If you’ve ever been to Michigan’s U.P., you’ve surely tried a pastie…or at least seen a sign! I grew up in the U.P. and I know I’m home when I see my first sign on the northern side of Mackinac Bridge.
There is quite a debate as to where the pasty originated from–some say Cornwall, some say Devon, then there the Finnish that got involved, too. The U.P. was a large mining area and pasties were great to carry to the mines wrapped and put into a pocket.
A pastie is simply a meat hand-pie with some vegetables thrown in. After my freshman year in college, I managed a pastie shop in St. Ignace, the city just north of the Mackinac Bridge. The owner’s mother came from the “old country” (not exactly sure where that was) and we used her recipe making massive amounts of pasties fresh daily with steak, potato, rutabaga, and onion.
I’ve scaled down that recipe to something that is more manageable at home. They do freeze well if you do a marathon pastie day, though–baked or unbaked. I have taken to making lots of filling and freezing that in portions that will feed us. I don’t mind doing up a recipe of pie dough really quick. It makes it quite easy to make a meat and potatoes meal when the whole family is in town.
How to make Michigan’s U.P. Traditional Pastie: Printable
You can easily dice and cube the meat and vegetables, but I find it easier to put through the meat grinder with the large chunk disc.
Combine 2 1/2 – 3 pounds round steak (cubed into 1″ pieces), 5 medium potatoes (finely diced), 2 small onions (finely diced), and 1/3 of a small rutabaga (finely diced). There should be about 6-7 cups of filling. Mix all together. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.
Make pie dough. I use Suzanne’s Foolproof Pie Crust recipe. It’s the perfect size to get 6 or 7 pasties. Divide dough in 1/2 before putting in fridge. Work 1/2 at a time. Roll into a rectangle, about 22″ x 10″.
In 3 equal portions of the dough, put 1 cup of the filling on bottom half, leaving room to fold the dough over on top. Using water, make a line around the mound.
Flip the other side of the dough over, and seal around each mound of filling with your hand.
Cut around each mound leaving about 1″ of dough so you end up with a 1/2 moon shape.
If the dough isn’t sealed from your hand, pinch together or mash with a fork.
Do the same with the other 1/2 of dough.
This will gives you 6 pasties. If you have left over filling, roll out the extra dough to use up the filling. Mine made 7.
Brush tops with milk and bake at 450F for 20 minutes, turn oven down to 350F for another 40 minutes. Let rest for at least 15 minutes.
Many eat them plain, many top them off with gravy. Some even use ketchup (horror!). Enjoy an old-fashioned meat and potato hand-pie meal!
Cindy blogs at Our Life Simplified.
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