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Best of three: Cornish Pasty

Lunch on the run or simply greedy for carbs? We've tried out this random trio of pasties just for you....

Published on January 14th 2010.

Best of three: Cornish Pasty
AH, the much maligned pastie, or “oggie”. It started life as the working lunch for tin miners to take underground with them. The pasty was easy to carry, could be eaten with mucky fingers - miners ate the filling and threw the dirty pastry away, and a walk along Ranelagh Street last Saturday lunchtime revealed little change there then.

But what was once a nourishing treat of beef, potatoes, onions and turnips is said by purists to have become over commercialised with people not being prepared to pay out for a decent pasty. So were these the pits or the pot of gold?

Supreme Cornish Pasty (£1), Greggs (countrywide)

The crust: Flaky. This is unusual in a Cornish which, given its distinctive shape, is more often made of sturdier shortcrust to cope with the weight of the filling. Those miners might have had a bit of a problem, and this, as our pic shows, was not holding together too well.

The filling: A mix of minced beef and diced vegetables with a distinctive pepperflavour, says the blurb. A 10.5 percent meat content, apparently, the one we tried was an unappetising pink colour whipped up in a mush of moist mash with just the odd fleck of diced carrot and potato here and there.

Overall: Bought lukewarm, it was the cheapest and the smallest. Fill-a-hole food for those on the run.

4/10: If you must.

Cornish Pasty (£1.03), Waterfields (branches around Merseyside)

The crust: Shortcrust all right, a little heavy but non greasy and with good golden hi bake look to it and solidly holding its contents.

The filling: Again, minced beef, and this makes up 10 per cent of the content. The filling was moist, if a little stingy in proportion to the pastry, but this time a much darker, meaty colour. More carrot and onion in evidence, a very piquant taste, given a kick by the use of “flavour enhancers”.

Overall: Served at just the right temperature needed to bring out the pleasant aromas and taste of both the filling and the pastry, this looked like a northern version of a Cornish pasty, although the miners would be starving if they threw this crust away.

6/10: The budget choice.

** WINNER **

Traditional Steak Pasty (£3.05), The Pasty Shop, Lime Street Station (rail stations nationwide)

The crust: A huge expanse of flaky-shortcrust hybrid pastry, but very solid and thick, firmly holding its contents in a flattish purse-type shape.

The filling: Tender little chunks of beef, seasoned in coarse black pepper sit in between generous layers of potato, turnip and red onion in a light gravy. On the face of it there was nothing mechanical about the way this had been prepared. Gave off a great aroma and had a nice texture and homemade flavour.

Overall: A good third bigger than the others, and massively more expensive, you could say that's railway station prices for you. On the other hand, you could say this is a substantially filling meal in itself, which proves the purists right....

8/10: ....You get what you pay for.

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

OystercatcherJune 24th 2008.

Ray's bakery in Prescot. Winner of the prestigious Prescot Pie final silver rosette award 1956. Unmissable.

Dough boyJune 24th 2008.

Can you still get a decent pastie in Pimblett's in St Helens? Why is it that all the great pastry savouries are in other parts of the area, like Wigan and Rainford? I also agree with Ray's in Prescot having a top pastie.

AnonymousJune 24th 2008.

The ingredients of the pasty at the Pasty Shop are correct but the Cornish pasties should have a crimped top and should not be flat. I know. I am Cornish.

WhoateallthepiesJune 24th 2008.

I yearn for the days of a Poole's steak and kidney pie.

Roger DaltryJune 24th 2008.

crap pasties?

Cheesy tractorJune 24th 2008.

Oystercatcher: Do you know your name is an anagram of mine?

Crusty BelenJune 24th 2008.

The absolute best pasty ever - and that includes the so-called originals emanating from the floury hands of softy southerners - was from a bakery near the corner of Lord Street and Coronation Walk in Southport. Flatter than your average pasty and shaped like a box, this was a meal in a crust alright. The shop's closed now but the memories live on. Slather!

I love curryJune 24th 2008.

I think of nothing more disgusting than eating a cornish pasty cheap meat wrapped in oily pastry disgusting - even worse when a toothless child in a pram is sucking on the contents of a pasty hanging out of a paper bag with all flaky bits on their front - uggggghhh

Leo SayersJune 24th 2008.

I see Sayers didn't make it into this list. Now why would that be.

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