The Perfect Traditional Cornish Pasty

Traditional Cornish Pasty Recipe

The Spruce

Ratings (179)
  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 pasties (4 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
372 Calories
21g Fat
21g Carbs
24g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Cornish pasty is known and loved throughout Great Britain and has long been part of the culinary heritage. It is believed the pasty originated with Cornish tin miners who, unable to return to the surface at lunchtime, could still enjoy a hearty meal. With their hands often dirty from a morning's work, the pasty could be held easily by the thick pastry crust without contaminating the contents.

The traditional Cornish pasty recipe is perfect for a lunchbox but also makes a great main-course dish when served with fresh vegetables and must be considered one of the first to-go foods. This recipe uses a shortcrust pastry made by hand or in a food processor, but if you are short of time, a ready-made pastry will do fine.

In 2011, Cornish pasties were given a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. For producers to be able to place these designations on their food packaging, they must be prepared in accordance with strict parameters using authentic ingredients and traditional methods of cooking to preserve their integrity.

 

Ingredients

  • For the Pastry: 
  • 1 cup/110g all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 ounces/55g butter (or half lard and half butter, cubed)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water
  • For the Filling: 
  • 1/4 cup/50g onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup/110g potato (cut into 1/4-inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup/110g swede/rutabaga (cut into 1/4-inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup/110g rump steak (cut into small cubes)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)

Steps to Make It

Make the Shortcut Pastry

  1. Place the flour, salt, and butter into a large bowl.

  2. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and salt until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, working as quickly as possible to prevent the dough from becoming warm.

  3. Add the cold water to the mixture and, using a cold knife, stir until the dough binds together, adding more cold water a teaspoon at a time if the mixture is too dry.

  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

Note: The dough also can be made in a food processor by mixing the flour, butter, and salt by pulsing. When the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add the water, slowly, through the funnel until the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill as above.

Make the Cornish Pasty

  1. Heat the oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7.

  2. Divide the pastry into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into rounds the size of a tea plate (approximately 6 to 7 inches).

  3. Place the onion, potato, swede, and meat into a large mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Season well with salt and pepper.

  4. Divide the meat mixture evenly among each pastry circle and place to one side. Brush the edges with beaten egg.

  5. Fold the circle in half over the filling so the two edges meet. Crimp the two edges together to create a tight seal. Brush each pasty all over with the remaining beaten egg.

  6. Place the pasties on a greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.

  7. Serve hot or cold.

Note: A traditional pasty will be crimped on the side not across the top, but you can crimp however you feel comfortable, it will taste just as good either way.