A pasty is really just a free-form pie and if you aren't a
pie-lover, you'll still love a first-class pasty.
165 mlextra-virgin olive oil4onions, finely chopped2 tbspcaster sugar30 gmbutter, coarsely chopped1½ tbspfennel seeds4garlic cloves, finely chopped2 tspfinely chopped thyme leaves700 gmSebago potato (about 2), cut into 1½ cm dice180 gm(1½ cups) frozen peas 3baby fennel, fronds reserved and coarsely chopped1egg, lightly beaten, for eggwash1lemon, juice onlyPasty dough5 gmdried yeast700 gm“00” flour, plus extra for dusting125 ml(½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
Heat 125ml oil in a large wide saucepan over high heat. Add onion, stir occasionally until soft (10 minutes). Add sugar, butter and fennel seeds and stir occasionally until caramelised (25-30 minutes), add garlic and thyme in last 5 minutes of cooking, set aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, for pasty dough, combine yeast and 400ml warm water in a bowl, stir to dissolve, stand until foamy (5-10 minutes). Place flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, add oil, a large pinch of sea salt and yeast mixture and knead until smooth and elastic (5 minutes). Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, stand until doubled in size (40 minutes-1 hour).
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220C. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add potato, cook until tender (8 minutes). Drain, add to onion mixture with peas and reserved fennel fronds, season to taste, set aside to cool.
Divide dough into 8 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll into a 20cm-diameter circle. Place one-eighth of onion mixture in the centre, brush edges with eggwash and fold pastry over filling to enclose. Twist edges to seal and place on a baking-paper-lined oven tray. Repeat with remaining dough and onion mixture, brush with eggwash, dust with flour and bake, in batches, until golden and heated through (15-20 minutes).
Meanwhile, thinly slice fennel on a mandolin and place in a bowl of iced water until crisp (5 minutes), then drain well and combine in a bowl with lemon juice and remaining olive oil, season to taste and serve immediately with Cornish pies.