The Cornish pasty is a hand-held pie dating back over 100 years. Traditionally, it was made with a short crust pastry which held up well for the miner’s lunch during transportation down the mine shaft.
The filling usually consists of an inexpensive cut of meat, potatoes, carrots, onions and sometimes turnips (swedes or rutabagas) and basic seasonings such as salt and pepper. In this recipe, I added a variety of fresh herbs which blend really well with the rest of the ingredients.
The pasty is prepared in its raw state - there is no sautéing or browning involved as the oven does all of the hard work. You may make large pasties as directed in this recipe – or half-size, muffin tin or mini pasties to suit your purpose.
The Cornish meat and potato pasty with herbs recipe is as simple to make today as it was over a hundred years ago and uses readily available, inexpensive ingredients along with a simple preparation! Please read my cook’s notes at the end of the recipe for alternative ingredients.
Short Crust Pastry
4 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp. table salt
1/2 cup salted butter, cubed and very cold
1/2 cup lard, cubed and very cold
1 1/3 cups ice cold water (you may not use it all)
1. In a large bowl combine the flour and the salt and then add the very cold, cubed butter and lard. With either two knives or a pastry blender, cut the shortenings into the flour until they resemble the size of peas.
Alternatively, you can use a food processor and pulse the ingredients, adding the water gradually through the spout until the pastry comes together. This method is so quick and easy and it's the one I use when I have to make pastry.
3. Next, add the ice cold water a little at a time and mix with a knife or fork to bring the dough together. Using your hands, bring the dough into a ball and flatten into a disc or rectangle. I flattened mine into a rectangle as it was easier to divide the pastry into 6 equal portions. Refrigerate for at 30 minutes or more in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
1 lb. boneless chuck steak, small dice
2 cups of yellow onion, small dice
2 large carrots, small dice
2 large peeled Idaho potatoes, small dice
4 tbsp. mixed fresh herbs; finely chopped (I used rosemary, thyme, sage and Italian parsley)
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsps. Cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp. Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs beaten with 1 tbsp. milk and a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
1. Combine all of the filling ingredients into one large bowl, except the eggs and mix together well. Set aside while you roll the pastry. If your pastry looks too dry, then sprinkle a little iced water over it. If it looks too wet, sprinkle a little flour over it and continue.
2. Divide the pastry into 6 equal pieces. Leave the pastry in the refrigerator to keep cold while you roll one piece at a time. Roll out into a disc shape (they don't have to be perfect) and place at least ¾ of a cup of the filling in the center.
Moisten the edges all around with the egg wash and then bring up the edges and press together, folding the pastry over (crimping) as you go. Twist the ends and tuck them underneath the pasty. Brush all over with the beaten egg and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (not a dark coated pan, it will burn the bottom) or very shallow rimmed pan. Continue with the rest of the pastry in the same way.
4. Bake for approximately 45 minutes, turning the sheet pan around once to ensure even browning halfway through cooking.
Cook’s notes and tips :
You may use any inexpensive cut of meat. I used boneless chuck steak, but eye of round, rump, sirloin, pork or rabbit would work equally well here.
Enjoy these wonderful savory Cornish meat and potato pasties hot or cold with H.P. Sauce (a British steak sauce), ketchup or brown gravy. These pasties are great as an on-the-go lunch or as a main meal with a fresh veggie.
Historic info:**The Cornish pasty is protected through its heritage under P.G.I. (Protected Geographical Indication)