Cornish pasties - including recipes for the traditional Cornish pasty.

cornish pasty
The Cornish pasty is another one of those traditional classic British foods that is well known across the country and even in other parts of the world; such is its fame.

It essentially and most traditionally consists of a pastry case that is filled with beef, potato, onion and often swede or turnip. The Cornish pasty can be eaten hot or cold, for lunch or for dinner, on its own or as part of a balanced meal.

The Cornish pasty was developed around the late 18th and early 19th century, supposedly by the Cornish miners, who required a filling and hearty meal that they could take with them to the mines and carry around whilst they moved about.
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It is said that original Cornish pasties were extremely large and contained a savoury filling at one end and a fruit filling at the other. A pastry case was employed, as it was an excellent insulator, keeping the contents of the shell warm until lunchtime.

When mining work dried up in and around the Cornwall area, miners moved to other parts of the country and took their recipe for the Cornish pasty with them. There are variations of this traditional dish notably found in Cumberland, Yorkshire and Lancashire, however, the Cornish pasty is the most famous.

There has been some debate over the years as to how the Cornish pasty should be prepared. Some say that a shortcrust pastry should always be used, whilst others would opt for a rough puff type. Additionally, there are those that would situate the "crimp" or sealed edge on the side, and others would locate it at the top of the pasty.

One thing that all makers of the Cornish pasty would agree on is that the beef is always chopped, the vegetables are always sliced and the ingredients are always raw when they are placed into the pastry shell before baking. This is one process of making the pasty that makes it unique amongst similar types of food.

Below we offer you two recipes for Cornish pasties, one very simple and basic and the other slightly more elaborate - enjoy!

Easy-to-make Cornish pasties

Ingredients
  • 340g (12oz) of shortcrust pastry (use 340g of flour)
  • 340g (12oz) of chuck or blade steak cut into small pieces
  • 115g (4oz) of potato, diced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F).
  2. Place the meat, potato and onion into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. Divide the pastry into four pieces and roll out each piece into a circular shape of approximately 20cm (8in) in diameter.
  4. Place a dollop of the meat mixture in the centre of each pastry circle and dampen the edges of the pastry with water.
  5. Bring the edges of the pastry up and form a sealed edge at the top, fluting the edges with your fingers. Make two small holes at the top of the pastry to allow the steam to escape.
  6. Arrange the pasties onto a baking tray and place into the preheated oven.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 160°C (325°F) and bake for a further 60 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Serve hot or cold.

Herbed Cornish Pasty Recipe

Ingredients
  • Shortcrust pastry made with 340g (12oz) of flour and 170g (6oz) of lard
  • 1lb (450g) of chuck steak, trimmed and chopped
  • 225g (8oz) of sliced raw potato
  • 140g (5oz) of chopped onion
  • 85g (3oz) of chopped turnip and carrot
  • 1tsp of fresh thyme
  • beaten egg to glaze
  • salt and pepper
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Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Place the meat and the vegetables into a large bowl, season with the salt and pepper and mix together.
  3. Divide the pastry into four even portions and roll out to form circles.
  4. Arrange some of the meat mixture down the middle of the pastry circles.
  5. Moisten the edges of the pastry with water and bring up the two sides, crimping the edges together at the top.
  6. Make two small holes at the top of the pastry for the steam to escape.
  7. Place the pasties on a baking tray and brush with the beaten egg.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Reduce the temperature to 180°C (350°F) and bake for a further 40 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and serve hot or allow to cool and serve cold.
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