Cumbrian Pasties, Pocket or Picnic Pies


I refer to very few recipes unless I want to try something new. Much of what I cook is what I’ve picked up over the years: from experience, my Nanna and basic recipes which are mostly all now in my head. I’ve adapted many recipes for myself as well as inventing some of my own. I have very few recipe books the list is as follows: Delia Smith’s Cookery Course Part One, Two and Three; Be-Ro Home Recipes, The Brownie cook-book ( my own copy from my Brownie days) Nigella Express, Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s all good, River Cottage Veg everyday and my Nanna’s handwritten recipe book inside an old address book.


If you follow my Instagram account you will know I feed a family of 5 – 2 of which are full time farmers. On a farm, food really is fuel it’s what keeps you going and it’s also something to really look forward to when the work is done. I cook all the meals in our house, its pretty old fashioned that way and I cook it from scratch. Two things I have is the time and the motivation to do that; I like cooking and I don’t have another job to go to outside of the farm.  Even so, there are still times when I’m completely cooked out and we just have a bought pizza, a takeaway or beans on toast.  When the children are at school I plan the meals for the week. There are always other things on in term time, clubs, appointments etc so I like be organised and I have to be organised living so far from the nearest shop.


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We are a meat eating household, I think most farmers are if they rear livestock. All my meals contain meat, mainly red meat, a little chicken and pork but very little fish. I love fish but its not a favourite with everyone else so I try to make things that we all can enjoy. There can be days on the farm when the weather is bad, auction prices are down, an animal has died or the gathering didn’t go well and things can feel pretty grim but when I announce its one of their favourites for tea I seriously see the lads’s energy improve and it spurs them on through the evening milking time.

One of my family’s favourite meals, and mine, is meat and potato pie. When I make that I cook the filling on the hob first before putting it inside the pastry and finally baking the pie. For these pasties the ingredients goes in raw and is cooked along with the pastry so they are pretty simple to make. I called them Cumbrian Pasties because I would generally say Cornish Pasty as they look like a Cornish Pasty but now the ones that genuinely are made in Cornwall have an EU protected status I figured that it best to apply my own location to them.

Today, I made some pasties for a picnic, a bit of outside catering for a third party.  When they came to collect them one man demonstrated how they were just big enough to pop in your pocket, especially if they were warm on a winter’s day you could warm your hands as well as your pocket, what a comforting thought. They have mainly been named pocket pies historically because the pie is formed by making a pastry pocket from a circle of pastry which is filled, then the sides brought up and pinched together.

I went to Lakeland last week and bought the  Pastry and Pasta Press Trio,  specifically for the purpose of making the picnic pasties. I was very happy with it and enjoyed using it. I’m not generally into gadgets but if it helps makes things a little more professional when I am cooking for others I will buy something that is reasonably priced. The three presses cost £9.99. There might be other places to get it cheaper but I would have had to pay the postage and also Lakeland have excellent guarantees on all their products.

Lakeland Pastry and Pasta Press


A few people have expressed they would like to have a go at making the Pasties so I have come up with a recipe I hope you will be able to follow. You dont need the Pastry Press just a round shape to cut the pastry with, a saucer would do.

The Recipe makes 8 – 9 medium  pocket pies or 4 – 5 large ones the medium pie circle is 12cm diameter the large is 15.5cm

Ingredients & method for the pastry 

4oz Trex or 2oz Lard and 2oz of Marg, 8 oz Plain Flour, Pinch salt, cold water, 1 egg for sealing the pasty and glazing

  1. Mix the flour and salt together
  2. Rub the fat into the flour lifting a little out of the bowl
  3. Add a little cold water at a time, mixing  and cutting the mixture with a round bladed knife until you have a formed soft dough

Ingredients & method for the filling

500g of lean minced beef, 1 large onion finely chopped (I always use red onions) 4 finely sliced potatoes, salt and pepper to taste, 2 oxo cubes sprinkled in

You can add peas and or carrots also if you wish add one carrot diced very small and a large handful of peas. This will increase the volume of the filling mixture and could therefore require more pastry so I would suggest using one less potato.Mix all the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl

  1. Put all the filling ingredients together in a bowl and mix well making sure the meat and potatoes are evenly distributed

Assembling the pasties

  1. Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface. The pastry needs to be thick enough to hold the meat but not too thick so it overpowers the pie and makes it dry
  2. Cut out one circle at a time and place about three spoonfuls of the filling into the centre
  3. Brush the outer edge with egg
  4. Bring  together the pastry to meet at the top to form the pocket, if you haven’t got a press and pinch the edge together and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper or parchment
  5. When you have made all your pasties and used up all the filling ingredients, brush them all with egg to glaze

Cooking the pasties

  1.  Bake in a pre heated oven at 220 degrees C / 200 degrees C fan oven for 10 mins
  2. After 10mins reduce the heat to 180 degrees C for both ovens and bake for a further 40 mins
  3. Remove from the tray with a spatula and leave to cool on a wire rack
  4. You can serve them immediately, hot or store them in a container to reheat or eat cold laterIMG_2156

NB ~ Some juices might run out of the pastry but it should stop towards the end of cooking and be dried up or at least sticky enough to leave behind when you lift them from the tray

Please feel free to let me know how you get on









One Comment Add yours

  1. carlystan says:

    Looks amazing will have a go thank you lovely lady x

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