Friday, July 15, 2011


Pasties are a Cornish dish that are somewhat unique to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  When Cornish  settlers came to the area the Pasty was an important dish to the men working the iron and copper mines in the area.  It was a hearty compact lunch that could be wrapped in a towel and taken to work sometimes reheated on a shovel over a small fire.

This is a dish that Kris had been nervous about me attempting, it is a traditional meal that doesn’t need any messing around with.  To anyone from the Upper Peninsula a  Salmon and Poblano Pasty makes about as much sense as Fried Chicken Sushi, and I know that Kris has worried that I would try to put my own spin on the meal.  Since I have never had a real traditional dish I had to be respectful and have been holding back on making them until I could get a chance to spend the afternoon with the Pasty Master… Kris’ mom.    I have asked her for the recipe a couple of times but the answer has always been a bit blurry to me, usually consisting of “well you take the ingredients and  put them in a pasty crust, the one in the Scandinavian Cook Book that I gave you only with a little more flour and less water, the ingredients go in layers so every bite has everything.”   I didn’t really understand the process until this week when I had the time to actually make them, with appropriate guidance. We actually made 14 of these but the recipe below is for 7.

The Dough
3 Cups Flour
¾ Cup Shortening
½ Cup Cold Water
1 tsp (more or less) Salt

Cut flour and shortening together until it resembles coarse meal then add the cold water and blend.  If there are crumbly bits at the bottom of the bowl add some more water.  Divide the dough into 6 or 7 balls and refrigerate until ready to use.
Rutabaga diced up.
Adding the ingredients one layer at a time

The Filling
4-5 Potatoes peeled and cleaned diced (a little smaller than ¼ inch)
1 Rutabaga peeled and diced (same size as the potato)
1 ¼ pound of ground beef
1 large onion diced
Salt an pepper to taste

To make pasties roll out the dough on a floured surface into about 7 inch circles then start filling.  Understand that all the amounts below are approximate add enough to fill the dough that you rolled out.  To the top half of the circle start building layers put ¼ cup potatoes, ¼ cup rutabaga then break up your ground beef to cover, top that with onions, then add  another layer of each.  Top with salt, pepper and about 2 tsp of butter.

Wet the edges of the circle then close and seal,  cut a few vents in the top and bake at 350 for about an hour.   I have heard that some people serve them with gravy but I have always had them with the traditional ketchup and lots of it.  These really are a whole mess of comfort food wrapped up in a flaky envelope.  This is one of the times I am jealous of people that have recipes handed down over generations.   I have never had that,  most of my family has kind of made them up on the fly. 

OK I had to add it... a gratuitous vacation photo.


  1. Aww. That's a great family vacation photo! Pasties look great.

    I totally understand the vague directions. "You need to use this recipe, but do everything differently than it directs you..." It certainly can make learning to make something difficult.

  2. I've enjoyed pasties in England but have never attempted them myself--nor have I ever eaten rutabaga. I need to change up both! Love the vacation photo. Beautiful sunset.


  3. Northern Michigan (where I spent much of my childhood) always had these in bakeries. Not too many people know the story of why. Great post Bryan, and pasties are a family favorite from way back!

  4. Firstly, the holiday shot is magnificent!

    Secondly, I have heard pasties were made in the States but never got to try them. We also have them in Aust. and I LOVE them! We eat ours with ketchup too.
    These look yummy- I also put peas in mine and always use store bought puff pastry because I'm lazy so good on you for making everything!

  5. Beautiful sunset!

    I'm so bad. I saw the word "pasties" and thought of burlesque.

  6. Your photo makes me sad I cancelled my 2 day No. Mich adventure. I am going to stay in the city and eat ethnic food instead. Oh well, I do love that side of Lake Mich, the photo is spectacular and the pasties remind me very much of my midwestern roots....

  7. I'm all about the comfort food. And I loved seeing that picture of your family. Thank you for sharing, sweet friend. I hope you had a great start to your week. Much love!

  8. Just have to say to Suzie (this is Bryan's wife btw) that the part of Michigan where I am from & pasties are the thing is not the other side of Lake Michigan. We are actually in the U.P. of Michigan and are on Lake Superior.

  9. Okay, first of all, I love the name Pasties!! I have never had them but they look wonderful. Not a big ground meat fan so I am going to try substituting maybe a roast cubed. Thanks :)