Monday, January 13, 2020

My Attempt At Making Pasties

I am neither a Cornish miner nor am I from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but I am a fan the pasty.  If you don't know what they are, they are basically a beef pot pie which originated a long long time ago.

My first experience with them was when I was young. I was probably 11 or 12 when a neighbor introduced them to my family. They had move from Mineral Point, Wisconsin where the pasty was a popular food. I kind of liked them but my mother didn't care for them for some reason. I never had them again until I was an adult. I never realized the Mineral Point connection until I read Mining for Justice by Kathleen Ernst which took place in Mineral Point, Wisconsin and the story line was about the miners. Even though the pasty was supposedly invented in Cornwall England, they have become popular in many communities with mining histories. Today when a person drives through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, pasties are a common menu item in many restaurants. I have had good ones and not so good ones, but they always appealed to me.

I decided to try my hand at making them. One thing I didn't like about some was the additional flavors that I wasn't fond of or maybe I just wasn't familiar with.  We are basic meat and potato people. I found a recipe that looked good. It used only salt and pepper for seasonings.  It was published by a restaurant in Appleton, Wisconsin and was featured on a cooking show called Living with Amy. Since following the original recipe I have modified the it because the ratio of vegetable and meat to the amount of dough didn't seem correct. I believe where the recipe says five pounds of potatoes, it should say five cups of potatoes. Since I followed the original recipe, I ended up with twice as many vegetables as I needed and put the extra filling in a ten inch pie shell. It made a big pot pie.

You can watch the video for the process, but here is my corrected recipe.

Beef Pasty

For the Dough:

2 cups Shortening or Lard

2 cups Boiling water

5 1/2-6 cups Flour

2 tsp Salt

For the Filling:

1 lb. carrots, diced (about 5-6 large carrots)

1 lb. rutabaga, diced (about 1 medium)

2 medium onions, diced

5 cups Potatoes, diced

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 lbs Hamburger


To make the dough,  first melt the shortening with the boiling water, then add flour and salt and mix with large spoon. I used the dough hook with my Kitchen aid mixer. The mixture will be sticky and must be refrigerated for 2 hrs or overnight.

Filling: Mix all ingredients together very well.

To assemble: On a floured surface roll out about 1/2 c of dough into a circle about 6 inches. Then place 1 cup of filling mixture in middle and top with butter pat, fold over dough, push edges together, cut off excess dough, put 2-3 slits on top of pasty then roll edges closed. Place on cookie sheet and egg wash before baking.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes until lightly brown.

These are a little time consuming to make, but we really enjoyed them. We will get many meals from this one batch. I got sixteen pasties and a large pot pie which I cut into four portions. I froze meal sized portions and then put them in food saver bags. You always freeze baked goods or soft foods first. If not, when removing the air from a food saver bag, you will have a mushy mess. We like them with hot gravy poured on top but my grandson likes them with ketchup. 

I usually have gravy in the freezer.  Whenever I make a beef roast, I use the drippings to make a large batch of gravy. If you have ever looked at the ingredients in powdered gravy packets or on the ingredients label of a jar of gravy, you may want to make your own.