Not Quite Traditional Pasties

June  6, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Makes 4 pasties
Author Notes

Pasties (Pass + tees) are traditional hand pies that originated in England, and were eaten as lunch by miners. They made their way around the world with Cornish miners, and one of the places they ended up was in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Both of my parents were raised in the U.P. so I grew up eating pasties. The traditional upper Michigan pasty contains beef, potatoes, rutabaga, and onion. Carrots would sometimes be included in addition to or in place of the rutabaga.

When I make pasties I use my mom's crust recipe (which she got from her mom.) The only alteration I've made is to use butter instead of margarine. The crust is almost a cross between pie dough and bread dough with a little bit of choux thrown in the mix. It is easy to work with, and makes a perfect containment system for the filling.

Mom would fill hers with a combination of beef and pork plus the traditional veggies, usually combining both carrots and rutabagas. Over the years I have made very traditional and very non-traditional fillings depending on my mood and what was in my fridge or pantry. This filling steps away from tradition, but not too dramatically. I think even a dyed-in-the wool "Yooper" would enjoy it! —hardlikearmour

What You'll Need
  • Crust
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • Filling
  • ½ pound chicken thighs (err slightly high if needed)
  • 2 slices thick-cut smoked bacon
  • 1 med-large russet potato (about ½ lb)
  • 1 bunch radishes (about 7 med-large ones)
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon table salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  1. Crust
  2. In small saucepan bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and add butter. While butter is melting whisk dry ingredients together to blend. Once butter is melted stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Heat your oven to 375º F with a rack in the top third and a rack in the bottom third of the oven.
  4. Turn refrigerated dough out onto lightly floured counter top. Some of the butter will have separated, knead the dough several times to break down any large chunks of butter. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 8- to 9-inch round. (I generally roll them out a bit, let them rest a bit, and roll again. This helps the gluten relax so they roll out easier.)
  5. Divide filling into 4 equal portions. Place a portion of filling on each dough round in the lower half, leaving an empty rim of dough. Fold the top half of the dough over, and gently press the filling into a half circle shape. Press the dough rim together, then roll the bottom portion of dough over the top portion. Crimp to seal. Dock the tops with a fork in 2 or 3 places to allow steam to escape.
  6. Place pasties on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake on the lower oven rack for 25 minutes, rotate pan 180º and move to the top rack. Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Allow to cool on pan 10 minutes then serve. It is traditional to serve pasties with ketchup.
  1. Filling
  2. Cut each chicken thigh into 4 or 5 equal sized pieces. Cut bacon strips crosswise into 8ths. Place chicken and bacon into freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to partially freeze.
  3. Peel and dice potato. Wash and dice radishes. Combine in a medium bowl with diced onion, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  4. Place partially frozen chicken & bacon into bowl of food processor with blade attachment. Pulse until ground, and starting to form a ball (about 8 to 10 pulses.) Spread chicken mixture evenly in food processor, then add Dijon, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pulse several times to blend.
  5. Add chicken mixture to the medium bowl with potato mixture. Mix together until homogenous. This is easiest to do with a clean pair of hands. Use to fill pasties.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • hardlikearmour
  • jollygreenani
  • lapadia
  • gingerroot
  • aargersi
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

26 Reviews

hardlikearmour June 8, 2011
I forgot to mention, I like to reheat them in a 350º F oven for about 30 to 35 minutes. They can also be microwaved, but it will affect the texture of the crust.
jollygreenani June 8, 2011
Looks great. I'm a true midwesterner myself(North Dakota), and my mother made something like this...she was never specific with a name though. She also did a breakfast version (eggs, cheese, sausage/bacon)..have you tried this combo? Or would you recommend it? Also, I'm thinking of making a large batch and freezing some of them, do they freeze well?
Thank you, and I look forward to enjoying these!!
hardlikearmour June 8, 2011
The breakfast version sounds great! They do freeze well, I typically bake them all off then allow the ones I'm freezing to cool to room temp before freezing them on a parchment lined baking tray. Once frozen I transfer them to a freezer bag for longer storage.
lapadia June 8, 2011
Love pasties...thanks for sharing your recipe!
hardlikearmour June 8, 2011
Thanks, lapadia!
gingerroot June 8, 2011
This sounds delicious! I love your filling and look forward to trying.
hardlikearmour June 8, 2011
Thanks, gingerroot!
aargersi June 7, 2011
LOVE this! I too am intrigued by the crust - one of the things I was toying with is a cajun meat hand pie but I couldn't sort ot the crust - I think this is it! Love your filling too - of course!
hardlikearmour June 7, 2011
I've had my cajun friend's Natchitoches meat pie. Very much like a pasty, but fried instead of baked. I'll have to ask him how he makes the crust.
Midge June 7, 2011
Yum! Love how you've tweaked the traditional filling.
hardlikearmour June 7, 2011
Thanks, Midge!
inpatskitchen June 7, 2011
Love the filling! My in-laws were from the U.P and my mother-in-law made traditional pasties often.
hardlikearmour June 7, 2011
Thanks, ipk. My mom grew up in Wakefield & my dad grew up in Manistique.
fiveandspice June 7, 2011
This looks awesome! We had neighbors growing up who obsessed over pasties and would travel around trying them at all sorts of little cafes, trying to find the best. And, it took me forever to figure out why they always laughed so hard when I pronounced it Pay-stees instead of pass-tees... :)
hardlikearmour June 7, 2011
LOL, 5&S! My husband still calls them pay-stees half the time, and we've been married almost 16 years!
lorigoldsby June 7, 2011
Another great recipe HLA, but I'm curious about the radishes...I've not had them baked before.
hardlikearmour June 7, 2011
Thanks, lg. I love roasted radishes so I figured they'd work. I went with them because they are more spring/summer than rutabagas.
wssmom June 6, 2011
I love the story behind this as much as the recipe!
hardlikearmour June 6, 2011
Thanks, wssmom! Pasties are a big family tradition for me.
mrslarkin June 6, 2011
Big yum! That crust sounds very intriguing. Thanks for another great recipe, hla!
hardlikearmour June 6, 2011
Thanks, mrslarkin! My mom doesn't know where her mom got it from. It's definitely an interesting crust - it's got some stretch to it while you're working it, once it's cooked it's like a toothsome, but still flakyish pie crust.
hardlikearmour June 6, 2011
Thanks, boulangere! I was originally going to enter a pastie recipe into the cheap eats contest, but my kitchen was in disarray (the oven was wrapped in plastic sitting on the back porch) so I couldn't tinker with my filling idea.
hardlikearmour June 6, 2011
I meant pasty!
boulangere June 6, 2011
Pasties are generic to Butte, MT also, and though not a native Montanan, I grew up on them also. They have that wonderful primitive tradition of cheap eats. And no one could stretch a penny farther than my mother could. I love your filling combination.
hardlikearmour June 6, 2011
Seriously cheap eats - literally 3 medium-ish chicken thighs & 2 pieces of bacon are the "spendy" ingredients. Makes a super filling and hearty meal, so you don't even realize how little meat there actually is!
boulangere June 6, 2011
Oh seriously. A large part of their satisfaction is the wonderful pastry wrapper. Great submission!