The Coal Miner's Fast Food - Cornish Pasties

Total Time
1hr 5mins
Prep 20 mins
Cook 45 mins

Posted for Zaar World Tour. This is a recipe with deep and interesting historical significance... nothing says "Cornwall" more than the Cornish Pasty. It was the meal of choice for coal miners, as it was a ultimate own pre packaged "fast food" of it's day, that was practical to eat by holding the crust in coal stained fingers, economical to make and filling. Recipe is adapted from "Favourite English recipes- Traditional fare from around the Counties'. If you make it before I do, I would very much appreciate your feedback. Please Note: Americans know Swede as "rutabaga" and the Scottish call it "neeps". A websearch tells me that Swede is a fairly recent root vegetable, and is thought to have originated around the 17th century in Bohemia and is the result of a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It's popular in colder European countries and is a hardy vegetable similar in texture to turnip. ZWT REGION: England.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Pre heat oven to 400 F (200 C) (gas mark 6).
  2. Rub the shortening into the flour and salt and add just enough water to make a firm pastry dough.
  3. Divide the pastry into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece out until is about 7 inches (18 cm) around. Cut the meat into small very cubes, removing all of the fat.
  4. Cut the potatoes, swede and onion into very small pieces and add to the meat. Place 1/4 of the mixture into the centre of each of the pastry circles and add salt and pepper to taste. Top each with 1/4 of the butter.
  5. Use a little water to dampen the edges of the pastry and bring the sides of the pastry circle up to meet each other so that the weight of the filling flattens out the bottom a little and you can crimp the edges together at the top.
  6. Pinch the edges firmly together and the result will look like a little pie with a Mohawk !
  7. Cook on a floured baking tray for 45 minutes.
Most Helpful

This is peasant food, and it is also delicious. I strongly urge everyone to ALWAYS use lard in pastry crust. In this case, I would also advise using ice water (water should be extremely cold when making pastry), and I would suggest letting the dough rest in fridge for a couple of hours, wrapped in plastic wrap. I grated the vegetables in my Cuisinart rather than chopping, and I added a couple of carrots. I also used both thyme and caraway. Delicious. make a little extra pastry or a little less filling. By the way, a swede is a rutabaga for those who haven't googled it yet.

Toddino il cuoco in Evansville, IN December 23, 2009

It is good to see a Cornish Pasty recipe using swede. I think the best pastry crust is half fat to flour. The fat should be made up of half lard and half margarine (shortening). I come from Plymouth, Devon and this is the closest recipe I have come across to the traditional fare. We never use carrots and never use ground beef, it is always shank or chuck and is cut into very small pieces.

Jacqui S August 20, 2007

A very tasty treat! I also added carrot - as I did not have miuch swede handy, it is getting to the end of the season now. I make Cornish Pasties all the time at home - which is what these are based on. I also used margarine and not lard/shorteneing in my pastry - the pastry was slightly heavier than usual, but these pasties DO need a robust case. Very tasty indeed and devoured for our lunch today! Thanks for posting - an excellent 4 stars for a well written and informative recipe. FT:-)

French Tart May 25, 2007