Lard shortcrust pastry

This is a traditional Cornish pasty pastry. My Gran used to make this lard pastry every week for our pasties or pasty tarts, so it’s an incredibly well-used and proven recipe. It’s also wonderfully easy to work with; if it tears, you can simply stretch a little excess over the rip and carry on. The lard and butter provide lots of flavour, making it a good option for almost any savoury bake.

I have added a wholemeal variation because I love the flavour of whole grains. Another traditional variation is to use beef dripping instead of lard, resulting in a different flavour and crisper finish. You can of course also just use all butter in the recipe.

Serving Size

Makes 1.3 kg


700 g (1 lb 9 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
6 g (1∕₅ oz/1 teaspoon) fine salt
175 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1 cm (½ in) cubes
175 g (6 oz) lard, chilled and cut into 1 cm (½ in) cubes
270 g (9½ oz) chilled water


350 g (12½ oz) wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour
350 g (12 1/5  oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
6 g (1∕₅ oz/1 teaspoon) fine salt
175 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1 cm (½ in) cubes
175 g (6 oz) lard, chilled and cut into 1 cm (½ in) cubes
280 g (10 oz) chilled water

Wholemeal (whole-wheat) flour will absorb more liquid than plain. If you find the dough too dry, you can add extra water, 1 tablespoon at a time as you are completing your dough, until you have the correct consistency.


Put the flour and salt in a mound on your kitchen bench and scatter the chilled butter and lard cubes over the top. Use a rolling pin to roll the fats into the flour, gathering the flour back into the middle as you go with a dough scraper or spatula. Keep rolling until the mixture has a crumbly texture, with shards of butter the size of rolled oats still visible.


Make a well in the middle and add the chilled water. Continue using the dough scraper to fold the flour over the water and gently work it in with your hands, working from the outside in, until the dough just comes together. The dough should be firm and not sticky to the touch.


Roll out or press the dough into a rectangle 2–3 cm (3/4  – 1 ¼ in) thick (exact dimensions are not important here). Fold one-third of the dough into the middle, then the other third over the top of that, as if folding a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again into a rectangle 2–3 cm (3/4  – 1 ¼ in) thick, then repeat the letter fold. Don’t worry about making these folds perfectly neat – this is just to finish bringing the dough together and layering the butter, which results in a lovely flakiness.


Fold the dough over itself a few times to create rough layers. Shape it into a flat block, then wrap and put it in the fridge to rest for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight, before using. The pastry will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.

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