Cornish Pasty Canapes

Cornish pasties

I have made Cornish Pasties before, but this recipe is adapted for little mini pasties. They’re good for taking to parties (dinner or otherwise) as a starter/snack/nibble or for impressing your friends and workmates.

This recipe makes about 35 mini pasties, which may seem a lot but they’ll go quickly. Also, it’s difficult to make them in smaller quantities because even though you’re only using one small potato and one small carrot, you need 225g meat to get meat-to-veg ratio right and a little of the filling goes a long way. If you wanted to, you could make less by using half a potato and half a carrot but frankly, that way madness lies. You’d be left with random halves of vegetables lying around. That’s no use to anyone.

Makes around 35

For the pastry
330g plain flour
175g butter
1 egg
A pinch of salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper (if you have it)
A pinch of mustard powder (again, if you have it)

For the filling
225g lean minced (ground) beef
1 small onion
1 small potato
1 small carrot
1 teaspoon plain flour
Worcestershire sauce
About a cup’s worth of stock – veg or beef
1 egg

The Cooking

People get scared of pastry and think it’s some big mystery, but it’s really not – it’s just flour, butter and something to bind them together. Nothing scary about that. First of all, measure out your ingredients, put the flour, salt, cayenne and mustard powder into a big bowl and cube the butter thusly:

pastry ingredients

Now put the butter into the flour and using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour. Try to do this lightly and be patient, it will get there in the end.

mixing pastry

Yes, those are my hands. What you’re aiming for in a texture like rough breadcrumbs:

making pastry

Now beat the 1 egg and pour it in. With a wooden spoon, give it a stir and the ingredients will start to stick together. Use your hands to bring it all together into a ball. Behold:

pastry dough

Pop it in some cling film (saran wrap) or into a plastic sandwich bag (that’s what I use, less fiddly) and put it in the fridge to chill for half an hour.

While that’s chilling, do your veg prep. Finely dice the onion, potato and carrot. Set a non-stick frying pan on a high heat and when it’s good and hot, tip in the minced meat and move it about, browning it. After a couple of minutes, tip in the diced veg and give it a stir. Splash over a few shakes of worcestershire sauce and some salt and pepper. Be a little more generous with the pepper than you normally would be. Sprinkle over the tablespoon of plain flour, mix it in and cook for a further minute. Now pour over a cup of stock and reduce the heat to a simmer.

After 5 minutes or so the veg should be softening up and the liquid thickening and reducing. You don’t want it too wet otherwise it’ll make the pastry soggy – it just wants to be moist. If there’s too much liquid, turn up the heat and reduce it a bit.

Take the filling mix off the heat and set it aside to cool. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Okay, now take the pastry out of the fridge, divide it into thirds and wrap two pieces back up and put them back in the fridge. Sprinkle flour on a large chopping board or just a kitchen surface and sprinkle some on your rolling pin to stop it sticking. Roll out the pastry until it’s quite thin – about as thin as you dare before you think it might tear when you move it. Now cut circles out of the pastry – if you have a pastry cutter, well done and you should use that. I don’t have one, so I use the end of a can of tomatoes which works just as well. Peal away the offcuts of pastry, ball it up and cover it to stop it getting dry.

Now put a small amount of pilling in the middle of each circle like this:

cornish pastie canapes

And fold the circle over. Pinch the edges together and put it pinched end up on a baking try. Do the same with the rest of the circles and roll out the rest of the pastry and repeat until it’s all used up. Beat an egg and if you have a pastry brush, brush the egg over the pasties to glaze them. I don’t have a pastry brush so I used some kitchen roll dipped into the egg and then wiped over the pasties. Works just as well.

Put the baking tray with the pasties into the oven for 10-15 minutes until they’re golden brown. Do it in batches if necessary.

Now, eat! Hot or cold, both works well. Tasty, innit?

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22 Responses to “Cornish Pasty Canapes”

  1. bigsky Says:

    Pre-cooking pasty filling? I thought that was frowned upon. But I could be wrong.

    I bet I could eat…if not 35, then certainly well over 20.

  2. 101things Says:

    Well, it’s only going to be in the oven for ten minutes or so – the pastry would burn otherwise. So I pre-cooked the filling. Which is perfectly acceptable because it works. And because I said so.

    If you happen to be cycling by this evening, pop in and you can have some. They’ll all be gone by tomorrow evening though, I’m taking them to work.

  3. gingerdinnerdiaryorg Says:

    I love these! Last year we did British Tapas as a theme for Fred’s birthday and made mini versions of lots of classic British dishes…this would be perfect.

