Best Cornish Pasty Recipe – Made with a golden pastry crust filled with a delicious filling made from tender bits of skirt steak, rutabaga, onion, potatoes, and plenty of herbs and spices. It’s the perfect handheld meat pie perfect for brunches, lunches, or anytime you want!
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There are many places around the globe that take pride in their version of a handheld meat pie. Jamaica has beef patties, Spain has empanadas, and Southern England has the very best Cornish pasties!
I’m going to show you how to make the best Cornish pasty recipe from scratch using loads of juicy beef, tender veggies, and a homemade pastry crust.
One bit of this flaky golden crust stuffed with a flavorful filling and you’ll soon see why the people of Cornwall England proclaim this as their national dish and the best comfort food around!
You can make it the day before and pack it in your lunch. Or enjoy it for brunch or even a late afternoon snack. There is no wrong time to eat this Cornish pasty, just as long as you make enough for seconds!
What are Cornish pasties?
Originating in Cornwall England, they were said to be invented for tin miners to have something portable, hearty, and nutritious to eat that would keep them full all day long. Funny enough, the outer pastry shell was meant to keep the filling clean from dirty hands.
So once the filling was eaten, the pastry was discarded!
No longer is that the case!
Traditionally the filling is made with skirt steak, rutabaga, potatoes, and onions. This Cornish pasty recipe has all of this along with the addition of plenty of seasoning all wrapped in a soft, thick golden pastry crust made from scratch.
Ingredients for Cornish Pasty Recipe
For the Pastry
- Sour cream: The acid and fat from the sour cream help to tenderize the dough making it nice and fluffy rather than tough and chewy.
- Large egg: Needed to help bind the dough together so that it is sturdy enough to hold the yumminess inside.
- Flour: It’s very important to measure your flour correctly. Using too much can lead to the dense heavy dough! I use 3 cups which equals 15 oz. If you are not using a scale to accurately measure, your next best option is to use the spoon and level method.
Salt: Adds a little extra flavor to the dough. Otherwise, it would be quite bland.
- Cold butter: Cut into cubes, cold butter melts slower as it bakes resulting in moist layers of soft, fluffy dough.
For the Filling
- Butter, divided: Some you’ll use for the skillet to cook the filling but the rest you’ll use to pour into the filling at a point during the baking process.
- Onion & garlic: Aromatics that give the filling so much extra flavor.
- Skirt steak: The best (and most authentic) cut of beef to use for Cornish pasties. Remove the fat and cut it into ½” pieces.
- Potatoes: I use Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into cubes. They are sturdy and won’t become mushy as they cook.
- Rutabaga: This sweet root veggie is sometimes mistaken for a turnip because they are so closely related. For this recipe to be as authentic as possible, try and find a real rutabaga!
- Seasoning: Fresh thyme leaves, Montreal Steak Spice, and salt.
- Flour: This will help thicken the filling so it’s nice and hearty and not super runny.
- Egg yolk: To brush over the meat pie before it bakes, giving the crust a golden finish. Otherwise, it would come out pale and well…pasty!
How to Make Cornish Pasties
First, Make the Crust
Step 1: In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and egg until blended and smooth.
Step 2: Into a food processor, add flour and salt and pulse until combined. This should only take about 3 seconds.
Step 3: Add the cold butter cubes to the food processor and continue pulsing for about 10 pulses, until pea-sized crumbles are formed.
Step 4: Next, add half the egg and sour cream mixture and pulse 5 times. Add the rest and pulse about 15 times or until the dough starts to form.
Step 5: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 30 seconds. You don’t want to overwork it. Form a flat circle and wrap the disc in plastic wrap to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Next, Make the Filling
Step 1: In a skillet over medium heat melt the butter and cook the onion for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the thyme and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Remove it from the heat and transfer it to a mixing bowl. Allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Into the same bowl, add the steak, potatoes, rutabaga, and seasoning. Mix to combine and then sprinkle in the flour. Mix to coat with a spoon until everything has combined nicely.
Last, let’s Make a Cornish Pasty!
Step 1: Remove the dough from the fridge and divide it into 6 equal pieces. I find using a pizza cutter great for this.
Step 2: Now, work with one piece of dough at a time and cover the rest with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.
Step 3: Then, place the piece of dough onto a floured surface and sprinkle a bit more flour on top. Use a rolling pin and roll it out into an oval shape about ⅛” thick.
