Gluten-free bakers will be rising to the challenge in a new section of the World Pasty Championships at the Eden Project on March 4.
For the first time amateur pasty-makers can enter a gluten-free category in the global competition supported by the Cornish Pasty Association. It is thought that this is the first gluten-free pasty baking competition of its kind.
Other categories of the World Pasty Championships include professional, company, amateur and junior for both traditional Cornish and non-Cornish pasties.
Now the World Pasty Championships is raising awareness of the need for more gluten-free alternatives to be made available by introducing this special new class.
The gluten-free category has been sponsored by Lisa Hackett from the bakery Let Them Eat, based in Saltash, Cornwall, who is offering the winner a chance for their prize pasty to be developed into a commercial product.
Lisa, who will lead a workshop on how to make a gluten-free pasty at the event, said: “It is really good that the World Pasty Championships is raising awareness of the fact that lots of people do suffer from food allergies but that there are alternatives out there.
“So many people come to Cornwall and just want to eat a pasty but can’t because they have a food allergy. This is about embracing gluten-free baking so that everyone – whether you are gluten-intolerant or not – can enjoy a pasty. And we’ll help the winner develop their gluten-free category into a product suitable for retail which could be sold around the country.”
Among the tips Lisa will be sharing include using gluten-free buckwheat, sorghum or millet flour, making the pastry 24 hours prior to making the pasty to allow time for the starches to activate, and using greaseproof paper to keep the pasty intact before folding and crimping.
Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Coeliac UK, which is supporting the gluten-free class of the World Pasty Championships, said: “The Cornish pasty is one of the great British foods you can eat anytime, any place but was off the menu for the one in 100 people with coeliac disease who must eat gluten-free no matter what.
“But now we’ve got innovative bakers who are filling the gap and it’s brilliant that this new category in the World Pasty Championships puts the gluten-free pasty on the world stage where it belongs.”
Tony Trenerry, Eden’s Head Chef, said: “We’re really excited to have Lisa and Coeliac UK’s support in introducing a gluten-free category into the World Pasty Championships for the first time, recognising people’s different dietary requirements.
“Gluten-free baking involves special expertise because the pastry doesn’t have as much elasticity and springiness as gluten-based pastry has so we’re looking for pasty makers to really show off their baking skills.
“All our usual categories are returning as well, so whether you’re an amateur or professional pasty maker who makes Cornish pasties or those with other fillings, there’s a class for you at the World Pasty Championships.”
Gluten-free pasties will be available to buy at the World Pasty Championships.