    I somehow have three pastry brushes, I have no idea where they all came from.


  4. Columbus Foodie » Blog Archive » July 2007 Roundup Says:

    […] Tarts from Cream Puffs in Venice, Great-Grandma Gibson’s Fried Chicken from Homesick Texan, Cornish Pasty Canapes from 101 Things Every Cook Should Cook, Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce from […]

  5. Sarah Says:

    Hi, just found this fantastic recipe – do you think they would freeze well? I’m looking for ideas for school packed lunches, but would need to freeze them once cooked. Ummmm.


  6. 101things Says:

    Hi Sarah. Yes, they’ll freeze just fine. Have fun!

  7. Lynne Says:

    hello. your pasties look amazing. may i ask what size (in inches or cms) is the can which you use to cut the pastry circles with? thanks so much. Lynne

  8. Julie Says:

    Not sure about the pre-cooking filling, coming from true
    Cornish stock as I do, also what about the carrot, there are no carrots in a real Cornish pasty, its turnip, or as its called down south sweed. Cornish people call the big orange one a turnip and the little green one doesn’t exist.

    • tracyptm Says:

      She ore-cooks the filling because these are mini, not full-size pasties, and the pastry would burn before the filling was cooked. As she says in the intro, adapted to be mini.

  9. Pipeski Says:

    Minced beef, carrot, and pre-cooking are all very much not how we Cornish folk cook pasties. Skirt steak, cut into little pieces, along with potato and swede, again in little slices (half-inch square by 1/8 inch thick is about right), a little chopped onion, then seasoned with salt and pepper and put in the pastry uncooked is how to do it.

    Much research has led me to the conclusion that the best pastry for pasties uses 50% lard and 50% shredded suet; this gives a beautiful crispy texture. Kneading the pastry a little helps to make it more resilient, which is a good thing in a pasty. And crimping along the top… my grandmother would turn in her grave, I tell you.

    • Suzi Homemaker Says:

      To quote the Cornwall Federation of Women’s Institutes’ definitive recipe book: “Crimp by pinching the pastry with the left hand and fold over with right hand, forming a rope-like effect on the side of the pastry”.

  10. ashley Says:

    i doubled the crust recipe and coupled it with a cheese and onion recipe i found elsewhere (… they were scrumptiously perfect! i prepared them for my boyfriend’s college graduation party, and they were gone in an instant. next time, i plan to use your filling recipe (there were many vegetarians at the party). a++ will make again.

  11. Maddy Says:

    Now that is so curious. I stopped off here trying to figure out if I could cook the potatoes in advance, because if I make them to the pastry stage [refridgerate] and then cook them tonight, the potatoes would go black. It never even occured to me to cook all the filling in advance. It is obviously far too long since I last went home – that and adancing middle age. Thanks.

  12. Colette Says:

    Great Thank You. Going to cooking this with kids in my class (In australia) to celerbrate the olympics being held in uk.

  13. jonathan Says:

    I need to freeze them for an upcoming party, should I bake them before or after freezing?

  14. mark Says:

    no carrot! No pre cooking! Crimp on the side not on top! These are not Cornish! They may be good, but not Cornish!

  15. MoLiver Says:

    Too little too late as this post has been here for some time but I made these tonight. I fiddled with the filling making some changes to add a little more flavor and that came out tasting great. The crust was another story.

    I followed the recipe in every way other than pulsing the dough in the food processor instead of rubbing the butter in by hand but that shouldn’t have made the difference it did but it did. The dough was so crumbly that it was breaking all over the place and I couldn’t roll it very thin. I had to add some ice water just to make sure it would not crack in half when I tried to fold them.

    The result were thick doughy crusts with a low yield (I am going to make a pie with the leftover filling). On top of this, the dough was really bland – a pinch of salt turned out to be insufficient – I would guess a you’d need closer to a tsp to get some flavour in there. I was so excited to find a recipe that used butter instead of lard/shortening in the crust but I guess I paid the price for that substitution.

  16. Rabbitspam Says:

    This recipe still going strong! I’ve made veggie versions with curried butternut squash and peas, everyone loves them. I also have to add a drop or two of water to make the mix bind properly, but the pastry is great.

  17. Mike Says:

    Second time using your recipe now. Thank you 🙂

  18. oghash Says:

    Thank you 🙂

  19. Jackie Cull Says:

    These turned out great. I normally really struggle with pastry but, this was so easy and my pastry was fine. Thank you so much for sharing the receipe. I have frozen them as I don’t need them for a week. What is the best way to defrost and reheat please?

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