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Cornish Pasty

Introduction & method

Cornish pasties are a tasty mix of meat and vegetables sealed and baked in a pastry parcel. They supposedly originated in Cornwall, England, as a way for tin miners to take a nutritious meal to work with them. These days, 'Cornish Pasty' is a protected designation, meaning that only those pasties produced commercially in Cornwall using specific ingredients can be sold as Cornish pasties.

Cornish Pasty Recipe

Make the Pastry

You can use rough puff or flaky pastry - in which case it's probably better to buy it ready-made - or you can make your own shortcrust. Mix the flour and salt together. The butter and lard need to be cold, so take them from the fridge, then cut them into small cubes, about 1cm (half an inch). If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment on slow speed to incorporate the fats into the flour. Otherwise, rub the fats into the flour with your fingertips. The mixture will eventually look like coarse sand with no big pebbles of fat. Now slowly dribble in the water until the dough forms a ball. Wrap it in plastic film and place it in the fridge for 3 hours.

Cornish pasty filling

A note about swedes. Inexplicably, the Cornish call a swede a turnip. To be clear, the vegetable in question is smaller than a real turnip - it has pinky/purply skin and slightly orange flesh. North Americans call it a rutabaga. Peel the potato, swede and onion. Slice them thinly, about 3mm (just under a quarter of an inch), and cut the slices into 12mm (half an inch) squares. Trim any fat from the meat, and slice it the same size as the vegetables. Set the vegetables and meat aside, but keep them all separate.

Roll Out the Pastry

Lightly flour your worktop, take half of the dough and roll it out into a strip that's wide enough and long enough to allow you to cut out 3 discs. For this recipe, I used a 20cm (8 inch) diameter steel bowl to cut out my pastry. If you don't have anything like that, a side plate is probably close to the right size, so you can cut around that. Stack the discs with flour between them, set them aside, and roll and cut another 3 discs.

Make the Cornish Pasties

Heat your oven to 165°C (329°F) for a fan/convection oven, 185°C (365°F) conventional, gas 5. Lightly flour your worktop and spread out your pastry discs side by side, probably in two rows. The fillng is arranged in layers, in this order: potato, swede, onion, meat, butter. Each layer is seasoned with salt and pepper - oddly, the specification doesn't mention whether the pepper is black or white. Place the filling in the bottom half of each disc and leave a 2cm (1 inch) margin around the edge. Fold the top half of each disc over to meet the bottom edge, and press the pastry together to seal it. Cornish pasties usually have a crimped edge that looks like thick rope. I won't attempt to describe how to do this - it's best if you watch the video. Place the pasties on a floured baking sheet, and thinly paint each one with 2 egg yolks beaten together with a splash of water. Make some small holes in the top with a fork to let the steam out.

Bake the Cornish Pasties

Bake the pasties for 50-55 minutes. Turn them round halfway through to ensure even browning. When the pasties are baked, allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes, and then eat them. Pasties are basically street food, so they're not usually eaten with cutlery. Accompaniments vary - piccallili, pickled red cabbage, brown sauce, ketchup or mustard all work well.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Cornish Pasty on YouTube.


Ingredients & Info

 500 grams strong white bread flour
 125 grams lard
 125 grams butter
 175 ml cold water
 1 tsp salt
 400 grams beef skirt
 300 grams potato
 150 grams onion
 150 grams swede
 50 grams unsalted butter
 1 tsp pepper
 1 tsp salt


2 egg yolks to glaze the pasties

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 5 -6 pasties
Prep time: 15 minutes.
Pastry resting time: 3 hours.
Cooking time: 55 minutes.
Total time: 4 hours 10 minutes.