Authentic Cornish Pasty Recipe: Traditional British Delight

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By Creative Media News

  • Authentic Cornish Pasty: Taste of Cornwall
  • Homemade comfort in a flaky crust
  • Versatile, hearty, and traditional British favorite

The Cornish pasty, a savory hand pie, originates from Cornwall, a region in the southwest of England. This traditional dish dates back to the 13th century but became particularly popular among Cornish tin miners in the 18th and 19th centuries. The pasty’s distinctive D shape and crimped edge were designed for practicality, allowing miners to hold the pasty by the crust, eat the filling, and discard the crust to avoid consuming dirt and arsenic from their hands.

At Creative Group, we appreciate the Cornish pasty for its rich history and cultural significance. This hearty, portable meal symbolizes the resourcefulness and ingenuity of Cornish workers. Today, the Cornish pasty is a beloved British classic, recognized with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, ensuring that only pasties made in Cornwall can bear the name.

Ingredients for Cornish Pasty

  • Pastry:
    • 500g plain flour
    • 120g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
    • 120g lard, chilled and diced
    • A pinch of salt
    • 175ml cold water
  • Filling:
    • 400g beef skirt or chuck steak, finely diced
    • 300g potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 150g swede (rutabaga), peeled and diced
    • 150g onion, finely chopped
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • A knob of butter

Possible Substitutions:

  • Pastry:
    • Use store-bought shortcrust pastry for convenience.
    • Substitute lard with all butter for a richer taste.
  • Filling:
    • Use ground beef instead of diced steak for a different texture.
    • Substitute swede with turnip or parsnip.
    • Add other vegetables like carrots or peas for variation.

Notes on Quality and Sourcing:

  • Meat: Choose high-quality beef skirt or chuck steak for the best flavor and tenderness.
  • Vegetables: Use fresh, seasonal vegetables for optimal taste and nutritional value.
  • Pastry Ingredients: Ensure butter and lard are well-chilled for a flaky pastry.

Preparation Steps for Cornish Pasty

  1. Make the Pastry:
    • Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix 500g plain flour and a pinch of salt.
    • Add Fats: Add 120g diced unsalted butter and 120g diced lard. Rub the fats into the flour using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
    • Add Water: Gradually add 175ml cold water, mixing with a knife until the dough starts to come together.
    • Knead and Chill: Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the Filling:
    • Dice Ingredients: Finely dice 400g beef skirt or chuck steak, 300g potatoes, 150g swede, and 150g onion.
    • Season: In a large bowl, combine the diced beef, potatoes, swede, and onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Assemble the Pasties:
    • Roll Out Pastry: On a lightly floured surface, roll out the chilled pastry to about 5mm thickness. Cut out circles approximately 20cm in diameter (use a plate or bowl as a guide).
    • Add Filling: Place a handful of the filling mixture onto one half of each pastry circle. Add a small knob of butter on top of the filling.
    • Seal: Brush the edges of the pastry with water, fold the other half over the filling, and press the edges together to seal. Crimp the edges by pinching and folding them over to create the traditional Cornish pasty shape.
  4. Prepare for Baking:
    • Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).
    • Egg Wash: Place the pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with a beaten egg for a golden finish.
  5. Bake the Pasties:
    • Initial Bake: Bake the pasties in the preheated oven for 20 minutes at 200°C (400°F).
    • Lower Temperature: Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake for an additional 40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is cooked through.
  6. Cool and Serve:
    • Rest: Allow the pasties to cool slightly on a wire rack.
    • Serve: Enjoy the pasties warm or at room temperature. They can be served on their own or with a side salad for a complete meal.

