How to make Cornish pasties

Unknown Author

This recipe, taken from Rambler's Rewards by Elizabeth Guy and Pat Kirkbride, would indeed make a wonderful snack for a day out

Preparation time

Cooking Time




For the pastry

  • 450g (1lb) plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon of suet
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 140g (5oz) lard, cold and cut into cubes
  • 60g (2oz) butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • Cold water

For the filling

  • 110g (4oz) onion
  • 340g (12oz) top of leg steak (rump or, traditionally, skirt) cut up into thin strips
  • 220g (8oz) swede, peeled weight
  • 220g (8oz) potato, peeled weight
  • 60g (2oz) butter
  • Salt and black pepper

Elizabeth’s mother is Cornish and her granny still lives in Polperro. Her mother has wonderful stories of her childhood which sound like something straight out of an Enid Blyton book. At weekends in summer all the families would get together and go off in boats to little coves only accessed via the sea. The children would play and explore on the rocks, the women gossip and set up the communal picnic and the men fish for mackerel to grill on an open fire. Cornish pasties were a staple on such occasions.


  • Put the flour, suet and salt in a large bowl with the chopped-up lard and butter. You are aiming for a light, slightly flaky pastry.
  • Using a large palette knife, slowly add the water while cutting through the flour. When the pastry starts to come together, tip it out of the bowl on to a floured surface and work it lightly with your hands. You can still see small lumps of butter and lard.
  • Now get your rolling pin and lightly roll the pastry out to about 2cm thick. Fold one end over the other and roll again. Repeat the process twice more. By doing this you are trapping air within the pastry, which will give you the flaky finished product.
  • Wrap the pastry in clingfilm or greaseproof paper and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C. Chop the onion finely and put into a bowl with the meat. Peel the swede and potatoes, cut into small pieces, and put into a bowl of cold water (this helps to create steam within the sealed pasty, giving well-cooked, moist vegetables). When ready to put the pasties together, remove the swede and potatoes from the water and add to the onion and meat. Grate the butter into the mixture and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Take the pastry out of the fridge and divide into four. Roll each piece out into a circle, about the size of a tea plate. Brush the edge of the circle with beaten egg. Put a quarter of the filling down the middle of each of the circles, pressing the mixture firmly into place.
  • Now carefully bring the edges of the pastry up over the mixture and gently press together to seal the pasty. For a proper Cornish-pasty finish, you need to crimp the top. To do this, start at the corner of the pasty and put your forefinger on the back of the pastry, your thumb at the front. Cross your thumb over the top of your finger, effectively folding the pastry over. Now move your hand up the side and repeat the action. Continue until you reach the other side of the pasty and it is sealed.
  • Brush with egg and bake in the oven for half an hour. Reduce the temperature to 150°C and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  • To take with you for a picnic, wrap individually in baking parchment, then foil and a clean tea towel – this should keep them warm for a few hours.

Rambler's Rewards

Rambler's Rewards: Cooking from Coast to Coast by Elizabeth Guy Photographs by Derry Brabbs. Published by Frances Lincoln at £20.00.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.