Giving Cornish Pasties a Try…

When we had our family get together a few weeks ago my dad was telling me about someone he knows being confused about how to pronounce Cornish Pasty.  This person would insist on pronouncing it pasty as in paste.  We had a good laugh about that, I asked if dad had explained that pronunciation required dollar bills!

As I did research on recipes for Cornish Pasties I realised that in 2011 it was given a PGI similar to Chianti or Parmesan cheese.  So I went to the official site for a Cornish Pasty to find out how to make these.

I’m not sure how stringent they are in protecting the Cornish Pasty because I have had several in the UK, many variations which include peas or carrots, different ways of doing the beef, etc.  I followed their way as closely as I could.  I’ll show what the actual recipe says and what I did based on the ingredients I had.

For the pastry:

500g strong bread flour (I used our all purpose flour)

120g white shortening

25g cake margarine (I used butter)

5g salt

175g cold water

Cornish pasty 1 2014

Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until the water is incorporated.  Tip out onto the counter.  This will be very crumbly.

Cornish pasty 2 2014

Knead the dough together to incorporate the shortening and butter.  This will be a stiff dough.

Cornish pasty 3 2014

Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours.  I only was able to have it in there for 2 but it came out well.

For the filling:

450g skirt steak (I had about 390g)

450g potato (they said to use waxy potatoes but I used what we had on hand and used our freshly harvested red potatoes.  Also, to keep the ratio of the filling intact I used about 390g of potato)

250g swede (rutabaga)

200g of onion

Cornish pasty 4 2014

Chop the steak onion into 1/2″ cubes.  Chop the swede and potato into 1/4″ cubes.  Season well with salt and pepper.  The recipe says to have a 2:1 ratio of salt and pepper.

Cornish pasty 5 2014

Preheat the oven to 410F/210C

Divide the pastry into four portions.  Roll out thinly and spoon the filling into the centre.  I found that 1 1/2 cup of filling was as much as the pastry could hold.  Add two dollops of butter.

Cornish pasty 6 2014

Fold over the pastry and roll crimp from one side round to the other side.  Put a few slits in the top.

Cornish pasty 7 2014

One step I forgot was to brush milk over the pastry before baking.  Bake for an hour until golden brown.

Cornish pasty 8 2014

I did find a disconnect between the amount of pastry they say to make and the filling.  I had about a third of the filling leftover and it was reduced based on what I had.  When I make this again I will reduce the filling even more.

We all enjoyed it and I loved the simplicity of the recipe.  And I have to get to Cornwall and see what the real thing is because it looks like I haven’t bought real ones yet!


24 thoughts on “Giving Cornish Pasties a Try…

  1. I like Cornish Pasties and have made them on occasion. When I lived in Michigan, they were popular there and they pronouce it “pasty” there, especially in the Upper Peninisula..It sounded a bit strange at first. MI Pasties are filled with diced potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, onions & ground beef. I like your recipe idea of using skirt steak and they look delicious.

    • When the Cornish came across the pond they brought the pasty with them. Then it evolved away from the traditional pasty. Probably using what was available. Same thing happened with the Irish dishes.

    • Such a hard adjustment, especially when you go back far enough and they had to deal with building the homes, living through the harsh winters and somehow keep up their traditions. I wouldn’t want to do it!

  2. Did you know that the pasty was made by tin miners wives each morning and the shape was intended to make it possible to throw them to the miners across a river? The crust wasn’t eaten it was meant to be a handle for the miners as they had dirty hands. Apparently : )

  3. lizard100 is right. Well, according to what I’ve read. I’ve been to Cornwall – beautiful place! – but pasties aren’t what I would go for as I can’t eat that much pastry. Yours look and sound authentic. And I bet the meat filling tastes amazing. After all, it’s a sort of en papillote for beef. 🙂

  4. I make Pasties, too, and haven’t had them in Cornwall, but here in the States in a mining town in Wisconsin and an area in northern Minnesota we call the “Iron Range.” Both are areas that were populated by Cornish miners. I’ve never had them with ground beef – just the traditional ones with potato, rutabaga (swede) onion and beef.

    I absolutely love them. I have a post on my blog on Cornish Pasties but the crust is quite a bit different and based on a recipe of an elderly Cornish lady, a “rough” puff, and washed with egg, not milk. Anyway, I’m always willing to try a Pasty wherever it is, however its made and what ever it’s filled with!! I love them!

      • I’ve been meaning to try a restaurant (started out as a food truck) here in the twin cities called Potter’s Pasties. The guy makes all kinds of upscale Pasties. His Thai Pasty sounds amazing, for instance! So talk about different.

        I love learning about foods and spices, where they came from, how they changed and transformed over the years and miles!

  5. I’ve not had a pasty since I was a boy. They’re also made in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and our neighbor was raised there. Yours sure does look good, not so moist that the dough gets soggy. Yum!

  6. Never ever tried a pasty. Shame on me! Will have to get my hands on one in London. You are familiar with the place–where do I find a good pasty there? 🙂

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