Crab was a particular speciality where we were living in the USA. Hauled out of the Chesapeake and boiled up with Old Bay seasoning or turned into delicious crab cakes.
It’s a delicacy back home in Cornwall too, freshly picked and eaten in sandwiches. I’ve gone super-Cornish with this recipe, which I made for St Piran’s day, and wrapped up the delicious sweet white crab meat into little pasties using a wonderful all butter pastry.
Using strong flour in the pastry dough makes it much stretchier and easier to work with when you’re shaping your pasties.
225g strong white flour
85ml (ish) cold water
120g white crab meat (tinned works fine)
1 small red chili
small bunch of fresh coriander
zest of 1 lemon
To make the pastry sift the flour and gently rub the cold butter into it until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture. Slowly add enough water to bring this all together to form a ball of dough. You can do all this in a food processor if you prefer. It’s a good idea at this point to wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge whilst you prep the filling. Pre-heat the oven now to 200°c.
Thinly slice the shallot and finely chop the chili. Combine this with the crab meat, black pepper and the lemon zest. Roughly chop the coriander and stir this through the mixture.
Unwrap the dough and gently roll it out to about 3-4mm. Using a small plate or saucer as a guide cut out 4 discs from the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Divide the filling evenly between the pastry discs, heaping it in the centre. Brush the edge of the dough with beaten egg, fold the pastry over the filling and firmly press down the edges.
Now time to crimp! Not nearly as hard to do as it is to describe I promise. Place your index finger on the edge of the pastry at one end of the pasty. Now take the pastry just in front of it and pull it over your finger. Pull out your finger and repeat the process all around the edge and then simply tuck in the end. If that all sounds a bit too challenging them simply press around the edge with a fork.
Cut a couple of steam holes in the top of each pasty and brush with egg wash. Arrange on a greased baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes until they’re beautifully golden. Enjoy hot or cold!