Pasty Recipe

Cornish Recipe

Generational Favorite Recipe

Real Restaurant Recipe

Cornish Pasty Recipe – a tradition in the northern regions of America.

For those of you from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (the U.P.), guess what? The restaurant serves Cornish Pasties occasionally!

And for those of you not familiar with the U.P., allow me to explain.

This particular food item is a deeply embedded tradition in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and a few other areas nearby as well. Even though I am a Washington State native, I am very familiar with this meal because my husband's family comes from many generations of "Yoopers."

More specifically, much of his family came from an old mining and lumber town called Michigamme. The town, located on one of Michigan's largest lakes (Lake Michigamme), is now becoming a haven for expensive summer homes.

The pasty is such an important tradition with people in the U.P. I am told all true Yoopers keep a copy of the pasty recipe in their wallets for emergencies. This is probably a "Yooper Truth," eh?

The traditional pasty is a complete meal consisting of meat, potato, onion and often rutabaga all wrapped in a crust and then baked.

Pasties came to the Upper Peninsula when the tin miners from Cornwall, England, came to this country looking for work. Many settled in the U.P. as mining was a major industry in the area (copper and iron ore).

Pasty shops can be found where the people of Cornwall settled. They are, however, most prevalent in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

No one can pinpoint exactly when the pasty originated, but it can be traced back to Henry the VIII (1491-1547) of England. There is a letter in existence from a baker to Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour, saying "...hope this pasty reaches you in better condition than the last one..."

And this: "Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome. Come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner." (Shakespeare's play "The Merry Wives of Windsor").

The pasty became the Cornish miners meal of choice for many reasons. A miner could leave home with a hot pasty in his pocket and reach in once in a while to warm his hands.

In Cornwall, arsenic was often found in the tin mines. This is the reason for the thick pastry crimp on the pasty. The miners would hold the pasty by this crust throwing it away after they had eaten the body of the pasty to avoid poisoning.

The crust wasn't wasted though; the miners were firm believers in ghosts and left the crust for them.

Legend has it that the devil will not step foot in Cornwall, England. The reason is he fears the Cornish housewife! The devil fears that if he goes to Cornwall he might wind up in a pasty.

This pasty recipe is from a favorite person in my husband's life. Karen, a beloved cousin, and her husband, Jim, shared their recipe.

It is very much the traditional way of making a pasty. The recipe calls for rutabaga but you can omit it if you wish or substitute a turnip.

You can also just add more potatoes if you want and some people substitute carrots for the rutabaga because they don't like turnips either.

This traditional recipe also calls for some pork, as well as beef. Many people I know use only beef. Perfectly alright, just replace the pork amount with more beef.

Another notation about pasty recipes: Traditionally, the beef and pork are cubed pieces of meat, not ground beef. Many pasty makers and pasty shops have converted to ground meat as a matter of convenience.

My husband and many others "insist" that the meat be cubed. They claim it makes a big difference in taste and how a pasty is eaten. Of course, you may substitute ground beef if you like. (Don't tell my husband... he may be wrong!)

Karen and Jim's Pasty Recipe

Pasty Recipe Is Generational

Preparation time: 25-30 minutes. Serves 4.

Ingredients for pasty recipe:

  • 4 cups packed of thinly sliced potatoes (1 cup per pasty)
  • 2 cups packed of thinly sliced or chopped rutabaga (1/2 cup per pasty --may substitute carrots. Some recipes call for turnip in place of rutabaga. Actually a rutabaga --or swede or (yellow) turnip --is a root vegetable that is a cross between the cabbage and the white turnip. In places where white turnips are unknown, rutabagas are known as turnips.)
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped onion (1/3 cup per pasty)
  • 2 2/3 cups (about 1 pound) cut up (cubed) meat --(lean pork and beef flank steak or round steak or skirt steak --2/3 cup per pasty, often more beef than pork)
  • Parsley to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt (1/2 teaspoon per pasty or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (1/4 teaspoon per pasty)
  • 4 ten inch pie crusts (1 per pasty)


Instructions for pasty recipe:

  • Layer ingredients, placing on bottom half of each pie crust and top with a pat of butter
  • Moisten the edges and fold the unfilled half of the pie crust over the filling to enclose it
  • Pinch the edges together to seal them and crimp them decoratively with a fork or your fingers
  • Transfer the pasty to a lightly butter baking sheet pan and cut (slit) vent in the top
  • Bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for about 1 hour
  • May serve with ketchup or hot sauce


Pie Crust Recipe: Enough for 4 pasty crusts



  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 2/3 tablespoons Crisco shortening (or lard in the old days)
  • 1/2 + cup of ice water



  • Place flour and salt in a large bowl
  • Cut in the shortening (or lard) with a pastry blender or a mixer or with your fingers until the size of peas
  • Add ice water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the bowl when stirred
  • Knead into a ball and divide into four pieces
  • Refrigerate until ready to use
  • Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface or pastry cloth to make four 10 inch size crusts

If you are short of time you can buy ready-made pie crusts and form pasty crusts out of them.

The pie crusts you should buy are the kind that come two in a box, and are not the frozen kind that come with pans. Pasty-pie Although not traditional, some people use this same basic pasty recipe but combine the ingredients into a pie (see picture) and cut serving sizes from that pie.

Enjoy your pasty recipe and the company of those you share it with!


(PS) Just for fun (from my point of view), here is a picture of the restaurant near Michigamme where my mother-in-law was waitressing when she met her future husband (my future father-in-law). I do not remember why the owners named it "Little Florida." This was one cafe that actually did not serve pasties!

(My husband's sense of humor! Grrrr!)