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
- Makes 8 (to 12) pasties
- Crust and composing the pasties
fine sea salt or table salt
Pecorino Romano grated on the small holes of a box grater
large egg, lightly beaten
freshly grated nutmeg
collard greens (about 2 lbs)
table or fine sea salt, divided
small links Spanish chorizo (about 3.5 oz) *see note for vegetarian version
medium cloves garlic
freshly ground black pepper
- Crust and composing the pasties
- 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.
- Heat oven to 375º F with one rack in the top third and one rack in the bottom third of the oven.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- To make the cheese "spread": Combine both cheeses, egg, and nutmeg in a small-medium bowl. Stir until well mixed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Cut the chorizo in quarters lengthwise, then into rough cubes. Mince or press the garlic cloves.
- 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.
- *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.