We love Cornish Pasties but, with no skirt of beef to hand, this is how we make them with pigeon breasts and pickled walnuts. A great way of tidying up the freezer and the larder for me at this time of year! Use a 500g pack of prepared shortcrust pastry if you prefer.
- 4 pigeon breasts, weighing about 200g
- 200g potato
- 1 large onion
- 4 pickled walnuts
- 175g butter
- 350g plain flour
- Milk to glaze
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 220℃, 425℉. Finely dice the pigeon and the vegetables into about 6mm, 1/4in pieces, and finely chop the walnuts. Mix together and season well with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Set to one side. Finely chop the butter.
- Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to bind into a stiff dough then knead lightly on a floured work top until the surface of the pastry is smooth. Cut into four, shape each piece into a round and roll out to a circle, using a 20cm/8in plate to cut round for a good shape.
- Pile a quarter of the filling into the centre of each piece of pastry and brush the edges of the circles with water. Bring the sides up together and seal them by pinching them firmly, then flute them together by pinching across the join with the fore-finger of one hand between the thumb and fore-finger of the other. Sounds complicated, but it will make sense when you do it! Place the pasties on a buttered baking sheet and brush with milk - between egg is even better but a decadent waste.
- Bake for 20 minutes (or in an Aga Roasting oven) then reduce the temperature to gas mark 3, 160℃, 325℉ (or in an Aga Simmering oven) and cook for a further 1 hour. If the pastry isn’t browned enough, put the temperature back up for a further 10 minutes. Serve the pasties hot with mustard or more pickled walnuts. Home-made coleslaw is great with them too.
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