Cornish maid Avice shares her pasty skills
WALK into Aunt Avice's Pasty Shop in St Kew Highway and you know you're in Cornwall.
St Piran's flags adorn the walls and a pasty clock keeps track of the locals who filter in to pick up their lunch and enjoy a friendly chat with a true Cornish maid.
Avice is as Cornish as they come and fiercely proud of her roots – as well as those of her pasties.
She kindly agreed to pass on the skills she learnt from her mother-in-law, teaching us how to fill and crimp the perfect pasty. Thankfully we're spared the regulation hairnets as our efforts won't be going anywhere near paying customers, so we don aprons and are handed circles of pastry cut out using a pan lid which used to belong to the grandmother of Avice's husband, Pete.
Each is placed on an individual plate and liberally covered with finely sliced potato and onions to taste. Avice leaves out the swede as many customers dislike it and, when she tried putting it in, they asked for it to go again. Beef skirt is placed on top, followed by a heavy sprinkling of salt and pepper. She shows us how to pull the pasty into shape and carefully crimp the side.
Fortunately we don't have to wait for ours to cook and instead tuck into two Avice made earlier.
Her pastry is delicious and, wisely, she closely guards the recipe. Its buttery taste and non-flaky texture have earned her legendary status in North Cornwall and her food is well worth travelling for.
I had been told to try her signature egg and bacon pie but it had already sold out, so I consoled myself with a couple of extra pasties, a sausage roll and a slice of delicious sponge baked by Avice's daughter, Melissa, who works for the family firm. After tasting the cake, it's fair to say the business's future is safe in her hands.