Step 4: Add 1 cup of filling onto one side of the oval and fold the other side of the dough over top to form a half-moon shape. It should look like a turnover. Use a form press to seal the edges. You can also use your fingers or the prongs of a fork. Then, use a sharp knife or use a lame to score a 1-inch slit on top.
Step 5: Carefully transfer the filled pocket over to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Step 6: Mix the egg yolk with 2 teaspoons of water to make an egg wash and brush it over each of the unbaked pastries.
Step 7: Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 25 minutes. Then, divide the remaining butter between the pasties and add it to the hole on top, allowing the buttery goodness to melt into the filling. Bake for another 20 minutes until the dough is golden.
Step 8: Let it cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before biting into it. The filling will be hot!
Enjoy warm with a cold mug of beer!
Tips for Making Cornish Pasties
- For a shortcut and a time saver, you can make these with store-bought dough if you want. Bring it to room temperature a few minutes beforehand so it’s easier to work with.
- Cut and dice your veggies and meat to a similar size. Not only is it nicer to eat that way but it also helps it to bake evenly.
- Flank steak or sirloin steak are great alternatives to the skirt steak if that’s what you have.
- Swap the Russets for Yukon gold potatoes. They are great too!
How to Avoid a Soggy Crust?
There are a few ways you can avoid a soggy pastry! First, don’t skip the flour in the filling. It helps to absorb any extra moisture from the juices produced by the meat and veggies.
Next, don’t overfill it with filling. You want the perfect ratio of pastry to stuffing and if you go overboard you risk breaking the pocket!
How to store leftovers?
Keep them stored in airtight containers for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Can Cornish pasties be frozen?
Yes! You can actually freeze them before baking or after once they’ve been cooled, it’s up to you. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap and keep them stored in a freezer bag.
If you are freezing them raw, there’s no need to thaw them before baking. Place them right in the oven from frozen!
Best way to reheat Cornish Pasties?
Pop them in the microwave! That’s why I love that these are portable and can be taken to work for lunch. They reheat easily.
If you want a crispier crust, then you can also reheat them in the oven.
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Best Cornish Pasty Recipe
For the Pasty DOUGH
For the Cornish Pasty Filling
- 4 tablespoons butter divided 2 tablespoons for skillet 2 tablespoons after baking
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon thyme fresh, leaves finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finally chopped
- 1 lb skirt steak fat removed, cut into 1/2 in pieces,
- 2 russet potatoes about 10 oz total, peeled and cut into little cubes
- 1 rutabaga about 10 oz total, peeled and cut into little cubes
- 1 teaspoon Montreal Steak Spice
- 2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 egg yolk for brushing
How to Make Pasty Crust
- In a small bowl whisk together sour cream and egg.
- Into the food processor add flour and salt and pulse until combined, about 3 seconds.
- Add butter then pulse until butter is pea-size, about 10 pulses.
- Next add half of the sour cream mixture and do 5 pulses. After add the rest of the sour cream and pulse 15 times or until the dough starts to from.
- After transfer the dough onto a floured surface, knead until the dough is formed about 30 seconds. Form a a flat circle and wrap it in plastic wrap then refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Cornish Pasty Filling
- Add butter into the skillet and melt it over medium/low heat. Once the butter melts add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring few times. After add thyme and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Into a mixing big bowl add onion mixture, steak potatoes, rutabaga, Montreal steak spice and salt. Mix everything up. Then add flour and mix with a spoon until combined.
How to Make Cornish Pasty
- Preheat the oven to 375F and line baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces (when working with one piece of dough cover the rest with plastic wrap). Take one piece of the dough and place it onto a floured surface, sprinkle a little flour over the top and roll it into a big oval or circle shape, about 1/8 thick. ADD 1 CUP OF FILLING.
- Fold the side of the dough over the filling forming a half-moon shape, using a fork press the edges to seal. Using a knife, make a cut over the top about 1 inch long. Then place pasty onto a baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough pieces.
- Now, mix 2 teaspoon of water with 1 egg yolk and brush it over each pasty.
- Bake for 25 minutes, after divide 2 tablespoons of butter between 6 pasties and add it to the hole on top. Return back into the oven for 20 more minutes, or until pasties are golden color. Let cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy while warm.
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