Make Ahead

Cornish Pasties

June 20, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Makes 10
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. - Kevin —Kevin

Test Kitchen Notes

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! - sdebrango —sdebrango

What You'll Need
  • 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.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Debbie Nokes
    Debbie Nokes
  • Ulu
  • deanna1001
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • marynn

26 Reviews

Debbie N. March 9, 2020
Kevin, I’ve made these 5 times in the last few years. Decided to skip the thyme and sage. Liking it much better with just the broth, wine vinegar and mustard. And a bit of salt/pepper. Wonderful texture with the food processor technique for the meat. Best pasty recipe ever! Than You!
Ulu October 20, 2018
20Oct18 9:35PM Auckland City, New Zealand: Awesome recipe. I always wanted to make Cornish Pasties. Not difficult to make. Wonderful crust with beautiful texture. I was careful to use only 2.5 cups of flour but I it wasn't enough to add 1/4 cup of cold vodka and 1/4 cup of cold water because the mix was too dry. I had to add about another 1/8 cup of water before the dough-mix stuck together. Filling is very tender and tasty despite chuck steak being a little tough when I cut it up and shredded it in the food processor. I waited 20 minutes for them to cool a little then I had three for dinner. My son and his wife (plus two pre-school daughters were just about to head out and buy Wendy's fast food when they decided to try the Cornish pasties. Enough said! They didn't go out for fast food. Thank you from the Antipodes .. Chef Kevin. Ulu.
Shirley G. November 13, 2014
Amazing! 4 stars! Uncooked onion and carrot not a problem! Thank you Suzanne for your speedy replies!
Shirley G. November 12, 2014
Too late for me, will let you know how raw carrots and onions worked! Thanks!
Shirley G. November 12, 2014
And where oh where is some salt and pepper?
Shirley G. November 12, 2014
When, how do the onions and carrot get added?

ubs2007 February 6, 2012
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?
deanna1001 July 8, 2011
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.
TheWimpyVegetarian June 25, 2011
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!!
marynn June 25, 2011
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? >;)
Kevin June 27, 2011
Rutabaga is primarily a UP (Michigan) ingredient, my preference is for the carrots.
Gormenghastly February 28, 2019
A rather late comment! These are very tasty; the lard is the key, although suet is more traditional. Oh, and swede [what you call rutabaga] is not a "Michigan thing", it is a crucial ingredient in the original.
Sagegreen June 23, 2011
Beautiful! Vodka in crust, very neat.
This L. June 22, 2011
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?
Kevin June 23, 2011
They are good without lard, just not quite as good.
Holly June 21, 2011
Love pasties!
inpatskitchen June 21, 2011
Love pasties and your version!
hardlikearmour June 21, 2011
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.
Midge June 21, 2011
These sound delish. Must try the vodka trick!
Kevin June 21, 2011
Midge, It works.
Jean |. June 20, 2011
My mother's family was English, so I grew up eating pasties. Love them! Great photo - they look "seriously good"!
boulangere June 20, 2011
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.
nogaga June 20, 2011
This is a revelation for me: British empanadas! Who knew? Your recipe looks great, and I love the lard and vodka in the pastry :)
Holly June 21, 2011
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.
mrslarkin June 20, 2011