Pilgrim Pasty


It’s not cannibalism since I used chicken!

In a few days, many of you stateside will be inundated with Thanksgiving leftovers; whether you cooked the meal yourself or sent home with food from your hosts who want their fridge space back (you lucky ducks!).  I love Thanksgiving leftovers, perhaps more more the meal itself.

A quick search of the web will reveal a plethora of Thanksgiving leftover recipes, the most popular of which is the pilgrim sandwich.  Growing up in New England I was raised on pilgrims (in the shadow of the actual Pilgrims), and didn’t understand why the sandwich wasn’t available in deli’s year round after I moved to DC.  This year I’ll be spending Thanksgiving in Copenhagen, but we had ‘mini-Thanksgiving’ the Thursday prior official Thanksgiving, and thought I would offer you a British take on the pilgrim sandwich.

A pasty is a British hand pie (usually savory) traditionally filled with meat and potatoes.  They were originally popularized by mine workers in Cornwall, whose wives would cook them in the morning and they would stay warm (in the miners pockets) until lunch time.  As the Cornwall mining industry declined, migration to other working communities in the UK spread the popularity of the pasty as packed lunch option.  [For more information on pasty’s click here.]  Today, the pasty still retains popularity as a British on-the-go food, but has evolved with the tastes of Britons to include flavors like chicken tikka masala and Moroccan lamb.  This one is an American flavor profile.  Also, my pasty’s aren’t the traditional shape, but again it is a Yank’s take on a pasty.  (Plus, I didn’t want to futz around with the pie crust – leftover recipes are suppose to be easy.)

As far as ingredients go, mine aren’t leftovers I made them for the pasties (and I’m using chicken instead of turkey – but you get the idea).  Also, I didn’t grow up in a pie family, we ate cake (frosted cakes, cup cakes, pound cakes, bundt cakes, etc.); therefore, I buy my pie crust at the grocery store.  I know this is an affront to the pie gods, but since it is only a method to hold the pilgrim together, I think I’ll get absolution.  If you know how to make your own crust go for it!  For the cranberry sauce, use what you leftover (homemade or canned).  When it comes to Turkey dinner I always preferred the jellied kind that holds the shape of the can, but for this recipe (if you have options – this is leftovers, you shouldn’t be making extra work) I think the whole cranberry sauce (still canned) would give the pasty some texture.

The resulting ‘mini-Thanksgiving’ was a big hit at dinner and the leftovers (you may have leftovers of leftovers!) were requested for lunch.  In keeping with the Thanksgiving them I served the pasty with a skillet version of green bean casserole.

Here are the ingredients:


Egg was camera shy!

Once pie crust has come to room temperature (read package instructions), unroll and slice in half.


Spread a teaspoon of mayo on each half (if you don’t like mayo leave it out).


Spoon 1/3 of a cup of stuffing onto half of each pie crust portion and then top with 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce each.


Next, place 1/3 a cup of cooked turkey/chicken on top of the cranberry sauce.


Then wet the edges of each crust with the beaten egg and fold over, using a fork to crimp the edges.


Place on lined baking tray.  Brush with egg and cut two slits in the top of each.


I did one pie circle at a time; and if you did too, repeat the previous steps so that you have four portions.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (until golden brown).  Let rest 5-10 minutes.


Recipe – serves 4

  • 1.3 cups cooked turkey/chicken
  • 1.3 cups prepared stuffing
  • 8 Tbsp cranberry sauce (jellied or whole – I normally prefer jellied but I think for texture purposes I would go with whole)
  • 4 tsp of mayo
  • prepared pie crust (I used the kind ready for a 9 inch pie, that comes two in a box)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200° C) & Bring refrigerated pie crusts to room temperature.  Line baking tray with parchment or silicon mat.
  2. Unroll pie crusts and cut in half with a pizza cutter.
  3. Spread a teaspoon of mayo on each pie crust half.
  4. Place 1/3 a cup of stuffing on half of each pie crust portion.
  5. Spread 2 tablespoons of cranberry sauce on top of each stuffing portion.
  6. Place 1/3 a cup of cooked turkey/chicken on top of each cranberry sauce.
  7. Spread beaten egg around the edges of each pie crust and fold over  into wedges, crimping the seams with a fork.
  8. Brush each pasty with the egg and make two slits on top to allow steam to escape.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


About Leslie@myfoodhistorytravelblog

Hey! I'm an American living in the UK with a passion for food, history, and travel. You can follow my experiences at myfoodhistorytravelblog.com (not a creative title - but you know what you'll be getting).
Gallery | This entry was posted in British, Food, Main Course, Sandwiches & Wraps and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Pilgrim Pasty

  1. shortfinals says:

    Hello! Thank you very much for this! I should like to say that in Cornwall, the tin miners sometimes used to eat ‘sweet/savoury’ pasties; one end being meat/veggies, the other jam, apples, etc. Derbyshire coalminers (my father was one) also ate pasties, and sometimes their wives made small, sweet pasties as a dessert for the family. Ginsters are renowned throughout the U.K. for their pasties, and they are made only in Cornwall, then delivered by truck or rail to the rest of the country. You will find Gregg’s bakeries all over the region where you are, and their pasties are superb, hot or cold. Cheers! Ross

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