Jan 10

I’ve been meaning to make a certain recipe out of the little cookbook of all her recipes that Nate’s Grandma Ellie gave me when we got married and just have never gotten around to it–a recipe called Cousin Jack Pasties. I fell in love with Cornish Pasties,a savory pastry filled with meat and vegetables, when I visited England for the first time, and so was intrigued to taste these pasties. I finally asked my MIL about the recipe while we were visiting for Christmas and she proposed we make the pasties. I readily agreed. My MIL told me that her mother made them often when she was growing up. When I asked where the recipe originally came from she said she wasn’t sure, but that her parents had lived in Butte, Montana for a few years and had fallen in love with pasties there where they were a common dish. I did some research and learned that it is traditionally thought that pasties were originally made as lunches for Cornish tin miners who were unable to return to the surface to eat. Pasties stay warm for a longer time due to their dense, folded pastry and so made good take along meals. These Cornish miners helped spread pasties around the world during the 19th century after tin mining in Cornwall began to fail and the miners moved to new mining regions around the world. One of these areas was Butte, Montana. I was also curious about why the recipe would be called “Cousin Jack” pasties…who was Cousin Jack? I learned that the Cornish tin miners were called Cousin Jacks and their wives were known as Cousin Jennies!

Making these pasties was fun and easy. The process consists of grinding up and mixing together a bunch of veggies and meat, placing a scoop of the filling on a piece of pie dough and then gathering and pinching the edges of the pastry together. My MIL used a fantastic antique grinder to grind up the veggies that her dad gave her–I’m dying to get my hands on one of these! (I apologize for the quality of photos in this post…I didn’t have good light when we made these!)
My MIL said that although you could make these look really beautiful, her mother always just gathered up the pastry around the filling in a ball and pinched it all together on top, making a more rustic looking pasty.

About halfway into the cooking time the smell was intoxicating. By the time the pasties came out of the oven I was SO hungry and ready to eat. I was not disappointed because these pasties tasted even better than they smelled. The Fuji family will definitely be eating pasties in the future as this recipe is a keeper–no wonder Grandma Ellie made these so often!

Cousin Jack Pasties
Makes 8 pasties

Medium Rich Pie Crust
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. shortening
ice water, as needed

1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in half the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Cut in the remaining shortening until the mixture is the size of peas.

2. Add ice water a little at a time, toss gently and push to the side of the bowl. Repeat until all the flour is moistened. Knead the pastry lightly with fingertips until the pastry cleans the bowl. Form pastry into 2 flat rounds, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.


Grind, measure and mix together:
1 1/2 cup raw potatoes
1 cup raw carrots
1/2 cup raw turnips
3/4 cup raw onions
1 1/2 lbs. hamburger
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Assembling the pasties:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Pat out 1 round of pastry on a lightly floured surface, then use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out dough into a rough 11-inch square about 1/8-inch thick. (It does not have to be perfect!) Using a knife cut the dough into 4 pieces.
3. Place a scoop of the filling (1/8th of the mixture) in the center of each of the 4 pieces. Pull the sides of the pastry up around the filling and pinch on top, forming a ball. Prick tops to allow steam to escape.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with second round of pastry. Place pasties on baking sheets and bake in oven for one hour. Serve with ketchup, chili sauce or gravy.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Abigail January 10, 2009 at 6:52 am

I ALWAYS have to have Cornish pasties every time we visit friends and family in the UK. Lovely!


Maggie January 10, 2009 at 10:22 am

I love Cornish pasties. I make them myself but there is a shop, called Cousin Jennie’s, in Michigan that makes the best vegetable ones. They have broccoli, cauliflower, root vegetables and these awesome blobs of cream cheese and cheddar mixed together. I’m hungry just thinking about them!


Bob January 10, 2009 at 11:46 am

Oh man those look good. I’ve been wanting to make those since reading a book where they played a supporting role. I’m definitely snatching up this recipe!


Misha January 10, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I have yet to make those! Looks yummy yum! I really need to start branching out of my usual dinner repertoire! Hope all is well with you and soon to be born baby!


Joie de vivre January 10, 2009 at 2:03 pm

I need to try these. They are beautiful and look extremely tasty!


magikjaz January 10, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I heart pasties!!!! we have an awesome pasty shop near us so whenever I get a craving i send hubby to get some ;)


ChefBliss.com January 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm

I’ve heard of these for years and have had friends rave over them but I’ve never tried them. I will have to give it a go! Thanks!


Edna February 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm

What a great post! I’m from Butte, Montana (Born and Raised) and pasties are a staple here. Do you like your pasties …. Plain? With Gravy? With Ketchup or With Chili?


mother’s day gifts April 9, 2018 at 8:13 pm

I love meat so much, this recipe will be a welcome addition when planning our weekly menu


Chris Studaker December 26, 2021 at 7:38 am

I also grew up with Cousin Jack pasty being common in our home. My mother was born in England, and her mother lived with us for many years. Ours were a bit different, as contents weren’t ground together, but only mixed together and they put everything in one large pie plate lined and then covered with crust. Same principle, just didn’t make individuals. Same great taste and history.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: