Venison Pasties

Ahhh... the famous British pasty. By definition, a "pasty" is dish-less pie filled with venison or other meats. This hand-held treat has been enjoyed for centuries by kings, queens and common peasants a-like, with some references pointing to its beginnings as far back as the 13th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the pastry reached its height in popularity. It is said that the tin miners of Cornwall took these pasties with them to the mines. The pasty's densely folded crust would keep its contents warm for hours or could be easily reheated on a shovel positioned over a candle.

Textually, the County of Cornwall, a peninsula located in the southern part of England,  takes claim to the origin of the original pasty. However, in 2006, a researcher in the neighboring county of Devon found a pasty recipe in an audit book dated 1510, beating out Cornwall's previous record of 1746. The Devon recipe called for venison from the Mount Edgecumbe Estate and was considered a dish fit for the wealthy.

There are many "right" ways of making a pasty, and in all honesty, it doesn't really matter. It's a dish that's supposed to be made with whatever you have on hand. Our crust is not so dense. We have opted out from making the iconic "side-crimp." (It is rumored that miners ate their pasties by holding this discard-able thick edge, so their dirty fingers would not touch their mouths or food.) Another funny theory suggests that pasties were initialed or marked at one end and eaten from the other. This way, if the owner does not finish his pasty in one go, he can easily reclaim it later on. Anyway, all rumors and theories aside, we chose to simply fill our pasties with shredded venison cooked in beef broth and red wine, allspice, goat cheese and raisins. The crust is good, so no need to discard it.  It was really a fun dish to make because it's so different from what we've done before. 

The pasty is the "Hot Pocket" for the noble knight on-the-go.

Servings: 6-7 pasties
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes
- 1 1/2 lbs. of venison roast
- 2 tbs. oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef broth
- 4 egg yokes, saving whites
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1 tsp. allspice 
- 1/8 cup cooking liquid
- your favorite pie crust, or what we used: Classic Crisco Pie Crust (measurements for double crust, top and bottom)

1. Please, for the love of all that is good and right in this world, REMOVE all silver skin and fat from your venison! :-)

Cut venison roast into 1 inch cubes. Dab with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. In a dutch oven, heat 2 tbs. of oil and brown venison on all sides. Brown in batches, one layer at a time.

Return venison cubes to the pot. Add beef broth and wine. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours, or until venison is tender. Reserve cooking liquid.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove venison from cooking liquid. With a fork, shred the cubes. Put shredded venison in a large bowl.
4. Add raisins and allspice. Combine well with hands.
Add egg yokes, goat cheese and about 1/4 cup of cooking liquid (from simmering the meat) until moist but not runny. Add 1/8 tsp. of salt and ground black pepper to taste. Combine well.
5. Roll out dough. Cut into circles, about 7-8 inches across. We used a bowl to cut around. You don't have to be exact. You should get about 6-7 circles.

Make sure to keep your working space floured to keep dough from sticking.
6. Fill top half of pie crust with venison mixture.
7. Brush egg whites half way around the pie crust. Fold over and crimp with a fork. You will end up with a "D" shaped pastry, like a calzone. 

With a fork, poke holes at the top of pasties for venting.
Brush egg whites over the tops of the pasties. Bake on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes in a 350 degree F oven, or until crust is set and golden on top.
While you wait, drink from coconuts and dizzy yourself with wine... yes yes, we can be weird...

(My dad gave me the coconuts from out of the blue. That's why we had them. I didn't want them to go bad.)
Don't they look pretty? 

We hope you enjoy!

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  1. My husband and I made these last weekend and they were a huge hit! Even to my dad, who doesn't care too much for venison. The addition of goat cheese is a fantastic idea and really makes it. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you!

    1. Awesome! We are so glad it turned out well. It's not one of our more popular recipes, so we are thrilled that you made it. Always nice to hear feedback from our readers. Thank you so much for checking out our blog. We hope you will continue to follow our adventures in the kitchen.

      -Rick and Jen

  2. O, I love this! I am reading now about Perceval

  3. I wonder if this can be made with mock duck using the same recipe but using chicken broth instead of beef broth or vegetable broth

  4. An authentic pasty is made of two parts. One savoury, the sweet, and divided from each other by a wall of the pastry mix. Meat was VERY rarely used and it must have potato.

    This was typical miners fare in Cornwall. Often known by those of us who grew up in the English West Country as a Tiddy Oggy.


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