Traditional Cornish Pasty

Janette Fuschi | Culinary Ginger

Traditional Cornish pasty is a savory meal of beef and potatoes perfectly packaged in flaky, buttery pastry. It makes a wonderful lunch on a chilly day.

Traditional Cornish Pasty Photo

You may (or may not) have heard of the Cornish pasty (sometimes spelled pastie, pronounced pass-tee not paste-y). Alongside the sausage roll, the pasty is Britain's favorite on-the-go meal.

Bakeries are all over England and that makes it convenient to go in and pick-up a fresh pasty for lunch, the most popular being the Cornish pasty. Other varieties include cheese and onion and minced beef, but whatever the filling, they’re always savory, never sweet.

The Cornish pasty is a complete meal in itself that is a mix of beef and vegetables that are incased in a flaky pastry that is then baked.

Traditional Cornish Pasty Picture

There are many variations to the Cornish pasty, like the shape and filling, but these are not correct. For the pasty to be authentically Cornish there are some rules. After all, it represents the county of Cornwall in the South of England and it has to be right.

The pastry should be shortcrust pastry (like pie crust, unsweetened). Chopped skirt steak, onion, rutabaga (swede if you’re in the UK), potato, salt, pepper and a little butter are the proper filling.

A circle of pastry is rolled out and the filling must be placed in the pastry uncooked, to allow it to cook slowly and develop the flavors.

Traditional Cornish Pasty Image

The way the pastry is sealed also has to be right. The edge has to crimped in a way that looks like a braid, basically rolling the pastry edge on itself to create the characteristic look.

The sealed edge is not to be on the top of the pasty, but on the side. If it doesn’t have this crimp, it’s not Cornish. In addition, if the pasty is not ‘D’ shaped it is also not Cornish.

I like to serve the pasty with a simple side salad. This bright clementine arugula salad would pair wonderfully. Since the filling contains all the makings of a meal, a heavy side is really not needed, but a nice pint of ale will certainly finish the meal nicely!

Traditional Cornish Pasty Pic

Traditional Cornish Pasty Recipe

    8 Servings


For the Pastry:
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter, Cubed and kept cold until ready to use (2 sticks)
  • small pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 cup Cold Water
  • 1 Egg, Beaten, to brush on pastry
For the Filling:
  • 6 ounces Potato, Chopped bite-size pieces
  • 6 ounces Rutabaga, Swede, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 small Onion, Chopped small
  • 1 pound Skirt Steak, Chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 8 teaspoons Unsalted Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Egg, Beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Milk


For the Pastry:

  1. To a food processor add the flour and salt and butter.
  2. Pulse until you get the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
  3. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in cold water until it forms a ball.
  4. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and shape into a flat ball.
  5. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 10-15 minutes.

For the Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 360°F.
  2. Whisk the egg with the milk.
  3. Take 4 ounces pastry and roll into an 8 inch circle.
  4. Place a small handful of potatoes, rutabaga, onion, and beef in the center of the pastry, leaving 2-inch border.
  5. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt pepper and flour. Place a little piece of butter on the top.
  6. Brush half of the edge of the pastry with egg mix then fold the pastry in half and seal the edge.
  7. Twist the edge to create a good seal.
  8. Cut a slit in the top of the pasties and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  9. Brush all the pasties with the rest of the egg/milk and bake for 45 minutes until golden brown.


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Janette Fuschi

About Janette

Janette is a British ex-pat living in Southern California. On her blog, Culinary Ginger, you'll learn all about it. On Food Fanatic, you'll see her favorite British classics, and ours too!