Saturday 24 November 2012

Cornish Crab Pasty Recipe

As part of my culinary tour of the British Isles, I've been working on and editing recipes from the various regions. The next region to be tackled will be Cornwall. I have been collecting recipes from Cornwall for my next book in the Classic British Recipes book series that I'm writing.

Most of the recipes are traditional, but this happens to be a modern twist on the classic Cornish pasty that uses a crab meat filling rather than the more typical beef, potatoes, turnips and onions.

Cornish Crab Pasties Recipe

Serves: 6

This is a classic modern Cornish recipe for a pasty filled with Cornish crab meat. This works equally well with either brown crab meat, or that other Cornish speciality, the spider crab. Spider crabs are more fiddly to handle, but the meat is sweeter.

I've used a very traditional recipe for the pasty pastry here. The recipe being based on that printed in the 1929 volume of traditional Cornish recipes: Cornish Recipes, Ancient and Modern, Edith Martin, Truro, 1929. Learn more about the book and about Cornish pasties on the Celtnet Pastry for Pasties page.


For the Pastry:

350g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
160g (5 oz) lard, diced

160g (5 oz) shredded suet
1/2 tsp sea salt
cold water to bind

For the Filling:

50g (2 oz) unsalted butter
4 spring onions, finely chopped
100g (4 oz) firm, white, fish fillet, finely chopped
200g (2 cups) crab meat (mix of white and dark)
finely-grated zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp fresh thyme,finely chopped
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
1 egg, beaten with 2 tbsp water to seal and glaze


For the pastry: Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Dice the lard and suet into the bowl with the flour and rub into the flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add enough water to bring the mixture together as a stiff, slightly friable dough. Form into a ball, cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and set aside in the refrigerator to chill).

For the Filling: Melt the butter in a pan, add the spring onions and fry for about 4 minutes, or until soft. Turn into a bowl and combine with all the other filling ingredients. Season to taste.

Take the pastry from the refrigerator, turn out onto a lightly-floured works surface and roll out to about 2.5mm thick. Take a 15cm plate and use this as a template to cut out 6 circles from the pastry.

Divide the filling evenly between the pastry rounds, mounding it up in the centre. Brush the edges of the pastry with milk or beaten egg, then bring the edges together over the filling. Firmly pinch the edges together then crimp the edges to form a scalloped crest over the top.

Use a sharp knife to make two small holes in the top of the pastries (this allows steam to escape) then brush over the top with the beaten egg to glaze.

Carefully transfer the pasties to a greased baking tray then set in an oven pre-heated to 200ºC and bake for about 20 minutes. After this time, reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until the pastries are golden brown.

Serve either hot or cold.

For more traditional Cornish recipes, see the Celtnet Cornish Recipes collection, with over 320 traditional Scottish recipes.

For all the British recipes on this blog, see the British Recipes collection page.

UPDATE! The Cornish Recipes book has been published!
This recipe and over 250 other traditional Cornish recipes are found in my new eBook, Classic Cornish Recipes, which can be purchased via Amazon using the link on the left.

The book also contains information on both classic traditional and modern Cornish recipes. There is an entire chapter on Cornish Pasties (many kinds) that also compares the traditional Cornish pasty with other British pasties and pasties from around the globe. Wild Cornish foods and Cornish seafoods are showcased, along with some of the best of modern Cornish cookery.

The most comprehensive collection of Cornish recipes available anywhere!

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