When I was in the midst of trying to choose recipes for my vintage dinner party, I received a Facebook message from a high school friend named Mark who shares my love of history, nature, and food. He’s an accomplished cook, gardener, canner and fisherman and his recipes are like little treasures.
Mark included a lovely recipe for pastys. A pasty is basically a pot pie you can carry. I hope he doesn’t mind, but I included his explanation of the history of the pasty because, before this, I’d never heard of them!
Our family had cabins in the UP of Michigan growing up. Whenever we went North, the trip was not complete until we had each had a trifecta of the UP… a beef pasty, a smoked whitefish, and a good hung of maple walnut fudge from Mackinac Island. We stayed in Cadillac, in mid Michigan this year, and I found a store like the ones in the UP when I grew up that sold traditional Pasty (traditional has to have rutabaga), We all had some and my wife said you need to do this, you can do this. The kids love them too. I thought you would enjoy it. They were originally brought to Michigan by the Cornish miners. , I believe. Definitely a hardy filling dish that can be varied depending on what you have around-basically, hardy root vegetables mixed with ground meat in a pastry crust. I have had them with turnips, parsnips, onions, rutabaga, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc… There is also a way to make these a two course where there is a main meal in two-thirds of it and a desert filling in the last one-third, separated by a wall of dough…I am sure you can do much with this recipe!
Mark included a photo of his batch of pastys-which, by the way, were way prettier than mine-I decided that this would make a great second entrée for the dinner.
Mark’s recipe comes from the March 28, 1943 edition of the Milwaukee Journal.
• 3 cups flour
• 1 ½ sticks butter, cold and cut into bits
• 3 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
• 6 tablespoons water
• 1 pound round steak, coarsely ground (I used ground chuck)
• 1 pound boneless pork loin, coarsely ground (I used ground pork-Mark used ground rabbit!)
• 5 carrots, chopped
• 2 large onions, chopped
• 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
• ½ cup rutabaga, chopped (I substituted turnip)
• ½ teaspoon pepper
In large bowl, combine flour, butter, and 1 ½ teaspoon of the salt. Blend until well combined and add water, one tablespoon at a time, to form a dough. (I had to add an extra tablespoon).
Toss mixture until it forms a ball. Knead dough lightly on smooth surface with heel of the hand to distribute the fat evenly. Form into a ball, dust with flour, wrap in wax paper and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine meat and vegetables plus remaining salt (2 teaspoons) and pepper in a large bowl.
When the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough into six pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 inch round on a lightly floured surface. Put 1 ½ cups of filling on half of each round.
Moisten the edges and fold over to enclose the vegetables. Pinch the edges together and crimp with fork. Cut several slits in top. Repeat for the other pieces of dough.
Bake pastys on a lightly buttered baking sheet for 30 minutes. Place 1 teaspoon butter through a slit in each pasty and continue baking for 30 more minutes. Remove from oven, cover with damp tea towel, and cool for 15 minutes.
The pastys at the party got rave taste reviews, especially from the guys! Enjoy!