Beef & ale Cornish pasties

Having not made pasties in a long while, I felt it time to make a batch. With this recipe I made a few tweaks to the classic pasty for personal preference:

  • the pastry: I have gone for rough-puff pastry, but this time with the inclusion of a little lard as part of the fat content
  • the filling: I cooked most of the filling first, to give a richer stew flavour

The pastry:

I prefer a lighter, flakier pastry, so rough-puff, rather than shortcrust, was my preferred choice here. I added a little lard into the mixture which gives a lovely melt-in-the-mouth feel about it. It is very easy to make, and a short-cut batch that I have gone for can be made up quite quickly, giving excellent results: rich, buttery, crisp and flaky……

You can, of course, use shortcrust or commercial all-butter puff pastry.

Cooking the filling:

Traditionally for a Cornish pasty you have the filling ingredients raw in the pastry before baking. However, purely for maximum flavour inside, I like to cook the filling first, essentially giving a rich casserole. This also gives you a bit more of a sauce inside which I prefer.

In the same vein, pasties are a great way to use up left-over casserole: particularly ideal in the winter months.

Crucially, though, the filling has to have some bite, so the filling is cooked only until the meat is just tender, rather than taking it too far, as it will cook further in the pastry while it bakes. For texture, some of the vegetables are added to the casserole just before the end of cooking, so that they finish off in the oven when encased in the pastry.

Top Tips

  • if cooking the filling beforehand, fry the steak pieces until they go dark brown to get the best flavour
  • don’t over-fill the pasties: if you do, it will be harder to seal them without stretching the pastry, and the filling will be likelier to burst out
  • brush only a little water over half of the rolled out discs to help the pastry stick; too much water and the pastry will slip all over the place and not stick
  • the off-cuts made from cutting out the circles can be placed together, slightly overlapping, and rolled out gently to give extra pasties: the overlapping pieces will stick together with gentle rolling

Recipe for Cornish pasties – makes 7 medium pasties

Rough-puff pastry (or use about 500g bought all-butter puff pastry)

  • 250g strong plain flour
  • 130g chilled unsalted butter, in small rough cubes
  • 50g chilled lard, in small rough cubes
  • 5g fine salt
  • about 130ml cold water


  • 300g chuck steak or braising steak, chopped into about centimetre pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 turnip, sliced thinly and chopped
  • 1 large waxy potato, sliced thinly and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 300ml ale of choice
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard, made up (not powdered)
  • a few tablespoons vegetable oil for frying the steak
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour dissolved in a little water

Make the filling:

(1) Heat the oil until very hot and add the beef, a batch at a time. Fry until the meat takes on a dark brown colour (this is where a lot of the flavour comes from). Transfer to a small pan.

(2) Add about half of the onion and half of the swede and fry until starting to colour. Add these to the browned meat. Return the frying pan to the heat and pour the ale, scraping against the base of the pan to remove those lovely dark brown bits and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce to about a third of the original volume and stir in the mustard, salt and pepper.

(3) Pour the ale mixture into the casserole or pan with the meat, stir well, cover the pan and heat on the hob on a very low setting for about an hour and a half, before adding the rest of the vegetables and the cornflour/water mixture and cooking for a further 15 minutes or so. You need to cook until the meat is just tender and the mixture should be at barely a simmer throughout. Stir from time to time to stop it catching on the bottom. Alternatively, bring the ingredients to a simmer, transfer to a casserole dish and place in the oven, covered, at about 120C (fan) for about 2 hours.

(4) Stir in a little of the cornflour and water mixture to thicken and simmer gently for a few minutes: you should have a very thick sauce rather than it being at all runny. Leave the mixture to cool.

Make the pastry:

(1) Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and stir in the butter and lard pieces, coating them well with the flour. Add most of the cold water and stir to form a soft but not sticky dough, adding more if necessary. Cover with clingfilm and ideally chill for about 30 minutes.