Cooking Instructions for Cornish Pasty

How to Cook Cornish Pasty:

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F) to ensure it reaches the desired temperature before baking.
  2. Prepare the Pasties:
    • Assemble Pasties: As previously detailed, ensure your pasties are assembled with the filling securely enclosed and the edges crimped for a proper seal.
    • Egg Wash: Brush the tops of the pasties with a beaten egg. This will give them a beautiful golden brown finish when baked.
  3. Bake the Pasties:
    • Initial Bake: Place the pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the preheated oven at 200°C (400°F) for 20 minutes. This initial high temperature helps to set the crust and begin the browning process.
    • Lower Temperature: After 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and continue baking for an additional 40 minutes. This lower temperature ensures the filling cooks through evenly without over-browning the pastry.
  4. Check for Doneness:
    • Golden Brown Pastry: The pasties should be a deep golden brown and the pastry should be crisp.
    • Filling: To check the filling, you can insert a knife into the center of a pasty; it should come out hot and the filling should be tender.
  5. Cooling and Serving:
    • Rest: Allow the pasties to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. This resting period lets the filling set and makes them easier to handle.
    • Serve: Serve warm or at room temperature. Cornish pasties can be enjoyed on their own or with a side salad, chutney, or a dollop of mustard.

Timing and Temperature Tips:

  • Preheat Oven: Always preheat your oven to the correct temperature before placing the pasties inside to ensure even baking.
  • Baking Time: The initial bake at a higher temperature sets the pastry, while the longer bake at a lower temperature cooks the filling thoroughly.

Serving Suggestions for Cornish Pasty


  1. Side Salad:
    • A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette adds a refreshing contrast to the hearty pasty. Consider including mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and radishes.
  2. Pickles or Chutney:
    • Serve Cornish pasties with pickles or a tangy chutney, such as apple chutney or Branston pickle, to add a burst of flavor.
  3. Mashed Potatoes:
    • For an extra comforting meal, pair the pasties with creamy mashed potatoes.

Presentation Tips:

  1. Rustic Presentation:
    • Place the pasties on a wooden board or a rustic serving plate. Garnish with fresh herbs like parsley or thyme.
  2. Individual Portions:
    • If serving at a party or gathering, cut the pasties into halves or quarters for easier sharing. Arrange them on a platter with small bowls of condiments.

Alternative Serving Ideas:

  1. Mini Pasties:
    • Make mini Cornish pasties for appetizers or snacks. Use smaller pastry circles and reduce the baking time accordingly.
  2. Pasty Platter:
    • Create a pasty platter with different fillings, such as traditional beef, chicken and mushroom, or vegetable. This allows guests to sample various flavors.

Variations of Cornish Pasty

Creative Twists and Alternatives:

  1. Chicken and Mushroom Pasty:
    • Substitute the beef with diced chicken breast and add sliced mushrooms. Season with thyme and a splash of cream for a rich, flavorful filling.
  2. Vegetarian Pasty:
    • Replace the meat with a combination of root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, and potatoes. Add peas and corn for extra color and sweetness.
  3. Cheese and Onion Pasty:
    • Fill the pasty with a mixture of grated cheddar cheese, finely chopped onions, and a sprinkle of mustard for a tangy twist.

Flavor Variations:

  1. Curried Pasty:
    • Add a teaspoon of curry powder to the filling mixture for a spiced variation. Include diced carrots and peas for an Indian-inspired twist.
  2. Lamb and Mint Pasty:
    • Use diced lamb instead of beef and add chopped fresh mint and peas to the filling for a refreshing, slightly sweet flavor.

Healthier Options:

  1. Whole Wheat Pastry:
    • Make the pastry with whole wheat flour instead of plain flour for added fiber and nutrients.
  2. Lean Meat or Plant-Based Alternatives:
    • Use lean cuts of meat like turkey or chicken. Alternatively, try a plant-based meat substitute for a vegetarian or vegan option.

Cornish pasties are more than just a meal; they are a piece of British heritage. Originating in Cornwall and cherished for centuries, these hand-held delights encapsulate the ingenuity and practicality of past generations. At Creative Group, we celebrate the Cornish pasty not only for its historical roots but also for its versatility and enduring appeal.

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Whether you stick to the traditional beef and vegetable filling or experiment with creative variations, making Cornish pasties at home is a rewarding culinary endeavor. From the flaky, golden pastry to the savory, hearty filling, each bite is a tribute to timeless comfort food.

By sourcing quality ingredients and mastering the simple yet precise preparation steps, you can enjoy the authentic taste of Cornwall right in your own kitchen. Serve them as a main course, a hearty snack, or at gatherings to impress family and friends with this iconic British dish.

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