Making a Proper Cornish Pasty

It’s that time of the year, the nights are drawing in and all we want is some comfort food. Reminiscing about that lovely holiday you had in Cornwall; strolling the streets or sitting on the beach with a pasty in your hand? Well, why not try and make your own this weekend?

Made the traditional way by my Mum for her family all her life, why not give her recipe a go. You will not find any dodgy fillings such as Stilton or chicken tikka here; just good old meat, potato, onion and swede!

So first you need to make some pastry – Cornish Housewife Tip No1 – Mum always makes her own and then freezes it as it will give you a better  texture to the pasty.

Ingredients for making Mum’s pastry

I.5 kg plain flour

500g Lard and Margarine Mix (approx 2/3 Lard and 1/3 Margarine)

Cut fat into flour and then rub together until it is similar to breadcrumbs.

Mix together with cold water until it is a firm dough consistency and set aside ready for making pasties or freeze until ready to use.

Making the Pasties

The quantities will depend on the size of the pasty you are making! These ingredients are based on an average sized pasty.

1 onion

1 piece of swede (or Turnip as we like to call it in Cornwall)

potatoes

diced beef skirt (approx 150g)

salt and pepper to season

Sprinkle flour on work surface or board. Roll out pastry to about 5mm and place a dinner plate on pastry and cut around it leaving a circle. Put rolling-pin underneath half way so half of the pastry is over the rolling-pin and the other half is flat on the work top (Cornish Housewife Tip No 2)

Add a layer of swede, a little bit of onion, finely slice potato onto the layer of onion, add layer of skirt, season with salt and pepper, add more onion and finish with a layer of potato. Fold over and crimp pastry. Coat pastry with egg to help brown in oven to give it that lovely golden colour. Cornish Housewife Tip No 3 – Pierce small hole in top for the steam to escape so the pastry does not split.

Mum always adds an initial made from pastry for each family member if any have special requirements (for example I like quite a lot of pepper in mine!)

Bake in a hot oven (220 oC) for one hour turning it back to 180 oC as it cooks, then turning it down to 150 oC  for the last 10 minutes. These timing will depend on your oven but are a rough guide to start with.

Remove the pasty from the oven and serve hot with a pickled onion and a cuppa tea!

Here is a pasty mum made for Becky a few months ago, the afore-mentioned pasty then travelled back to Oxfordshire where it was devoured.

Becky's Pasty, Why the 'R' - you had better watch the video!

And my reluctant mum let me film her making this actual pasty so the secret to her success is out there! Apologies for the ropey video and noise from the lens zoom but together with the method above it will give you a good idea of how to make one. If anyone makes one please send me a picture and I will happily showcase your efforts! mysaffronbun@gmail.com

One of the best pasty shops in Cornwall is called Ann’s Pasties and is based on the Lizard. Why not give Ann’s pasties a go by ordering some online here.

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2 Responses to “Making a Proper Cornish Pasty”


  1. 1 Donna-Lee November 5, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    This looks so yummy! Thank you so much for sharing this, I have loved Pasties since I was a little girl!

  2. 2 frugalfeeding November 5, 2011 at 1:17 AM

    These sound and look amazing. I adore the cornish pasty… I’ve not been to Cornwall for ages…. I want to go back now. So many great things – the pasty, clotted cream… :(


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