Notes From James
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Pasties 101 (Updated)   James - Saturday, December 7, 2013, 10:51 pm

Well, I'm not a chef. I'm not even a cook. I can barely order McDonald's. However, a few weeks ago, I got a craving for some pasties, a sort of stew-in-a-pie-package that is a delicacy of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I got a recipe off of this web site, and here it is, with my comments. Note! I have not yet eaten them, so if they turn out terrible, well, here is the proof.

Making the Crust

  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (cold and cut into bits)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. water

In a large bowl, combine flour, butter and salt. Blend ingredients until well combined and add water, one tablespoon at a time to form a dough. Toss mixture until it forms a ball. Kneed dough lightly against a smooth surface with heel of the hand to distribute fat evenly. Form into a ball, dust with flour, wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.

My Commentary

This sounds a lot easier than it is in reality. As far as mashing the flour and butter together, I did this with my bare hands as pressing it around a bowl with a wooden spoon was taking too much time and did not seem to be making any good progress. I also ended up added probably somewhere in the range of 10 tbsp of water since it all kept falling it apart, and forming it into a ball was impossible.

Making the Filling

  • 1 lb. round steak, coarsely ground1 lb. boneless pork loin, coarsely ground
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 2 lg. onions, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 c. rutabaga, chopped (can substitute turnip)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Divide the dough into 6 pieces, and roll one of the pieces into a 10-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Put 1 1/2 cups of filling on half of the round. Moisten the edges and fold the unfilled half over the filling to enclose it. Pinch the edges together to seal them and crimp them decoratively with a fork. Transfer pasty to lightly buttered baking sheet and cut several slits in the top. Roll out and fill the remaining dough in the same manner. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Put 1 tsp. butter through a slit in each pasty and continue baking for 30 minutes more. Remove from oven, cover with a damp tea towel, cool for 15 minutes.

Milwaukee Journal March 28, 1943 Welsh


Well, in writing this up, I realize that I forgot the salt and pepper. I figure that it's not that big a deal as I plan on adding extra salt and pepper at eating time (sorry, I'm a computer geek and talk about run-time and compile-time). I'm also planning on eating them with brown sauce, which is pretty salty anyway.

This is a LOT of food. When I was out buying the food, I didn't realized how much food this is. After rolling out the dough, trying to pack all that food in would be impossible. I got maybe 2/3 of it in, and I'm going to have to figure out what to do later with the remainder.

Rolling the dough turned out to be a lot of fun, but I had to keep the kids away. Their comment about eating uncooked dough: "It tastes like Play-Doh".

I used 3 spanish (yellow) onions, since they were pretty small and the recipe called for 2 large onions. They were pretty strong, and made me cry quite early into the process.

I used a turnip in place of the rutabaga. I picked just a small one. They are tough little vegetables and strong to the taste. I think that if anything fails in the recipe, it's going to be due to not chopping up the vegetables enough.

Well, 45 minutes to go...more later. I'll publish this now to avoid closing this window by accident.


These were, by far, the best pasties I have ever eaten. I'm sure that a good part of that is due to the fact of the work I put into it. However, the really did taste good.

Things to think about in the future: Next time, I have to figure a better way to put them on the plate. I put down wax paper, but evidentally (according to my wife), it was upside down. That really is the worst part of the whole thing. A bit of work, and it came off ok. The salt and pepper thing didn't seem to matter at all.

My son's comment: "Much better than Play-Doh." I'm serious. I'm not making that up.

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