Homemade Cornish Pasty Recipe

My family grew up making pasties.  The traditional Cornish pasty is a take-away meal that originated in Cornwall, England.  If you research the history of pasties in the United States, you’ll find lots of information on how they were common in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  They were ideal for miners because they could be packed for lunches, then heated up on shovels in the mines and eaten without any utensils.

Many immigrants also found themselves in the mining areas of Minnesota as well.  My grandmother grew up in Minnesota’s Iron Range, where pasties were a common lunch for the miners to bring to work.  She grew up eating pasties, and passed the recipe down to my mom; who then handed it down to me.

Cornish Pasty Crust Recipe
2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 C. lard or vegetable shortening*
2 Tbsp. butter
6-8 Tbsp. ice water

Mix dry ingredients together, then add shortening bit by bit until mixture becomes mealy. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until a dough has been formed. This makes enough dough for three large pasties or four medium-sized pasties. Form dough into a ball and cut into three or four equal sizes.  Roll out each ball and then add pasty fillings below.

Cornish Pasty Fillings
1 1/2 C. minced onion
3 C. diced potato
1 1/2 C. sliced carrots**
1-1/2 lb. beef steak, cubed (sirloin or round)***
1-1/2 lb. pork steak, cubed***
Parsley, chopped (fresh)
Salt and pepper to taste
Butter wedges

On top of the dough that you’ve just rolled out, layer minced onion, potatoes, carrots, beef steak, pork steak, parsley.  Add a couple butter wedges and season with salt and pepper.

Fold the top of the pasty dough over the filling ingredients and seal the edges (mine was not fancy, but if you’re a skilled pastry chef you can do fluted edges).

Bake your pasties at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 degrees and cook one hour more.   If you’re going to be freezing them to eat later, cook for 45 minutes instead of an hour.  When ready to cook, heat them for about a half hour at 375 degrees.

*The original recipe that my grandmother used called for lard, but I substitute Crisco.
**Many other traditional pasty call for rutabaga or turnip, but we’ve never used that.  It was a recipe that my grandmother handed down to my mom, and now to me.
***For me, packs of beef and pork sirloin came in 1-1 1/2 lb. packages. That was enough for a double recipe of pasties, or save half and freeze to use later.

Comments

  1. Cornishpete. says

    Sorry KIm but if the images that you have on your site are what you call a ‘Cornish Pasty’ then I implore you to never venture across the ocean to Cornwall. Your pasty images would make you a laughing stock. I am sure the contents are fine but the pastry is a monstrosity. My Nana and , Mother are surely turning in their graves. Presentation of meals is what start the gastric juices flowing but the mis-shapen lump you show with its cracked, dry pastry dough would never do.
    There has always been a difference of opinion, even among family member, as to exactly what the contents should be and certainly in mine, carrots were a no-no, potatoes were not diced but pared of the spud in thin thumbnail sized slices, and never heard of pork being included, just flank or chuck beef. Likewise we always had delicious somewhat flaky pastry but will admit some family members made a dryer, harder version which admittedly kept its shape better when picked up to be eaten from the hand.
    If you Google Cornish pasty Images you will see dozens of traditionally shaped pastys although I would implore you to stick to your narrow crimped edges not the wide things so loved of many commercial pasty bakers who can shortchange folk with more pastry than meat and contents.
    Blessings, Kim. Pete now exiled in Illinois.

    • says

      Wow, That’s pretty mean. You’re entitled to your opinion of course, but I never claimed that these were a vision of beauty. I’m a mom who cooks at home, not a pastry expert from Cornwall. My descendants are from Cornwall, then lived on the iron range in Minnesota. This is how I was raised to make them, so I do believe my “laughing stock” pasties are just as valid as yours are. You don’t have anything better than to criticize? Wishing a nice day.

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