Cornish Pasties

While pastry has served as a container for food for centuries, a Cornish pasty is unique to Cornwall. It's a tangible reminder of its mining past, although people now eat them whenever a quick and portable meal is needed. It was designed to accompany a miner to the mine in his pocket and it contained enough meat and turnips for at least a couple of meals. The miner's initials were usually carved into one end, to vent steam as it baked and so there would be no question to whom the pasty belonged. Editor's note: This recipe has been retested and adjusted to better match the filling and pastry amounts; the new yield (of slightly smaller pasties) is now 6.
Prep
30 mins
Bake
40 to 45 mins
Total
1 hr 10 mins
Yield
6 pasties
Cornish Pasties

Instructions

  1. For the pastry: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Cut the fat into small pieces and distribute evenly over the flour. Cut the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water and vinegar. Drizzle this over the flour mixture while tossing everything together with a fork.
  3. Gather the dough together (a dough scraper is ideal for this), folding it over on itself until it becomes cohesive. Sprinkle any dry or crumbly bits with water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Divide into six pieces, shape them into discs, wrap and chill while you prepare the filling
  4. For the filling: Stir all of the ingredients together in a large bowl (uncooked; they'll cook in the oven).
  5. To assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
  6. Remove the wrapped pastry from the refrigerator and roll each piece into an 8" circle. Place 1/2 cup of the filling in the center of each circle. Brush the edge of the circle with water, and bring two opposite sides up and over the filling to pinch together over the filling. Flute the seam as you would a piecrust, so it looks like the back of a dinosaur. turn up the ends a bit to look a little like devil's horns.
  7. Cut a design (or initials) into one of the sides of the pasties to vent the steam. Place, fluted edges up, on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash.
  8. Bake at 400°F for the first 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for a further 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm, or chill to reheat later.
  9. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Pasties today are a bit smaller and the fillings are not quite the hearty fare they were in the past. This recipe also works with the fillings in Savory Pies for Supper.
  • As a result of the kneading, you will develop the gluten somewhat, usually a "no-no" in making pastry. In this case, because these are hand-held pastries, you want a dough that will hold together.
  • For two-bite pasties, roll dough out into ten 3 1/2" circles. Note that the smaller pasties will cook more quickly.