Make Ahead

Collards and Cheese Pasties

July 30, 2012
6 Ratings
Photo by Joey De Leo
  • Makes 8 (to 12) 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.
This filling is not traditional at all, but inspired by Saraveza, a local bottle shop and pasty tavern. They offer a variety of traditionally filled and unusual pasties. Some of my favorites are their greens and cheese versions. For my version I used my recipe for Collards & Chorizo, and combined it with fromage blanc and Pecorino Romano for a tasty and satisfying filling. Other sturdy-type greens (kale, mustard, etc...) can be used instead of the collards. Tender greens can skip or greatly shorten the blanching step. For a main course serving I like to make 8 pasties, but if you like yours smaller you can make up to 12 with this recipe.

Test Kitchen Notes

Wow! Hardlikearmour has hit another home run with these scrumptious, full-of-flavor pasties. The dough is a snap to put together and roll out, and it yields such a wonderfully flaky yet sturdy crust. The fromage blanc, pecorino and nutmeg combo (which you spread on the dough before spooning in the greens-chorizo mix) both moistens the pasties' interior and serves as the perfect complement to the chorizo's spiciness and the collards' chewiness. When these emerge from the oven, fragrant and golden, it takes some effort not to scarf one down immediately. Mine cooked in just under 35 minutes, so start checking for doneness at half an hour. —em-i-lis

What You'll Need
  • Crust and composing the pasties
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
  • Fillings
  • 8 ounces fromage blanc
  • 3 ounces Pecorino Romano grated on the small holes of a box grater
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2-3 bunches collard greens (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 teaspoons table or fine sea salt, divided
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small links Spanish chorizo (about 3.5 oz) *see note for vegetarian version
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  1. Crust and composing the pasties
  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 in a separate bowl. Once butter is thoroughly melted, stir the dry ingredients into wet ingredients until well blended. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 375º F with one rack in the top third and one 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 8 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. Spread 1/8th of the cheese “spread” into onto the lower half of the dough, leaving a border of at least 1 inch. Top the cheese with about 1/8th of the collard mixture, attempting to get even dispersal of the chorizo. Brush the border with water to help insure a good seal. 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 several places to allow steam to escape.
  6. Place the pasties on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. If desired, brush the pasties with an egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water). Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, trading rack positions and turning baking sheets 180º midway, until light golden brown. Allow to cool on pan 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
  1. Fillings
  2. To make the cheese "spread": Combine both cheeses, egg, and nutmeg in a small-medium bowl. Stir until well mixed.
  3. To make the collards and chorizo mixture: Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a 6 to 8 quart pot. While the water is heating, remove stems from collard greens and coarsely chop.
  4. Once water is boiling, add 1 & ½ teaspoons salt and the collard greens. Stir the greens until they are wilted. Reduce heat to medium, and cover the pot. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes until the greens are fairly tender, but still a pretty vibrant green color.
  5. Drain greens and shock them in an ice bath to halt the cooking. Transfer the greens to a salad spinner and spin to remove excess water. Chop the greens into small bite-sized pieces. (The greens can be covered and stored in the fridge several hours at this point.)
  6. Cut the chorizo in quarters lengthwise, then into rough cubes. Mince or press the garlic cloves.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan (or wipe out the pot you used to cook the greens and use it) over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chorizo and sauté several minutes until pieces have started to brown, and some of the fat is rendered out. Add the garlic, and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, stirring continuously. Add the collard greens, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Toss the greens well to coat with oil adding additional tablespoon olive oil if needed. Cover pan until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle greens with vinegar and toss to combine. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. Cool to room temperature before using to fill pasties.
  8. *Note: For a vegetarian version, omit the chorizo. Coarsely chop enough oil cured olives to make a ¼ cup. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan, and briefly cook the olives. Add the garlic and cook for 30 to 60 seconds, stirring continuously. Add the collard greens, 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika, ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper. Toss the greens well to coat with oil, adding an additional tablespoon if needed. Cover the pan until heated through, about 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle greens with vinegar and toss to combine. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. Cool to room temperature before using to fill pasties.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Änneken
  • Hilarybee
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • Clare Wilson
    Clare Wilson
  • inpatskitchen
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.

