Here is the oldest pasty recipe in the world. Try it yourself, or share your own pasty recipe with us.
A Bite of Pasty History
According to most stories, the pasty evolved for Cornish tin miners, who were not able to pop home for lunch (as it was above ground). They needed a substantial lunch that could be easily carried and not get contaminted by hand that have been hard at work under the ground. The pasty was incredibly convenient as the thick pastry provided a convenient handle for the miners and could then be easily discarded once the rest of the pasty had been consumed.
The Oldest Pasty Recipe in the World
Although the pasty is most commonly associated with Cornwall, the oldest known recipe for pasties is actually from Devonshire dating back to 1746. We’ve reprinted it here for you if you want to try it yourself.
Nowadays, pasties are great for lunch or dinner when served with just about anything. Do you have your own recipe that you use? Perhaps you have on passed down through the generations? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
The Original 1746 Cornish Pasty Recipe
- 450g plain flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 70g lard, diced
- 70g butter
- 100ml water
- 100ml milk
- pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
- 1 egg yolk, beaten, to glaze
- 600g leg of lamb, de-boned, diced into 2 cm chunks
- 25g plain flour
- 50g of butter, diced
- 1/4 tsp of ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt
- 1/4 tsp of ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp of ground mace
- 1/4 tsp of red food colouring (containing cochineal)
- 250ml of port (or red wine)
- 150 ml of water
Note: The pastry is best made a day in advance, refridgerated and wrapped in cling film. Bring to room temperature before rolling out. To give it an ‘olde worlde’ look, we’ll be making the much older ‘pie’ shape, rather than the more familiar folded pasty shape. Think of it as similar to the pork pie shape.
Warm a mixing bowl and sieve the flour into it. Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk.
Gently heat the lard and butter in the milk and water until it has melted, then bring rapidly to the boil. Pour immediately into the well in the flour and draw the ingredients together with a wooden spoon to form a soft, pliable but not sticky ball of dough.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic. Cover and leave to rest in a warm place for 20-30 minutes – best left over night in the fridge if possible.
Place the diced lamb into a bowl. Sprinkle the food colouring over the lamb and mix. Leave for 5 minutes. Then add the flour, spices, seasonings, and mix thoroughly. Make sure the lamb is coated. Heat a small heavy bottomed saucepan on a medium-high heat. Add in the butter and melt. Fry the lamb until brown.
Add in the port (or red wine) and water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and cook on a low simmer for 30 minutes. Partially cover the saucepan and stir every so often, until the liquid reduces by over half. After half an hour check the port gravy. aim for it to be thick enough to just coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool completely.
Making The Pasty
Preheat the oven 220C / Gas 7 (425 degrees).
Roll out two thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a circle around 3cm (a little over an inch) thick and approximately 18cm in diameter – place a jar or pie dolly in the centre of the pastry – mould the pastry up around the large, floured, straight sided jam jar, or pie dolly. If you are using a jar, leave the pastry to set around the jar for around 10 minutes on a baking sheet, before you gently ease the jar out. You can also always use a pie tin or mould, but it will not look the same as a hand raised pie. TIP: Tie a double thickness of buttered greaseproof paper around the outside of the pie if you are unsure your pastry will keep its integrity while cooking.
Pack the meat mixture into the pastry. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid for the pie. Press the edges together tightly to seal the pie. Crimp or scallop the edges. Cut a hole in the centre of the lid. Brush the top with beaten egg and place on a baking tray.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180 °C / Gas 4 (360 F) and bake for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush the sides and top with beaten egg wash and return to the oven for another 10 minutes, after which th pasty/pie should be golden brown. Remove from the oven.
Over to You
If you try this recipe, please let us know and share your photos of the pasties you make. And don’t forget to share your recipes here too.