(2) Roll out the dough to a large, fairly thin rectangle and fold in three letter-style: bring the bottom third up over the dough and bring the top third over this. Give a quarter turn and repeat the rolling and turning two more times. (You can do it more times if you want but this is not essential here as you get a very good flake with 3 turns). If at any point the butter is becoming too soft, chill the dough for 20 minutes or so.

(3) Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes until you want to use it. Or freeze it for later use.


(1) Roll out the chilled pastry to a thin large rectangle and cut out discs as large or as small as you want. I used a 15cm saucer to cut around, giving me 7 pasties in total, using the off-cuts for the final 2 pasties (see Top Tips above). Place about a tablespoon of the mixture into the centre of each, taking care not to put too much in: you want a sizeable pastry rim around the mixture.

(2) Brush a little water over half of each pastry rim and bring half of the pastry up and over the filling until it meets the other half, patting gently on the top. Press gently to seal at the join and then either make marks using a fork along the seal or crimp.

(3) Brush the tops with beaten egg and make a small hole in the top. Bake at 180C(fan) for about 30 minutes until deep golden brown.



  1. Those pasties look incredible. Starting to think about these hearty types of food now with Fall approaching.


    1. thank you. Yes, great once the cold weather comes. And great using left-over casserole as the filling


  2. Mmmm! Looks so comforting!


    1. yes – they are certainly a real comfort bake

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

Something Sweet Something Savoury

Family friendly recipes from a chaotic kitchen

Indian Curry Shack By Anugya

A Recipe Repertoire For Everyday Cooking


Good food, without fuss

Julie's Family Kitchen

A home for cooking and baking recipes

God's Little Acre Farm Blog

Sharing the little things in life, one blog at a time!

Food without fuss

Simple food, big on flavour!

The Recipe Hunter

Cook and Enjoy

My Baking Adventure

Going on an adventure or baking a new dessert - they both bring you joy and fill you with happiness

Splash of Happiness

Splashing happiness in your day

the chef mimi blog

So Much Food. So Little Time.

It's All Frosting...

Projects, recipes, and other things that make life fun!

Come dine with Teo

Because eating is a necessity, but savouring is a pleasure.

joannas sydney

An insider's guide to Sydney, Australia


food books (?) pretentious writing etc

biscuits and pieces

Food, lifestyle and everything in between

Journey of a Blogvelist

The Writing of Curtis Bausse

Stefan's Gourmet Blog

Cooking, food, wine


el blog de dulceidea

This is not a pie

Young baker from Brighton presents her recipes

Bakers and Best

Baking the Michigan Difference into every loaf.

Charlotte's Web of Bakes

The outcomes of an experimental (albeit amateur) baking enthusiast!


All about the passion for food

Cooking without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Eat The Roses

Highly Opinionated Thoughts About Food, The Universe and Everything

I Dream in Buttercream

Cloud9.1's Baking Blog

Le Céleste Pâtisserie

Professional Chef Recipes and knowledge source for patisserie, baking and pastry


baking adventures on both sides of 'the pond'

Knead to Dough

the go-to site for your foodie blog and biz resources

Love Grace and Cakes

Sitting here in a pile of flour and icing sugar, drinking wine

Wuthering Bites

Simple Gluten Free recipes for any time of day.

The Baking Hermit

Hobby baker who enjoys learning about the science and techniques behind making the perfect baked goods that taste and look good.

Blissfully Scrumptious

Blissfully scrumptious recipes for cakes and bakes


Baking from the heart...with a pinch of guilt-free indulgence!

Natascha's Palace

A blog about culinary adventures from a Canadian living in Spain


Cook. Bake. Eat.

lili's cakes

Pâtisserie Sans Frontières

Addicted to the Sweet Life

Two uni students exploring Melbourne's food destinations


share the loaves


good food with simple ingredients

food for fun

enjoying what's on my plate

Clandestine Cake Club

Bake, Eat, Talk about Cake

Every Nook & Cranny simply filled with food

Preheat the Oven

with Chef Jae

%d bloggers like this: