Sunday, August 29, 2010

Michigan Pasties

I've been so busy of late, but started getting the itch to post something after watching Jamie at Home on the Cooking ChannelJamie Oliver isn't usually my cup of tea, but today, while torturing me with Strawberries...he was my man.

Instead of blogging about something super yummy-licious today (focus....), I think I'll let you in on a little secret. It's such a  well kept secret that only all my friends, family and neighbors know...The Queen has no clothes!  That's right, I'm not perfect.  Shocking isn't it?  Did stock in smelling salts just rise?

On invitation from a friend, a group of us went up to Michigan for a weekend of fishing and relaxing. 
We had a blast, I couldn't have imagined another outcome.  It was a wonderful mix of friends and ideal setting.
While vacationing years ago in MI,  I remember purchasing and loving sandwichy/pastry-like creations called "Pasties".  A Pasty (pronounced past-ee) is kinda like a hand pie without the sweet interior.  It will have, usually, a meat which is ground, cubed or shredded and a variety of vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, rutabaga and onion.  If you travel the state enough, especially the Upper Peninsula, you will find that everyone has their own version. 
The versions I purchased to share with you were basically a Breakfast Pasty, which consisted of sausage, egg, potatoes and a Beef Pasty, which had ground beef, potatoes, carrots and onions.
Deciding that I had to try these at home, I ran to the Internet to see what "stuffings" people favored.  It wasn't very helpful.  I came to conclusion that it was pretty basic and you added what you liked, although rutabaga, did show up an awful lot in the variations.
Armed with a basic knowledge (I knew how it should taste) and a spirit of adventure, I set out.

Basic Pie Crust
(this is one I've used for 25 years (shudder), don't ask where I found's been too long)
2 c. flour
1 t. salt
3/4 c. shortening (substituting 1/2 butter would probably be yummy)
5 or 6 T. water

Mix your flour and salt, cut in the shortening, add water and knead.
Cover or wrap in plastic, to prevent drying, and set aside.
Makes enough for 4-5 Pasties

1 lb. hamburger
5 small carrots, diced (I used baby carrots from the garden)
1/2 c. onion, diced (give or take...I think I may have gave)
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper

Once you've done all the vegetable chopping just mix everything together, like you would a meatloaf.  Really, a meatloaf stuffing might be really nice!
Now take the pie crust you've set aside and divide it into 4 or 5 equal pieces and roll each piece out into a circle.  Somewhere between 7-9 inches seemed to work for me.
Now comes the tricky part...getting the hamburger mixture in there and sealing the edges...
Depending on how big you've rolled your pastry, I'd put in around 3/4 - 1 cup of filling.  Place the filling on one half of the pastry circle.
(Uh-oh, did you notice this pastry circle isn't so perfect?...Pity the Queen...)
Now fold the 'empty' half of the pastry over the filling and crimp with a fork to seal the edges. Pierce with a fork to vent.
Bake at  350 degrees for one hour.
Here's what you get....
It looks a LOT like a meatloaf to me....

There are a bunch of notes to goes....
1.  I would try slicing my potatoes, carrots, etc.  I think they would 'lay' better in the filling.
2.  I would try using leftover roast beef or shredded chicken breast.
3.  I would try adding tomatoes, or tomato paste/sauce to combat dryness.
4.  I would make them smaller.  These were really big and took two sittings to eat.
5.  I would brush the pastry with egg before baking, so when you hold them they aren't so 'flaky'.
6.  I would roll the ends, similar to a pie crust, instead of crimping. The crimping was 
     extremely crumbly and would not hold up well traveling (which is really what these hand pies 
     are meant for).  Make sure you adjust your filling positioning on the crust if you decide to 
     roll instead of crimp.
7.  If you do crimp the ends, moisten the edges of the crust all 'round so they stick together better.  
     Think pie crust 101, it'll be fine.
8.  Try the two crust method.  Similar to making a pie, you'll have a bottom crust, filling placed 
     in the middle of that, then place another circle of crust over the top and roll or crimp the edges
     to seal.  I am personally going to try this next time!
9.  Last, and maybe most important...let them cool a little before diving in!  They are very hot when 
     they come out of the oven.  Or, better yet, eat them cold the next day!  I actually thought 
     they were tastier and easier to handle!  

I told you there were a ton of notes!!  This was a trial and error for me and I must efforts didn't taste horrible,  just not what I was hoping for.

I stated in my profile that this blog was about what was happening in my life, the good, the bad and the boring.  This was a little of all three, and most especially not one of my better experiments. But what's life without failure?  The Queen indeed has no clothes, and today she is not ashamed.  She shared something new and gave ideas as to how to improve on her failure.  That's what queens friends do. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the recipe, I'll have to think about what to put in for the filling! Love reading your blog, makes me feel like we still live close by! (Kathy McD)