beef fat in the recipe.

I made a few changes for this dish but keep in mind this is a basic recipe. Flank steak and rutabaga are another variation.

Gluten Free Cornish Pasty

Gluten Free Cornish Pasty

Yield: 8 pasties
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Traditional Cornish pasty's are made with flour and sometimes lard. This recipe is gluten free and lard free.

Ingredients

Pastry Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 8–10 Tablespoons cold water
  • extra brown rice flour for dusting work surface

Filling Ingredients

  • 4–5 potatoes in 1/2″ cubes
  • 3/4 – 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • small handful chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter grated

Instructions

Pastry Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mix together the brown rice flour, corn starch, quinoa flour, zanthan gum, and salt. Cut the butter into pieces and use your hands to mix the butter into the dough. Continue mixing until the dough looks like small peas or a sand like texture.
  2. In another bowl mix the apple cider vinegar, eggs, and cold water.
  3. Slowly combine the liquid with the flour, kneading to incorporate all of the water.
  4. Once all the liquid has been added, knead for 1-2 minutes to ensure everything is combined well. The dough should be slightly sticky but not too wet. You may need to add more water.
  5. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Filling Instructions

  1. Cube the potatoes into 1/2″ pieces and chop the onion finely. Stir together in a bowl.
  2. In a skillet brown the ground turkey. When it is cooked halfway add the beef broth and continue cooking until the broth has been completely absorbed.
  3. Mix the meat with the potatoes and onion, seasoning with salt, pepper and parsley.
  4. You could make this mixture in advance and refrigerate at this point until ready to assemble.

To Assemble

  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Divide the dough into equal pieces. Using this recipe I made 8 medium sized pasties. Traditionally they are much larger.
  3. Grate the 2 Tbsp butter into the bowl with the filling and mix using a spoon.
  4. Dust a work surface with brown rice flour and carefully begin rolling out the dough into a circle. You will need to use flour liberally so that it doesn’t stick.
  5. On one half of the dough add the filling leaving room around the edges to close the dough.
  6. Fold over the other half to make a half moon.
  7. Crimp the edges of the pasty by rolling over the dough with your hands to create what looks like a braid.
  8. Place completed pasties on a baking sheet.
  9. Once full slide the baking sheet into a preheated oven.
  10. If making medium pasties bake at 425F for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350F until the crust is brown (25-35 minutes). If the pasties are larger increase the time to 20 minutes at 425 and 40 minutes at 350F.

Notes

Some people prefer to add the meat to the pasties raw. I don't, especially with this version as I've found the longer cooking time needed doesn't work with the dough.

Pasties often come “pre-baked”. To do this bake the pasties at the 425F temperature and remove from the oven. Allow to cool then place into a freezer. Once they have frozen, wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. To reheat place in a 350F oven for 45minutes – 1 hour.


Gluten Free Cornish Pasty

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Katie

Monday 11th of March 2019

Also, is there a substitute for quinoa flour?

Amanda Mouttaki

Friday 15th of March 2019

Sorry same as the other question, that's what I used for it. You probably could use an all purpose gluten free flour vs the separate quantities to make this.

Katie

Monday 11th of March 2019

What's the total cooking/prep time on these? I'm thinking about making them for dinner tomorrow. Also, how many people would this serve? Would one pasty be enough per person if we had sides?

Amanda Mouttaki

Friday 15th of March 2019

Hi Katie - I'm so sorry I wrote this post many years ago and I can't remember exactly the cooking and prep time. I believe that these made 4 large pasties.

Lani

Thursday 19th of January 2017

Hello, I have made this recipe once and was prepared to make it tonight for dinner. I have it bookmarked on my computer and it appears that the actual recipe is missing. Can you please re-share it or tell me how to view it?

Thank you!

Amanda Mouttaki

Thursday 19th of January 2017

Hi - it should be working now - thanks for letting me know there was an issue!

Emily

Saturday 10th of September 2016

Thank you for this recipe. My mom is gluten free, and I made these for us this week. She loved them.

I just have a few comments about the recipe itself. Mostly formatting to make it easier to understand. For the dough recipe, I would put the ingredients in the order that they are used, moving the butter above the wet ingredients. Also, it mentions 1 cup of water at the end of the ingredients list, but never anything about it in the instructions. Was it supposed to go in the dough as well as the 6-8 Tbsp of cold water? I didn't think it needed it, so I left that out. Also, I wouldn't list the butter in the filling as 1/4 of a stick, I would put it as 2 Tbsp, only because that is the standard way of measuring butter. You might add a suggestion to freeze the butter beforehand to make grating easier. You might also wand to elaborate on the assembly part. It didn't specify how thin to roll out the dough, or about how much should go in each one. I ended up with a lot of filling left over after I had used up all the dough I had.

I don't mean to be critical, but I wanted to point out what confused me about your recipe in order to maybe help someone else out. We did enjoy eating them though. I was glad to find something that my mom would like.

Lisa Kelly

Friday 31st of July 2015

This Gluten Free dough recipe is to die for ! I made 2 different types of Pasties with it & they both were incredible. You can't even tell that it is Gluten Free.

Thank you!!

Amanda Mouttaki

Friday 31st of July 2015

So glad you like it! My husband loves it still ;)

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