Cornish Pasty with a glass of cider

The humble pasty is the signature dish of the Cornish and was basically a convenience food that could be kept warm wrapped in a towel and carried down a tin mine or out to sea on a fishing boat. Although the story that the Devil never crossed the Tamar in case he was put into a Cornish pasty is probably apocryphal, over the years pasties have been made containing everything from pilchards to mince pie filling. This recipe settles for the more familiar filling of meat and vegetables.

There are two schools-of-thought on where the pasty pastry should be sealed. Mainly in the north of Cornwall they say it should be sealed along the side, so that the miners could hold onto the crust and discard this after eating it. However, in the south usually we seal the pasty across the top (as shown above).


  • 450 grams (1 lb) of pre-prepared pastry (flaky or short crust, as desired)
  • 400 grams (14 oz) potatoes (preferably King Edwards)
  • 1 large onion
  • 200 grams (7 oz) swede (used to be called turnip in Cornwall)
  • 250 grams (9 oz) of best lean steak diced finely
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • Knob of butter
  • Sprig of parsley

How to Make Cornish Pasties

  1. Heat the oven to 200 °C (Gas 6)
  2. Chip the potatoes and swede into small slices.
  3. Slice and chop the onion finely
  4. Roll out the pastry to the size of 2 small dinner plates (20 cm diameter)
  5. Pile half the potato, swede and onion in the centre of the first pastry circle and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper
  6. Layer half the meat over the vegetables and place a knob of butter and a little chopped parsley on top. Again season to taste and moisten with a tablespoon of water.
  7. Moisten the edges of the pastry then fold both edges of the pastry up over the ingredients and press together to form a seam. Then fold the pastry edges over firmly with a crimping action to seal the pasty. Brush the top with milk.
  8. Repeat above steps for the second pasty.

Serving Suggestions

Can be eaten hot or cold on their own or served 'hot' with seasonal vegetables.

Other recipes to try: Cornish Cream Tea | Cornish Splits | Recipe Index

Recipe by D.L. Benney (Falmouth, Cornwall)

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