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Recipe for Corned Beef Pasties

The traditional Cornish pastie is made with ground beef and a few veggies inside a pastry shell. I recently tried a pastie made with corned beef instead of ground beef and really enjoyed it. Give this one a try, I think you'll like it.

Whether you choose to try this recipe or not, you can join the debate over where the crust should be in a true Cornish pastie. See my notes at the end of this post.

For the filling:
1 can Corned Beef
Miscellaneous vegetables (onion, potato, carrots)

For the pastry:
2 cups flour
1 cup Atora Vegetable Suet
Cold water

To make the filling:
  • Empty the corned beef into a pan and warm gently until the beef has a nice warm colour and all the fat has melted.
  • Stir in some cooked vegetables. You can choose which vegetables but only a small quantity is needed
  • Cook on very low heat for a few minutes to blend the flavours then remove from heat and allow to cool

To make the pastry:
  • Mix 2 cups of flour with one cup of Atora vegetable suet. Atora suet is pelletized so you must rub the flour into the suet very thoroughly until smooth
  • Mix in cold water very slowly, taking care not to make the dough wet. The dough should be just moist enough to bind together but it should not stick to the mixing bowl
  • Roll out the dough into oblong shapes a little larger than the size of the pasties you wish to make
The Finish:
  • Put a generous helping of filling into the centre of each piece of dough, then fold the dough over the filling.
  • Press, fold and seal the edges of the dough then place each pastie onto a baking tray
  • Preheat an oven to 350C, then bake for about a half hour
  • A few minutes before the bake is finished pull the tray out of the oven and brush some beaten egg over the pastry; this gives the pasties a nice golden glaze.

John's Notes
I first sampled pasties made with corned beef at the "Somewhere Else" English tea Room in Orangeville, Ontario. I didn't ask for their recipe so this isn't a copy of the one I ate at the tearoom. Instead, this recipe is an original, tried and tested in my own kitchen.

A Crusty Conundrum
By the way, there seems to be a difference of opinion on whether the crust of a Cornish style pastie should be across the top of the pastie or along the edge. My memories from Jolly Old England support the crust on the edge, but commercially made pasties here in Canada have the crust in a ridge across the top.

Tradition has it that Cornish tin miners would hold the pastie by the crust with unwashed hands. The crust would then be discarded. I would be interested to hear readers opinions on why some pasties are made one way and some the other. Is there a correct way to form the crust on a Cornish pastie? If you have an opinion or can offer some expertise please leave me a comment.


  1. A small correction to the recipe. You should use either self-raising flour or plain (all-purpose) flour with baking powder.

  2. HI John
    I was in Northern Ontario and Northern Michigan this past year and the miners up there adopted the Cornish pastie as theirs. We saw signs for original Michigan Pasties in a few places. The Cornish tin miners came over here and taught them how to mine tin and copper. We toured a copper mine and they had a figure of a woman who used to make the pasties underground for the men at lunch. Just thought you might be interested.

    Mary Davidson

  3. Thanks Mary, that's a fascinating story. It's nice to know that a little bit of English tradition has found its way to a new home over here.

  4. In answer to your crusty conundrum, I would suggest that the ridge along the edge makes it easier to eat the pasty with minimum spillage. If the ridge is along the top, surely when you invert it to eat it the top is considerably wider than the ridge/bottom?

    Also, traditionally pasties would have two halves. The meat and onions would be in one half, and a sweet 'second course' would be in the other, divided by a sheet of pastry.

  5. Thanks for your input Nickie. Yes, I have heard about the main course and dessert inside the pastry. It's an interesting idea, I wonder why it never caught on commercially.

  6. You have opened a can of worms with the old cornish pasty debate!
    Being a cornishman living in England (i prefer to call it invading) a often have to correct people on what should be in a cornish pasty. Legend has it that the devil never made it to cornwall because he was afraid the cornish would put him in a pasty, because pretty much whatever was to hand would go in.
    The general agreement on a Modern traditional cornish Pasty is diced beef Skirt(steak if you want a posh pasty), onions, turnip (called sweded in England - us cornish can be awkward), potato, salt and pepper and under no circumstances carrot wrapped in shortcrust pastry. The crust should be on the side but my favourite bakery puts them ontop in the Devon style. Hope this helps - I do have a reputation for going on and on about pasties.

    All the best