CORNISH SQUAB CAKE from Penzance
I do enjoy our traditional old recipes and this is just a wonderful dish, at the very least over 100 years old.
Quoting my old 1920s Cornish Recipes book “Make a good pasty crust, mash potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Spread them over the top of the crust and lay strips of [pickled] pork over it and put in the oven to brown it. Some people mix cream with the potatoes”. Well, I will put a spoonful of clotted cream into the mash then.
I read this out to my husband and he thinks it sounds good!! I am making it for his lunch! I am not sure about the pork and what exactly they mean, so I decide to use strips of belly pork. Near enough, I think. [Pickled pork was probably pork preserved in brine, or similar]
Do I part bake the crust before spreading the mash over it? I do not want a soggy bottom!
I decide to make the crust using 4 oz plain flour, 1 oz lard and 1 oz of suet [Atora], sea salt and pepper all mixed with a little very cold water. Allow to rest for half an hour, then roll the crust into a circle and turn in the edges, making a little raised rim to keep in the mashed potato. I prick the base with a fork and brush the whole with beaten egg then pop it into a hot oven to half cook. About 15 - 20 mins. Pics on my Blog.
I peel and boil about 3 medium potatoes, then mash as instructed. When the pastry comes out of the oven I fork the mash over the crust, leaving little ridges to brown. Meanwhile I take the belly pork and brown both sides in a hot pan for a few minutes. Then arrange them on top of the mash. Season well, once more with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
I baked it in a hot oven 200 deg C for around 45 minutes, until the potato and crust were golden and nicely browned.
The verdict? My husband loved it, but then he loves all old fashioned meat and potato food! But it was very tasty. But why did it die out? Or is there folk who still make it to this day? I think I will carry on the tradition.