Thursday, September 15, 2005

The answer is... pasties!!!

Wow, Alanna hit it right on! The mystery English dish is indeed a pasty. Cornish pasties, specifically!

Anne's father is English, and Anne's family makes these wonderful treat of a meal regularly. Being from a rather non-buttery culinary tradition, pasties were luscious and lip-smackin' good. (I just noticed how lip-smackin' is not a word used very often to describe Japanese food, since... you know, you need some oil to get those lips smackin'... I suppose tonkatsu and all those fried goodies qualify, but I don't make/eat them very often...)

But I have cultivated my love for puff pastry and anything crunchy during my long stay in the US, and boy, did I fall in love with these pasties!!! A true labor of love, pasties require patience, quiet work with meditative repetition, which all becomes worthwhile at - or even a pleasurable build-up to - dinner time as the excitement and anticipation build up as the pasties are peeled and opened.

The process of assembly starts only after pounds and pounds of potatoes and rutabagas are meticulously shredded into thin slices. We did this the old fashioned way with potato skin peelers - at the time, I thought to myself, "I will surely be getting Anne a mandoline for Xmas." But to be honest, the repetitive work was a pleasant diversion from the hectic pace of our crazy scientist-lives... So maybe I won't be getting Anne a mandoline after all...

Then, Anne cut out a circular piece of puff pastry the size of a dinner plate. Then she added each component in careful layers. The potatoes went first...

...followed by rutabagas and onions (see how Anne meticulously diced those onions?!)...

...with some beef, butter, salt and pepper...

...and the puff pastry was neatly folded and the edges carefully pinched...

...for a GLORIOUS finale after baking in the oven!

The golden brown pasties were breath-takingly beautiful with the most appetizing butter-y aroma. There was a faint sizzle from the inside that promised rich juices and delicious layers of vegetables soaking them up.

Anne showed us how to best enjoy a pasty by slicing the sides to release the steam and open up the package full of goodness. Oh, the scent that was released!!! As all three of us opened up our pasties, we stood speechless for a second while we took in the aroma and the tantalizing view of tender vegetables and juicy meats.

Our senses were most rewarded by the wonderful flavors as we devoured the pasties. The flaky puff pastry proved to be the perfect companion for the soft vegetables. The vegetables, which had soaked up all the butter and the juices from the meat, was supplemented with the only thing lacking to be a complete bite - texture - by the puff pastry. The meat provided a nice change in texture as well as a depth in flavor . A complete meal in itself, the pasties were a delicious treat and a totally novel dish for me. And it sure felt like epicurean debacuherizing!!

Thank you for dinner, Anne!!


Lulu said...

My uncle brought some home from Upper Michigan a few months ago. They were fabulous!

修子 said...


Alice said...


I'd never seen or heard about pasties before Anne introduced them to me, but yes, they are SOOO good!!!


日本からわざわざどうも、どうも! はい、その通りです! ぱりぱりのパイ生地にタマネギやら牛肉やらルダベーガなる野菜を入れたりして、オーブンで焼いたとーってもこおばしくておいしい「パスティー」を友達に作ってもらいました!