published Mar 28, 2022
Pasty Recipe

For a hearty Cornish pasty, look no further than this steak-filled version.


Prep45 minutes to 50 minutes

Cook1 hour

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a pasty (A pastry case filled with beef, potato, and onion) on a plate
Credit: Tara Holland

Pasties, or Cornish pasties as they are commonly known in the United Kingdom, originated from (yes, you guessed it) Cornwall, a beautiful part of the country based at the most southern tip of England. The meat- and vegetable-filled hand pies are said to date back to the 1200s and were commonly made by the wives and mothers of miners, who would take them to work for lunch when mining was thriving in the area. 

What Is a Cornish Pasty?

Pasties are the British equivalent to an American hand pie, but the Cornish variety is famous for its crimp (usually on the side). The crimp was a handle for the miners to hold onto. Once the pasty had been eaten, the crimped edge would be covered in black coal and dirt, so it was always thrown away and only ever meant to be discarded — although they are eaten now, and some might say they are the best part. The miners’ pasties would have a savory filling on one end and fruit on the other, so it was lunch and pudding, all rolled into one!

The Traditional Pasty Filling Ingredients

Although there are many variations and types of pasties, these are the fillings of a traditional Cornish pasty.

  • Skirt steak
  • Potatoes (preferably a waxy variety, so it holds its shape)
  • Rutabaga (swede, as it’s known in the U.K.)
  • Onions
  • Salt and a generous amount of ground black pepper


I’m not going to lie: Crimping isn’t easy! There is a knack to it, and here is a helpful video to show you how to do it. However, if the pastry starts to get a bit warm and you’re starting to lose patience, you can always seal it by pressing along the edge with a fork.

Secrets of Making Great Cornish Pasties 

I did weeks of research trying to create the best pasty pastry for the home cook, asking friends far and wide (thank you, Janet Taylor-McCracken and Lucy Taylor!). Lucy, a dear old friend of mine, and owner of Sarah’s Pasty Shop in the beautiful coastal town of Looe, Cornwall, gave me tips on how they make such delicious pasties in their brick-and-mortar shop. I’m lucky enough to say I’ve had one, so I can vouch that it’s the best Cornish pasty I’ve ever eaten. 

The pastry made in her shop calls for a 50:50 ratio of lard to flour, which, let me tell you, is delicious! However, as lard can be tricky to find here, I adapted the recipe to use more accessible grocery store ingredients, using a mix of cold butter and cold vegetable shortening, and including a splash of buttermilk (thank you, Janet!) to add additional flakiness.

Credit: Tara Holland

Use a High-Protein Flour

One valid point that Lucy made is it is essential to use a hard, strong (which means a high-protein-content) all-purpose flour. This creates a more robust pastry so the pasty can hold its own without falling apart. Here, you can see what flours are the hardest — King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill have the highest percentage of protein and are the most recommended brands for this recipe. 

Seasoning the Filling

Sarah’s Pasty Shop makes the filling in layers, pre-seasoning and mixing the rutabaga and potatoes, but seasoning the steak and onion separately within the filling, then repeating with another layer of rutabaga and spuds. Lucy says, “It’s like braiding hair!” To make this home cook version a bit speedier, I combined all the ingredients and seasoned them all at once.

Best Fillings for Pasties

Once you have the pastry made, you can pretty much fill it with whatever your heart desires. You can take some inspiration from Lucy’s store’s current Cornish pasty menu. Make sure you use no more than a 3/4 packed cup of filling for the size of this pastry round in this recipe or it will be too full to seal.

Pasty Recipe

For a hearty Cornish pasty, look no further than this steak-filled version.

Prep time 45 minutes to 50 minutes

Cook time 1 hour

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup

    vegetable shortening

  • 8 1/2 ounces

    high protein all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups), such as King Arthur, plus more for dusting

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/4 cup

    cold whole buttermilk

  • 1 to 3 tablespoons

    iced water

  • 10 ounces

    skirt steak

  • 1

    medium waxy potato (7 ounces), such as red or Yukon Gold

  • 1

    small yellow onion (5 ounces)

  • 1/4

    small rutabaga (6 ounces)

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1

    large egg

  • 2 teaspoons



  1. Cut 1 stick unsalted butter and 1/4 cup vegetable shortening into rough 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to a small bowl and freeze for 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor with the blade attachment. Add 8 1/2 ounces high-protein all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups) and 3/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs, 30 to 45 seconds. While motor running, slowly pour in 1/4 cup cold buttermilk through the feed tube. Pour in 1 tablespoon ice water in 2 increments. Stop after 30 seconds to check if dough is moist enough and forms a ball when squeezed together. If not, process in more ice water a little at a time.

  2. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. 30 minutes before you plan to use dough, wrap 10 ounces skirt steak in plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes to firm up.

  3. Unwrap the steak. Trim and discard any excess fat and sinew if needed. Cut into 1/4-inch cubes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

  4. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl of steak as you complete it: Peel and dice into 1 medium waxy potato and 1/4 small rutabaga; finely dice 1 small yellow onion (3/4 packed cup each). Refrigerate until ready to use.

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375℉. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  6. Dust a work surface with all-purpose flour and line a large plate with plastic wrap. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and place one on the flour. Re-wrap the remaining pieces in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Roll the dough into a round just over 7 1/2-inches wide, between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick. Invert a 7 1/2-inch round plate on top of the dough. Use a sharp knife to trace around the plate to cut out a round. Transfer the round to the plate and discard the excess pastry.

  7. Cover the dough round with a sheet of plastic wrap and place the plate in the refrigerator. Repeat rolling and cutting out 3 more rounds with the remaining dough.

  8. Season the steak and vegetables with the remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 3/4 teaspoons black pepper. Use your hands to toss until evenly combined and coated.

  9. Beat 1 large egg with 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl. Fill 1 pastry round at a time: Transfer to a floured surface. Place a packed 3/4 cup of the filling in the center. Very lightly brush the edges of the round with the egg wash. Fold the dough in half to form a semi-circle, tucking any pieces of filling that fall out back in. Carefully press down on the center to spread the filling closer to the edges. Firmly press the edges to seal. Transfer to a large plate and refrigerate while you fill the other pastries.

  10. Crimp the pasties with a rope effect one at a time: Place on a work surface, arranging it so the straight side is to the left. Starting at the top, fold 1/2-inch over the top corner with your left hand and press and squeeze. Continue to fold down the curved side in 1/2-inch sections, placing your right thumb under each section as you fold (it should look similar to a rope-effect). When you get to the bottom, pinch the end and tuck it underneath the pasty; make sure to create a tight seal. (Alternatively, you can just pinch the edges shut or press the tines of the fork on the rounded edge to seal. Return to the plate and refrigerate as each one is crimped.

  11. Transfer the pasties to the baking sheet. Brush all over with egg wash, make sure to brush in all the crevices where there is crimping.

  12. Bake for 10 minutes. Check to see if the pasties are sealed properly and not leaking. If they are leaking, remove the baking sheet from the oven and reseal. Continue to bake until deep golden-brown, about 50 minutes more. Let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before serving hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

Rutabaga substitute: 6 ounces of turnips or parsnips can be used in place of the rutabaga.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.