From its humble beginnings as a hand-held meat-and-vegetable pie developed as a lunch for workers in the ancient English tin mining region of Cornwall, the Cornish pasty embodies traditional English comfort food.
How long will it take?
1 hour 40 minutes
What’s the serving size?
What do I need?
340 g (2¼ cups) plain flour
115 g (¾ cup) strong plain flour
Generous pinch of salt
115 g chilled margarine, cut into small pieces
300 ml cold water
115 g lard, softened but not melted (see Note)
50 ml milk
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
½ swede, peeled and chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 leek, pale part only, chopped
280 g beef skirt steak, diced
2 pinches of salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 small knob of butter
How do I make it?
To make the pastry, place the flours, salt and margarine into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the margarine through the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. It doesn’t matter if there are still some larger pieces of margarine. Make a well in the centre, then pour half the water into the well and use a butter knife to lightly combine. Add the remaining cold water and combine just until a dough comes together.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Using a rolling pin, flatten and shape the dough into a thin rectangle shape about 1 cm-thick. Spread one third of the lard over the rectangle. Now is time for ‘flipping and flopping’, which will create the many layers in the pasty pastry.
Flip the bottom half of the rectangle into the middle, then flop the top half of the dough over the bottom half. Press all the sides down with your hands, rotate the dough clockwise by 90º, then repeat the rolling and spreading process two more times with the remaining lard. Cover the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 110ºC.
Lightly beat the egg and milk together and set aside. Cut the chilled pastry in half, then roll out each half on a lightly floured work surface until about 3 mm-thick. Using an 18 cm plate as a guide, cut out one round from each half. Brush around the edges of each round with the egg wash.
Divide the filling ingredients between the two pastry rounds, starting with the potatoes, then swede, onion, leek and meat. Season generously with salt and pepper, then top with a small knob of butter. Wipe around the pastry edges to be clear of any filling ingredients, then bring two sides up to meet at the top. Press together the edges with your fingers to seal the pasties well. Place on a baking paper-lined oven tray and gently lie the pasties one their sides.
Using your forefingers and thumbs, pleat the edge from left to right making sure there are no air gaps or holes in the pastry. If there are holes in the pastry, patch them up with the left over pastry and egg wash. Brush the pasties all over with egg-wash, then bake for 1 hour or until golden and crisp.
Note: If lard is not available, substitute with butter and bake at 160ºC instead.