Why Do We Need a Gluten-free Cornish Pasty?
Many people suffer from a food intolerance, and one we are now becoming more aware of is gluten intolerance. Anyone with Celiac disease (Coeliac in the UK) is all too aware of the bloated stomach, the chronic diarrhoea, and the wide range of other unpleasant symptoms caused by the ingestion of gliadin, a gluten protein present in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats. Gluten intolerance causes inflammation of the lining of the small intestine which then causes poor absorption of minerals and nutrients. At the present time, there is no known cure, and the best treatment is to make a lifestyle change and adhere to a gluten-free diet. If you suspect you have any sort of health problem seek advice from your medical practitioner.
Don't Panic - it's Not that Difficult
Almost every recipe can be adapted to fit into a gluten-free diet. There are a wide variety of gluten-free flour mixes, but in this case I've chosen Vietnamese rice paper pancakes, also called spring roll wrappers to make the pastry pocket. When purchasing your wrappers be sure to check that they are gluten free. The pancakes, which look a bit like rice paper, are thin and very fragile and it takes practise and cautious handling to avoid breaking them but it is worth persevering because your pasties will have a very light and crispy pastry case.
Because pastry pockets made with rice paper pancakes are smaller than the average Cornish Pasty pocket I recommend serving two pasties per portion. I prefer to buy my rice paper pancakes ready made, but if you want to make your own the video below shows you how.
Ingredients - Makes Four Cornish-style Pasties
- 8 spring roll wrappers. I use two wrappers per pasty, but if you want a sturdier pastry case you can use three, or even four wrappers, placed one on top of the other. However, with three or four wrappers the result is not as light and crispy.
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 300 g lean mince meat
- 300 g potatoes, peeled and cut into very small cubes
- 100 g swede, cut into small pieces
- 100 g carrots, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 egg beaten
- Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 5/190º C/375º F
- Gently fry the onions until just soft
- Add the carrots, swede, potatoes and half the stock, and cook for five minutes
- Add the mince meat and mix well
- If the mixture seems dry add more stock
- Cover and cook on a gentle heat until ingredients are cooked
- Fill a wide shallow bowl with hot (not boiling) water. Soak each wrapper until soft and pliable and gently slide onto a greased baking tray. Stack two wrappers (or more if you using more) on top of each other.
- Place one quarter of the filling onto the pancake covering no more than half the disc.
- Brush the edges of the wrapper with beaten egg and fold in half to resemble a pasty.
- Cook in a hot oven until the cases are golden brown. Spring roll wrappers cook very quickly in a hot oven and timing will vary. In my oven it is usually between 10 and 15 minutes but it is easy to burn the pastry case so do watch it carefully.
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I sometimes serve these Cornish-style Pasties with roast vegetables although that's not necessary since the pasty is a complete meal on its own. Really good for picnics, the pasty's need to be wrapped carefully as the pastry pocket is more fragile than a traditional flour-based case.
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