The Cornish Pasty is a traditional English pasty and considered the national dish of Cornwall. It’s a hand pie filled with beef, potato, swede (rutabaga) and onion.
Traditionally a beef skirt cut is used for Cornish pasty. However if, like me, you can’t find beef skirt, try to find another nice cut of beef that will cook in the same amount of time as the raw vegetables. The cut of beef I used didn’t generate enough juice to my liking to create a nice gravy, but it still tasted really nice. I would however recommend to try and find a beef skirt for the Cornish pasty.
Next to beef, a Cornish pasty also contains firm potatoes that will hold their shape as well as onions and swede. Season generously with salt and pepper and that’s all the filling you’ll need. Very simple, 4 ingredients wrapped in a shortcrust pastry. I slightly adapted a recipe from the Cornish Pasty Association to make my own Cornish pasty.
I set out to make Cornish pasties for my “Baking My Way Around The World” challenge. This is the dish I’m linking to the United Kingdom in my challenge.
The most difficult part for me when making the pasties was to crimp the edges of the pastry. I’m going to have to practice that some more. Cause it’s the crimping that really makes the Cornish pasty a proper Cornish pasty in my opinion.
How To Make Cornish Pasty
For the dough you’ll need strong white bread flour, butter (the original recipe called for part butter, part lard, but I only had butter available), salt and a little bit of water.
For the filling you’ll need beef, potatoes, onions and swede, all cut in and diced in roughly the same size.
Make sure yo use a swede by the way, I had to look it up, cause some recipes I found also mentioned turnip and the two aren’t exactly the same, but I found out that traditionally swede is used so that’s what I used as well. Swede is also called rutabaga or neep.
First, in a mixer, or by hand, combine flour, salt and butter and mix until crumbly.
Once crumbly, slowly add the cold water and knead until your dough is elastic. Cover the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 3 hours.
When the 3 hours are up it’s time to roll out and cut the dough into circles of approximately 8 inches / 20 cm. A nice tip given by the Cornish Pasty Association was to use a side plate as a guide. It worked perfectly for me.
Next, I layered the filling onto one half of the dough. I made sure the beef was on top so all the juices would drip down into the vegetables at the bottom. Also make sure you season it well with salt and pepper, the first pasty I made I didn’t season much and it turned out a bit bland. So be sure to season it generously.
Fold over the pasty to close it and crimp the edges. If needed brush some water on the edges of the dough to help it stick together.
As you can see, my crimped edges aren’t too pretty, but I was happy with them for a first try. Put the pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, lightly whisk an egg and brush the pasties. Bake in the oven until golden.
These came fresh out of the oven and smelled delicious.
This is what it looked like on the inside. It may not look much, but I really enjoyed them. I love simple ingredients, simple flavors. Delicious!
|Prep Time||20 minutes|
|Cook Time||55 minutes|
|Passive Time||3 hours|
- 2 cups strong white flour 250 g - bread flour
- 1/2 cup butter 125 g
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup cold water 90 ml
- 8 oz beef skirt 225 g - or another cut of high quality beef cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup onion 100 g - a medium sized onion
- 1 1/2 cup potato 225 g
- 1 cup swede 125 g a.k.a. rutabaga/neep
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add flour, salt and butter to a bowl and mix till crumbly. Slowly add the water till the mixture starts to come together. Knead until your dough is elastic. Cover the dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 3 hours.
- In the meantime, prepare your filling. Dice the beef. Clean, peel and dice your potato, swede and onion.
- When the dough has rested, preheat the oven to 330 °F / 165 °C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough and cut into circles of approximately 8 inches / 20 cm. Layer the filling (potato, onion, swede, beef) onto one half of the dough. Make sure the beef is on top so all the juices will drip down into the vegetables at the bottom. Season generously with salt and pepper. Make sure you have enough filling left to fill all of the circles you cut out.
- Fold the dough over to close it and crimp the edges, if needed, lightly brush the edges of the pasty with some water before crimping. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with egg.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 50 - 55 minutes, until golden.
Please note that the cup measurements in this recipe are approximate. I have added cups for those that prefer using cups. The recipe is most accurate using weights measurements.
- Traditionally a beef skirt cut is used for cornish pasty. However, if you can't find beef skirt, try to find beef that has no gristle and little fat and will cook in the same amount of time as the raw vegetables.
- Use a firm, waxy potato that will hold together during the cooking process.
- Use a side plate as a guide to cut out the circles.
- Swede is also known as Rutabaga and Neep.
What pepper did you use and how much? i’ve used saxa black pepper but they keep turning out bland. Great recipe though!
I use black pepper. I always just add salt and pepper to taste, I don’t really measure it. If it turned out too bland, try adding a little bit more salt next time to help bring out the flavors.
Hi Rachel, thank you for the recipe. I was born in a mining town & Dad often took pastys to the mine. We often had pasty suppers!! We however used a firm pumpkin skin on. Any difference in texture?
I have never had a pastry with a firm pumpkin skin so I unfortunately don’t know what the difference in texture would be.
This sounds and looks delicious. I see that “strong white flour” is needed. What flour would you suggest for a gluten-free dough?
Unfortunately I’m not that familiar with gluten free doughs yet (it’s on my to do list to start experimenting with gluten free breads). When baking with gluten a strong flour is used specifically for more gluten in a bread to help with the elasticity and the rising of the bread. So I would try to find a gluten free flour that is known for baking breads and can help with elasticity of the dough.
Good day Rachel,
I thank you for such a wonderful recipe. I studied in Cornwall back in the early 70’s and I really loved this traditional pasties which used to be made by our land lady. I have a question for you Rachel: part of the ingredients is the use of lard. Can I use butter only or along with the butter I can use oil instead of the lard. If so, what type of oil? or you think I can increase the amount of butter only.
Thank you once again, and I look forward to hearing from you soonest.
You can use butter only if you can’t find any lard.
Hi what type of butter ie unsalted,salted or normal bread n butter .
I always use unsalted butter
Myself…Mother and Gran…used this way to make pasties…as we are Cornish. You need a bit more filling in the one photographed!! Crimping needs help. Other than that…Ok!!!
Thank you for your comment Joy. It’s so nice to hear that the recipe is just like your family makes them. The one on the photo could indeed use a little more filling and my crimping definitely needs more help 😀
But I’ll take any excuse to make some more pasties 😉
SO happy to find this! I can recognize it as real because I’m one of the happy few who’ve eaten the real thing in Cornwall from bakeries like Rowe’s and Barnecutt’s. You correctly say swede and not the shoddy substitute carrot and cubed quality beef not (yikes!) ground chuck. Thanks!
I’m happy to hear you like the recipe 😀