I’m not sure if corned beef plate pasty is a Welsh thing? The Other Half who is English had never eaten it growing up and to be honest doesn’t like it so I’ll move on!
My Mam and most people’s Mam’s or Nana’s in Port Talbot made plate pasty, I guess corned beef was cheap back in the 70’s and they were able to knock up a bit of pastry without thinking about it. It was called plate pasty as ……… yes it was cooked on a plate, well my Mam’s one wasn’t she used to make it on the glass lid of a Pyrex dish but you get the gist. I have to say I loved corned beef or corned dog as it was known in our house. Pasty, rissoles, hash and corned beef and Branston pickle sandwiches ooh I have that lovely warm feeling when I think about it. My first few years as a Police Officer were spent in Uniform at Swansea Central Police Station and occasionally on an early morning shift I would be dispatched as the ‘sprog’ to go and buy pasties for the shift from a bakers near the Vetch Football Field. They would be hot straight out of the bakers oven and we would eat them for breakfast with a big mug of tea. I still can’t resist a pasty, I don’t particularly have a sweet tooth so I can always walk past a cake shop without a glance but if there is even a gentle whiff of a pasty then I’m in. As I say to my very patient Personal Trainer, I didn’t get this body without eating a lifetime of pasties!
It’s a strange one though as I can’t remember the last time I ate corned beef and pasties have not featured in my kid’s diet. I guess they may have had one at most in their short lives (8 and 5) but I am a bit ‘do as I say and not as I do’ and have kept my pasty eating fetish under wraps from them. We have tried to ensure they do not eat a lot of processed food and have a wide diet trying all sort of ingredients that I never had the chance to eat growing up. They have a much better knowledge of food than I did at their age and both have a love of food from various cultures and countries but have never tried corned beef.
For some reason this week I thought about corned beef plate pasty and realised that
A) I had never made one.
B) My kids have never eaten one.
C) The Other Half is away so I can get away with it.
So off I went and bought a tin of corned beef and knocked up a plate pasty with more veg than I would have had in the ones my mum made just to balance my guilt about parenting and diet. So as usual, if you try this feel free to add or subtract the veg and amount of corned beef. Personally I prefer more veg (it’s up to you how chunky or fine you chop it) than corned beef but its a personal thing. Oh also I don’t think there is a need to add salt when cooking the veg as I was really surprised at how salty the corned beef was and I love salt. One more rider, then I will give you the recipe, there was a point when I added the corned beef to the veg and it warmed that I thought it smelt a bit like dog food and I did wonder if I was losing my mind, however the audience of two dogs and a cat obviously agreed! Im really selling this aren’t I? Hey ho, here it goes……….
Two large potatoes peeled and cubed
One large leek chopped
A stick of celery finely chopped
Two carrots chopped
Half a small swede cubed
Tin of corned beef
300g plain flour (I used half wholemeal half white)
pinch of salt
Splash of water
One beaten egg for an egg wash (or you can use milk)
Warm a glug of olive oil in a saute pan, add all the vegetables with a good grinding of pepper and a sprinkle of oregano. Saute over a low heat until tender but without colour. Cube the corned beef and add to the pan with a good few shakes of Worcestershire sauce and mix everything together – check for seasoning. When you are happy with the taste – leave to cool.
For the pastry, put the flour in a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt, cube the butter and Trex, add this to the bowl and rub together with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs (You can do this is a food processor if you have one – I don’t). Next use an ordinary table knife and put a few drops of water into the bowl (not too much literally do it a small drop at a time) until the pastry starts to clump together, then with your hands gently bring it together and wrap it in cling film and bung it in the fridge for half an hour.
Once you are ready, heat the oven to 200, grab your plate or flan dish or pyrex lid and rub with butter. Take your pastry from the fridge and cut it in half. Lightly flour your worktop and roll out half the pastry so it will fit the plate, then lift it onto the plate and ensure it settles into the shape. Pop the cool filling in ensuring you spread it to the edges, don’t worry if its a bit mounded. I like to use an egg wash on the rim of the pastry so the top will seal. Roll out the other half of your pastry – just slightly bigger than the plate and pop it on the top. Seal the bottom to the top by pinching the pastry around the circumference of the plate with a finger and thumb or going around pressing the tines of a fork into the edge of the pastry. Trim away any excess pastry from the sides. Make a little hole or slit in the top (so the steam escapes) and brush with the egg or milk. I made my kid’s initials out of the left over scraps of pastry – they liked it but there isn’t a need.
Pop into the oven and turn it down to 180 for 30 to 35 minutes until the pastry is golden in colour (the filling is cooked so you only need to cook the pastry).
There you go – job done. Serve with veg and gravy or mashed potato or chips if you need the carbs. The kids are having it with buttered cabbage (their current favourite) and carrots. My personal guilty pleasure is eating a warm slice with a good splodge of brown sauce.