Lamb Pasty

Recipe, Text and photo by Claire Davies, The Greedy Wordsmith.

This recipe was inspired by Mr Edward Kidder, an 18th century ‘pastry-maker’ working from Cheapside in London. In contrast to the rustic and stomach lining qualities of the Cornish pasty adopted by Victorian miners, Kidders are lled with ner cuts of meat and highly decorated before baking. Images of animals and natural fauna were often used as a nod to the ingredients that lay inside or in recognition of the seasonality. Pasties became a popular wedding gift in the 18th century so the wheaten pastry still needed to be robust and able to withstand weeks of travelling, sometimes overseas.

The use of powerful spices such as clove, nutmeg and mace in red meat dishes can be traced directly back to the medieval era, with chefs often adding dried fruits and honey into the mix. The trend for sweetening meat dishes had begun to fade by the time Edward Kidder created his ‘receipt’ for lamb pasty, but there was still a taste for heavy spicing. I had to reduce the measurements by around two thirds to create a dish more suited to modern taste buds and allow the delicious flavour of the lamb to shine through. I encourage you to play around with the seasoning and find a level that you are happy with. The next step was to create a more interesting texture with the addition of some seasonal vegetables.

Again you don’t have to stick with my recipe; swede or potato would make excellent winter additions, swap the onion for sliced leek or try fresh green peas for the summer.

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Lamb Pasty
Finally, a beautifully short pastry is achieved through the use of lard rather than butter. A deeper, complex flavour comes from substituting a small amount of the plain white flour for a heritage grain. I chose to use spelt but you could consider a little rye, emmer or Khorasan. I like to think that this takes our modern spiced lamb pasty one step closer to the flavours and textures experienced by the hungry 18th century diner. I will leave you to decide how your pasty should be adorned.
Course Main Dish, Picnic
Cuisine British
Cook Time 50 mins
Servings
people
Ingredients
For the Filling
For the Pastry
Course Main Dish, Picnic
Cuisine British
Cook Time 50 mins
Servings
people
Ingredients
For the Filling
For the Pastry
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7
  2. Make your pastry. Start by combining the plain flour, spelt flour and salt in a bowl. Rub in the lard and mix with cold water to form stiff dough. Wrap in a tea towel and leave the pastry to chill in the fridge.
  3. Make up a spice mix with the fresh thyme, ground clove, nutmeg, mace and two tablespoons of plain flour. Finally dice the lamb shoulder meat, carrot and onion before tossing in the spiced flour. Set aside.
  4. Return to the pastry. Roll out a large piece of greaseproof paper on your kitchen counter and lightly dust with flour. Divide the pastry in half and roll out to around the same thickness as a pound coin.
  5. Use a large cutter or side plate to cut out circles of pastry. Spoon the lamb mixture onto one side of the circle but don’t be tempted to overdo it. You are only looking to cover around a quarter of the pastry with the filling.
  6. Brush beaten egg around the edge of the pastry circle before folding over to create a classic pastry case. Press the edges together with your fingers or the prongs of a fork. Repeat this process with the other half of the pastry and filling. Use a pastry brush to apply a light egg wash all over the top of the pasty. Cut any leftover bits of pastry into shapes and decorate your pasties before giving them one final egg wash.
  7. Place on a lined oven tray and bake for ten minutes before reducing the temperature to 180°C. Bake for twenty minutes, brush again with egg wash and bake again for another twenty minutes.
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Lynn Hill

Founder of Sucré Kitchen and companion website the Clandestine Cake Club. A lover of cosy reading corners and all the sweet things in life.

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