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The Cornish Pasty

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Hen and cock pasties

It hev been said there is no such thing as "hen" and "cock" pasties but that is completely untrue .....

The difference between a hen and a cock pasty comes about from whether your pasty is made made by a left-handed woman or a right-handed woman. That stands to reason. The "handedness" of the woman determines the direction of the roll in the crust when the join is being "second-crimped". Most pasties are made by right-handed women and these are the "hen" pasties.

When a left-handed woman makes a pasty then it is the rarer "cock" pasty. Again, there is no mystery here, its as simple as that - and here is a photograph to prove it:

A brace of hen and cock pasties -"no such thing" indeed!
Acknowledgement -  Our thanks to Mrs Marcia Balmaiden (a fine woman) for making this brace of pasties

Home-made cock and hen Cornish pasties


In the photograph above, complete with a ruler and a 50 pence coin overlapped by both pasties to show there is no skulduggery, you see a pair of cock and hen pasties. The "cock" is on the left and the "hen" is on the right. I have drawn a line on each to indicate the roll of the crimping.

The "cock" is the rare form of pasty - in this instance, homemade, by my good friend, Marcia Balmaiden (a fine woman). Not many women can make left and right-handed pasties .....

You can compare these with the bakery pasties on The Modern Pasty page, they are mostly hens.


Cock pasty
"Cock" pasty
Hen pasty
"Hen" pasty

Bakery-made cock and hen Cornish pasties

Note the direction of the roll of the crimping in the crust - ready for "croust"!


Here is a pair of cock and hen pasties bought from Hayle bakeries. Again, the cock pasty is on the left and the hen is on the right.

I have to confess that I did not realise this was the case until taking these photos on 3 April 2007!  It may be that cock pasties b'aint be so rare after all!


Of course, a hen pasty is more comfortable in the left hand of a right-handed person if you have dirty hands and want to to hold it by the crust. This is because of the curl of the crust and the "lay" and grip of your finger-tips. A left-handed man is better off with a cock pasty for the same reason (but t'other way round) and should really try to find a left-handed woman to make his pasties for him.

Also, it is not correct to say that a side or top crust doesn't matter - it makes all the bleddy difference! If your hands are dirty down in the tin mine or out in the fields then the crust is the "handle" you hold it by - the Devon top crust simply doesn't work so well. As it is, you do find top-crust pasties in the east of Cornwall due to the influence of neighbouring Devon, but never mind.

Furthermore, you can tell if a natural pasty will be a "hen" or a "cock" by the way the bud forms on the pasty tree, and here are photographs that show each form of bud in the early stages:

Also, my good friend, Alfred, over on the farm, tells me that a good crop of buds have set on the pasty trees in his orchard so we hope to take some photos of them, too. With a bit of luck, there should be a few cock buds among all the hen buds, so we can show you they, too.

So, we should soon have hen and cock pasties, both grown and home-made!
That should stop the bleddy arguing.

(Hen & cock pasty buds)

I hope this settles that bit of nonsense, no such thing as hen and cock pasties, indeed!

You get the facts on The Cornish Pasty.


Celtic spiral animation