47 Reviews

Änneken July 15, 2018
OMG, that crust!! I’ll be using that for empanadas, etc. comes together so fast and it is incredibly buttery and flaky. Awesome!
Ghazzzit April 3, 2016
Used a completely different pesto-veggie salad for the filling and 1c whole wheat pastry flour and these turned out amazingly!!! I portioned out 16 smaller pasties which took about 35 minutes (rotated at 12 mins) to bake.
The buttery, flaky pastry of these is delicious! A real treat and a fantastic baked gift. Thank you for the recipe!
josie October 9, 2014
This is the best thing I've made on a long time! Your crust is perfect...a delicious taste of home. Thanks!
Jo May 21, 2014
Suggested baking time for mini/appetizer sized pasties? Can't wait to make these for a dinner party but don't want to over or under cook.
garlichands March 9, 2014
This looks delicious. For making small batches though, can the dough recipe be halved successfully? I know it's not always that simple with leavening agents.
hardlikearmour March 9, 2014
Halving the dough recipe should be fine.
jubedo July 26, 2013
Oh my! This is right up my taste bud ally! I cannot wait to make this!
Thanks so much!!
hardlikearmour July 27, 2013
I hope you like them!
Hilarybee July 16, 2013
So hard to find a good vegetarian, Michigan style pastie. Can't wait to try this!
hardlikearmour July 17, 2013
The filling is definitely not traditional, but it's yummy with or without the chorizo.
It's always to interesting to me to see similar types of dishes across so many cultures. Proof that pasties, empanadas, piadinas, hand pies, etc are GREAT. I just saw this pop up in the side bar, and it was a great reminder to make them! Hope you're doing well :-)
hardlikearmour May 21, 2013
I agree! I'm doing pretty well -- just got over a nasty bought of bronchitis.
Yuck! It's been a nasty year for colds, flu and bronchitis it seems. Glad you hear you're on the mend now though.
Clare W. December 28, 2012
Awesome. The crust is exactly like I remember from being a kid.
hardlikearmour May 21, 2013
Glad to hear!
TheWimpyVegetarian October 29, 2012
This looks fantastic, Sarah!! I just love these!
hardlikearmour October 29, 2012
Thank you, CS!
inpatskitchen September 14, 2012
Thank you so much HLA! I made pasties for Tom's B'Day last night using this crust. Absolutely fantastic! And so easy to make and roll!
hardlikearmour September 14, 2012
Yay! I'm thrilled and will let my mom know, too.
em-i-lis August 18, 2012
HLA, I'm such a big fan of these. We made two from my freezer batch for dinner earlier this week and loved them!! Aah! delish!
hardlikearmour August 19, 2012
Thank you much! It's great to get such positive feedback. I will have to make another batch soon. Mine got eaten at a pie party we went to.
TheLearningCook September 1, 2012
How did you freeze them? I am never sure how to freeze things so that I can reheat them easily and they still taste good.
TheLearningCook September 1, 2012
Oh darnit, I read a little farther down and you answered this question! Guess that what happens when I don't read the whole page. Sorry
marynn August 17, 2012
My grandmother made spectacular pasties that my mother rejected in favor of roasted hunk-o-meat entrees and canned veggies. Very '50's. I inherited my grandmother's Gold Medal Flour wooden recipe box and the recipe was indeed in it, but so shorthand as to be useless. (And I love rutabagas in the mix!) Your mother's crust is exactly what I have been looking for and I am so very thankful to have not only the recipe, but the technique, as well, that lived in my grandmother's fingers. Her version called for Crisco--I know--so I am happy to see your use of butter. And if I find some quality lard, I am going to try that, as well. Have you added/would you consider adding your mother's regular pasty filling recipe to this discussion? I love the updated version, but nostalgia hits in the fall when things cool off and a meat pie on a chilly night sounds mighty fine.

Many, many thanks!
hardlikearmour August 17, 2012
That's great! The recipe my mom has called for margarine. I doubt my mom had a recipe for the filling per se (the only written one I know of is for the crust.) She would usually do a combo of coarsely ground beef and pork (about 3/4 beef and 1/4 pork), cubed potato, cubed rutabaga and/or carrot, chopped onion, moisten with a little bit of water, plus or minus melted butter, and season with salt and pepper.
deanna1001 August 16, 2012
I'm just back from the UP (Copper Harbor) and was so happy to see this recipe. The key to a good pasty is the crust. I'll be making these as soon as it cools down! I might use part lard for the fat (I've been told that makes a difference.) Thanks for the inspiration..
hardlikearmour August 17, 2012
Wow! You were way up north! I'm sure lard would be a great flavor addition. Let me know how it goes.
em-i-lis August 8, 2012
I made these a few days ago and they were an enormous hit!!! HLA, I would like to make a big batch and freeze them. Have you tried this, and if so would you recommend freezing before or after baking them? I'm leaning towards the former, but please do let me know what you'd advise. Huge thanks!
hardlikearmour August 8, 2012
I've always frozen them before baking, and it's worked beautifully. After they freeze on the tray, I package them in freezer bags with some waxed paper or parchement separating them. I've cooked them straight from the freezer, too, adding about 15 minutes to total cook time, and testing with a thermometer to make sure they're warm in the middle. (I'm not always a plan ahead person, but you could also thaw them in the fridge overnight.)
hardlikearmour August 8, 2012
I forgot to say how thrilled I am that you made and enjoyed them. It's kinda cool to pass on a family tradition to the outside world (though my mom only made them with a very traditional UP filling, the dough is the same as she always used.)
em-i-lis August 9, 2012
fab, hla, thanks! off to make my freezer batch! :)
lorigoldsby August 4, 2012
I'm with aargersi...we've been helping KittytheCollegeCook move into her new's been 107! As soon as mama stops melting!
hardlikearmour August 4, 2012
Thank you, lori! It's crazy how hot it's been for most of the country. I hope your daughter's move is going well, and her apartment has a decent kitchen (and air-conditioning!)
Maria T. August 1, 2012
hardlikearmour, these pasties look delicious - I'm going to try this recipe and hope I get the pastry dough right! I'm hungry!!!
hardlikearmour August 1, 2012
Thank you, MTJ. I have no doubt you'll get the dough right - I think it's easier to work with than pie dough.
lapadia July 31, 2012
Now, YOU are making me hungry, and if my husband sees this he will persist in begging for them until I finally give in ;). His side of the family made pasties, often.
hardlikearmour July 31, 2012
You should definitely make him some pasties! They freeze beautifully, too!
aargersi July 30, 2012
These are really a thing of beauty - once we drop out of the 100's and I can turn the oven on again I will try them!
hardlikearmour July 30, 2012
Ouch! One of the beautiful things about the PNW is that even when it gets up into the 90s during the day it almost always drops into the 60s overnight. And to add insult to injury we're having a stretch of perfect upper 70s to lower 80s weather right now.
Midge July 30, 2012
These look and sound SO tasty. You could start your own pastie food truck ion PDX ;)
hardlikearmour July 30, 2012
Thank you, Midge! Believe it or not, there's already at least one pasty food cart in Portland!