Clotted cream's rich versatility
In our final extract from The Great Cornish Food Book, we feature that quintessentially Cornish ingredient – clotted cream.
Good old Cornish clotted cream has topped the scones of millions, including VIPs, royalty, and passengers on the last flight of Concorde. Today, it is sent to a large band of followers in places as far flung as Hong Kong, Japan and Dubai, to satisfy their clotted cream cravings.
So globally renowned is this Cornish delicacy, it has been granted Protected Designation of Origin status by the European Union.
But clotted cream is more than just a topping for scones.
Neil Haydock travelled the globe before becoming executive chef at the Watergate Bay Hotel and its sister cafe the Beach Hut, which overlook one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Neil has spent years developing new ideas using his local ingredients and here he gives a classic dish a Cornish twist by using luscious clotted cream for extra richness.
150g shimeji mushrooms
500g trimmed Cornish beef fillet
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely crushed
1 bunch chives, finely chopped
50g gherkins, cut into batons
100g unsalted Cornish butter
Cornish sea salt
100ml vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
50ml brandy (you could use white wine or Madeira as an alternative)
200ml Cornish clotted cream
tagliatelle or steamed rice
Prepare the shimeji mushrooms by cutting off the stalk 2cm down from the cap.
Cut the beef fillet across the grain into 1cm thick steaks, then cut into batons.
Heat a large frying pan and add 30g of butter, when sizzling add the mushrooms, lightly season with salt, toss and keep them on a high heat for 30 seconds before taking off and draining.
Wipe and re-heat the frying pan, add the oil. When hot, add the beef in batches, turning until browned on all sides but still rare in the centre.
Remove the meat into a bowl and wipe the pan once again. Heat the pan to a medium heat and add the remaining butter followed by the onion and garlic. Sweat this mix down until fully softened but without any colour, this should take around five minutes.
Add the paprika and cook for a further minute before turning up the heat and adding the brandy which should flame.
Once the flames have gone out add the clotted cream and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Put the beef back into the sauce along with the chives and check for seasoning.
Serve with tagliatelle or steamed rice with the mushrooms and gherkins sprinkled over the top.
St Austell Brewery's head brewer Roger Ryman resurrected an old 1913 Stout recipe which he found in the brewery's archived journals, faithfully kept by the St Austell brewers over the decades. And, as their development chef Nick Hemming found out, the stout works extremely well in this mouth-watering pie, giving it a rich flavour.
For the pastry:
300g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
100g unsalted Cornish butter cubed
100g shredded suet
pinch of Cornish sea salt
125ml cold water
For the filling:
750g Cornish braising steak/shin or skirt, cut into chunks
150g chopped streaky bacon
600ml of St Austell's 1913 stout or HSD (soak the beef in the stout overnight)
3 tbsp plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed
200g whole baby onions
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
handful fresh thyme sprigs
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400g chestnut or white mushrooms cut into quarters
beaten egg to glaze
For the pastry, add the flour, suet, butter and a pinch of salt into a bowl and use your finger tips to rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the cold water, gently bringing it together. Alternatively blend all ingredients in a food processor and slowly add the water. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for later.
For the filling, drain the beef from the stout (keeping the liquid to one side) and pat dry with a clean towel, then mix the beef with the flour and some salt and pepper. The best way to do this without making too much mess is to put everything into a large food bag, seal, and shake.
Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large pan up to a high heat, shake off the excess flour from the beef and, keeping the chunks well-spaced, fry until golden-brown all over.
Transfer the meat to a bowl, then add a splash of stout to the pan and scrape up any meaty bits. Tip the liquid into the bowl of meat. Wipe out the pan, then add a tablespoon of oil with the bacon, garlic, onions, mushrooms and herbs and fry to soften for a few minutes.
Put the beef back into the pan. Pour in the stout, then add the tomato purée and balsamic vinegar. If necessary, add a little hot water to ensure the meat is covered in liquid (this will prevent the beef from drying out). Bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities, then cover and simmer the stew for 1-1½ hours until the beef is almost tender and the sauce has thickened.
Set aside to cool, overnight if possible.
To make the pie, preheat the oven to 200C (400F, gas mark 6). Flour the work surface, then roll out the pastry until it is roughly 1cm thick and a little larger than your pie dish.
Put the filling into a pie dish and brush the edges with a little water or beaten egg.
Place the pastry on top by laying the pastry over a rolling pin to lift it. Press down gently to seal.
Cut a couple of slits in the top of the pie to release steam. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden-brown all over.
The Great Cornish Food Book is a collection of recipes, tales and morsels from the ocean, fields and clifftops of Cornwall. It is £17.99 and you can order at greatcornishfood. co.uk with free P&P. £1 from the sale price will be shared between the Fishermen's Mission and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.