Cornish Pasties

By • June 20, 2011 • 29 Comments

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Author Notes: I've been in love with Cornish pasties since eating my first one in Dover, England 30 years ago when I was 18. It was not only delicious, but I loved the convenience. I could walk down the road-side with a pasty in one hand and my thumb out for a ride on the other. For a picnic you need to make them the day before and refrigerate, but just place them in your basket in the morning and by lunch time they'll be at perfect eating temperature. Serve with cheese, hard cider, fruit, and pickles. - KevinKevin

Food52 Review: Kevin's recipe for Cornish Pasties is comfort food to go. Flaky pastry crust, meat and potato -- what more can you ask for. I had never tried using vodka in pastry dough before and I have to say it did make a difference in the handling of the dough it rolled out beautifully and was so easy to shape into the pasties. I used lard and butter for the pastry and that alone makes a stand out pastry crust. The addition of sage in both the filling and crust gave this an incredible depth of flavor. This is a recipe I will make over and over again, the possibilities for variations are endless. Well done! - sdebrangosdebrango

Makes 10

Pastry

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons rubbed (dried) sage
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 8 tablespoons cold lard* or shortening, in small pieces
  • 1/4 cup cold vodka**
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Filling

  • 2/3 pound chuck steak
  • 1 cup diced peeled potatoes (1/2-inch dice)
  • 1 md. carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons rubbed (dried) sage
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  1. In a food processor, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sage - 3 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds. Scrape sides of processor bowl with spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed - 4 to 6 quick pulses.
  2. Empty mixture into a medium bowl and Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Form dough into a ball and flatten each into 4- by 7-inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes. Can be made 2 days in advance.
  3. *Note 1: Shortening works fine, but lard adds even more savor. **Note 2: The addition of vodka is based on a Cooks Illustrated recipe. It allows you to produce a dough that's easier to handle, but is still flaky.
  4. Put diced potatoes and 1/4 inch of water in a covered microwave dish and cook in microwave until potatoes are just tender - 4 to 5 minutes. Drain potatoes and dump into a large bowl. Mash coarsely with a fork.
  5. Cut chuck into 1/2-inch pieces trimmed of obvious fat then place in food processor and pulse until meat is coarsely ground (err on the side of under-processing.) Add ground beef, broth, thyme, sage, vinegar, and mustard to the potatoes and mix thoroughly.
  6. Remove pastry from refrigerator and roll out into a rectangle that's about 10-inches by 25-inches on a lightly floured board. Using a five inch round plate as a template, cut as many circles as you can. The scraps can be combined and rolled out one more time. You should have 11 rounds.
  7. Divide filling evenly between pastry rounds. Moisten half the edge of a pastry round and fold the round over the filling and press the edges to seal. Crimp with a fork. Arrange pasties on a pair of parchment covered baking sheets.
  8. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  9. Mix egg yolk and milk together and brush glaze over pasties. Cut two one inch slits in the top of each pasty and bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
Jump to Comments (29)

Tags: picnic, savory, travels well

Comments (29) Questions (0)

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about 1 month ago Shirley Glanville

Amazing! 4 stars! Uncooked onion and carrot not a problem! Thank you Suzanne for your speedy replies!

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about 1 month ago Shirley Glanville

Too late for me, will let you know how raw carrots and onions worked! Thanks!

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

It will be fine, the carrots are shredded and onion cooks quickly so they will cook in the pastie I'm sure

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about 1 month ago Shirley Glanville

And where oh where is some salt and pepper?

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Well I ad libbed there and seasoned to taste.

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about 1 month ago Shirley Glanville

When, how do the onions and carrot get added?

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about 1 month ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Shirley, this is not my recipe but I tested it and hopefully Kevin will see this and weigh in. I will tell you what I did and the results were wonderful, I sautéed the onions and carrots just until the onions became translucent and added to the potato and ground beef mixture. Maybe thats not the way but it worked for me.

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almost 3 years ago ubs2007

Thanks for posting this awesome recipe!!!! I'm British and LOVE pasties. Haven't had a good fix in NYC so I'll try your recipe soon. Not a fan of lard, so could I use 8TBSP butter in place of lard?

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over 3 years ago deanna1001

I've been eating (and loving) pasties in the UP (Michigan) for years now. Gourmet ran an article in 2001 about them and they had the most ludicrous versions. The only thing this recipe is missing is rutabaga...I commend you for the lard. I was told 30 years ago that it was a key ingredient. I'm heading up there in a couple of weeks and looking forward to having some. Somehow I rarely make them. Probably because I'd eat them all and not fit through the doorway ;-) But will give these a go when I get back and need a fix. Thanks for posting.

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

These are just the ticket for me to make for an upcoming party at the lake! Love love love the tip with the vodka. I've often used some vinegar in my pie pastry to make it easier to handle, but never heard about the vodka trick. I can't wait to try it! Thanks!!

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over 3 years ago marynn

I am always seeking the perfect Cornish pastie to replicate the ones my grandmother made. This looks wonderful! I think you may have nailed the crust. But where's the rutabaga? >;)

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over 3 years ago Kevin

Rutabaga is primarily a UP (Michigan) ingredient, my preference is for the carrots.

Bike2

over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Beautiful! Vodka in crust, very neat.

Me

over 3 years ago This Little Piggy (Lisa)

These look great. I'm a Brit, never seen vodka in the pastry - interesting fact - thanks! I'm on the fence about lard too....that's why I live in the US now....but will they be as good without lard?

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over 3 years ago Kevin

They are good without lard, just not quite as good.

Hollyworton200

over 3 years ago Zahirah

Love pasties!

Dscn3274

over 3 years ago inpatskitchen

Love pasties and your version!

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I'm a huge fan of pasties; my parents both grew up in upper Michigan. The vodka trick rules! I've been using it since I read about in CI and I'll never go back. I keep a bottle in the freezer solely for pie crust.

Summer_2010_1048

over 3 years ago Midge

These sound delish. Must try the vodka trick!

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over 3 years ago Kevin

Midge, It works.

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over 3 years ago Jean | Delightful Repast

My mother's family was English, so I grew up eating pasties. Love them! Great photo - they look "seriously good"!

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Love the recipe. Oh and I just got 10 lbs of leaf lard. And vodka in the pastry dough; Must try this.

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over 3 years ago Kevin

I made really good pasties for years but had trouble getting the pastry right. I wanted something flakier than the typical English wrapping, but equally hearty. Then an English friend told me I had to use lard in the pastry so I made some lard. The light pork flavor was exactly what I needed.

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over 3 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Kevin, I bought the lard to make a pasti ciotti I have never worked with it before am a little intimidated simply because its new to me. My recipe calls for all lard am still grappling with whether or not to use lard and butter like you did. Your pasties look beautiful and I have to try them. Such a nice recipe.

Dscn2212

over 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

My mother always wanted to be English. This is one of her British staples we grew up on. Very fond memory, and I love making them still myself.

Port2

over 3 years ago nogaga

This is a revelation for me: British empanadas! Who knew? Your recipe looks great, and I love the lard and vodka in the pastry :)

Hollyworton200

over 3 years ago Zahirah

They are JUST like empanadas, only bigger. And a lot of the fillings are similar: cheese and onion, meat, etc. The dough is a bit flakier than the typical Argentinian pizza-place empanada, but they're really good.

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Yum!

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over 3 years ago Kevin

These are also great hot out of the oven. I like adding a slice or so of sharp cheddar just before they're done when i plan to eat them immediately.