Summertime Michigan dreaming…
the old Mendota Ship Canal near Bete Grise in the Keweenaw Peninsula
Summertime Michigan dreaming…
the old Mendota Ship Canal near Bete Grise in the Keweenaw Peninsula
Michigan on my mind…
The Pasty Oven’s whimsical sign, one of many lining US Rt. 2 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (image property of The Pasty Oven)
If you’ve ever traveled to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, you have been to pasty country. Traditionally made in a lard crust with meat, potatoes, onions, carrots, and rutabagas (the big yellow turnips sometimes called “swedes” or “beggies”), pasties were brought to Michigan by Cornish immigrants who came to work the mines. In the morning the miner’s wife could wrap up a steaming hot pasty; it was easy to carry in a coat pocket. The pasty could later be retrieved and eaten, often still hot in its crust, as a convenient and hearty out-of-hand meal.
There are as many recipes for pasties as there are for apple pie. If I am going to indulge in all that crust, I eschew the modern pizza and chicken versions for the real thing. These days I am eating less and less meat, but this recipe is for a traditional pasty with beef and root vegetables. For a vegetarian version, the meat can be omitted — add a little more butter for moisture but please, don’t skip the beggies!
You may use your favorite pie crust recipe, but do try the wonderful version below. Perfected by a talented Michigander, it is easy to handle and still turns out flaky.
Vegetables may be used in whatever proportion is desired. I prefer lots of carrots and rutabaga and fewer potatoes.
For a true UP experience, mail-order some Tovio and Eino’s Pasty Sauce, a special catsup-like sauce with a kick.
enough for one hungry miner, or two to three regular folks
with special thanks to gkc
All measures are approximate.
For the crust:
2 – 2 1/2 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 c shortening (crisco or canola oil — butter is not recommended)
3-4 TB milk, just enough to bind
For the filling:
1/2 – 1 lb best quality lean, tender sirloin, amount according to taste
1 medium rutabaga
1 medium onion
2-3 large carrots
1-2 large waxy potatoes such as red or new potatoes
(for vegetarian version, increase amount of vegetables as required)
salt and freshly-ground pepper
Eggwash for baking:
1 whole egg or egg white mixed with 2-3 TB water
In a large bowl, mix flour and salt. Work in the shortening with fingertips until mixture resembles crumbs. Add milk, 1 TB at a time, until the dough is moist enough to form into a ball. Cover the ball of dough to prevent drying, and let it rest while you prepare the filling.
Cut the sirloin into small cubes, about 1/4 inch square. Peel the vegetables and cut into uniform cubes, also about 1/4 inch. Toss all filling ingredients together in a large bowl with salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, mix the egg or egg white with water and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
The crust can be rolled thick or thin, but we don’t want paper thin. The crust must hold all the filling without tearing.
Divide dough ball in half. Roll out one half into a large circle of desired thickness. Invert a 9-inch plate over the center and cut around with a sharp knife or pizza cutter to make a neat circle. Carefully roll up the circle of crust and set it aside. Reserve dough scraps. Roll out the other half, cut and roll up in the same fashion. Set that crust aside as well. Combine the scraps to make one more circle of crust.
On a large ungreased baking sheet, unroll the first circle. Mound approx.
1 1/2 cups of filling about one inch from the right edge. Add a pat of butter on top of the filling. Brush the right side of the circle with a little plain water. Carefully fold the left side of the circle over the top of the filling, bringing the edge down to meet the right side. Tuck in any loose filling with your fingers. Starting at the bottom of the half-circle, roll up the edges of the crust and crimp to seal. Repeat with the remaining two crusts.
Brush the tops and sides of the pasties with eggwash. Prick several times with a fork, or cut slits with a knife to release steam.
Bake about one hour *** (note corrected baking time), until crusts are browned and steam rises. If you are unsure, run a knife into the crust — if the vegetables feel tender, the pasties are done.
Carefully remove to wire rack to cool. Pasties may be served hot or room temperature, with knife and fork, or out of hand. Some folks even like to eat them cold. If you spend an afternoon making lots of pasties, they may be refrigerated or frozen for reheating later.
pasty supper on a snowy autumn afternoon, complete with sauce, pickles, and birdfeeder for entertainment
This (vegetarian version — thanks Asha!) is my completely unconventional entry for Special Edition Jihva — Diwali Treats, hosted by Vee of Past, Present, and Me. I hope she will accept my entry. Of course this is not tradtional Diwali, or even Indian food, but it does represent a new autumn tradition for me — one I intend to keep and cherish. And from what I read, Diwali is all about tradition
Wishing everyone a happy holiday celebration — whatever and wherever it may be.
And I don’t wish for anyone to die either — before *or* after eating. Thanks to my talented cooking teacher Vaishali, for tagging me to this most interesting survey; which was started at The Traveler’s Lunchbox.
Very difficult to choose only five!!
What I’d like to see is the list of five things you want to *try* before you die…
1. My mom’s thumbprint cookies. I could live without cookies and cakes… being weak when it comes to savory treats more than any other. These shortbread-like cookies, barely sweet, baked to golden, crumbly perfection, are the exception. A little dab of apricot jam graces the center “thumbprint”, and powdered sugar is dusted over all. Neatly arranged on her black laquer tray, they are an essential part of our family gatherings.
2. Cafe au lait and beignets from Cafe du Monde, on Decatur Street in the French Quarter, New Orleans. Half rich, dark, chicory-laced coffee and half hot milk (not steamed milk as in lattes, just hot hot hot), cafe au lait is served in old-fashioned, thick restaurantware cups and paired with a plate of fresh, hot beignets sprinkled with powdered sugar (hmm… more powdered sugar… perhaps I’m developing a sweet tooth after all?). Cafe du Monde is open 24 hours a day for a little taste of heaven on the Mississippi River.
3. Fresh sweet cherries from northern Michigan. Buy them warm from the sun at a farm stand along the road. They taste best when eaten out of hand in the car, while en route to the upper peninsula
4. Apple cider donuts from any one of a number of apple orchards in New England. Spend a crisp autumn day picking apples with your kids… then wander inside for a few of these hot-out-of-the-fryer goodies.
5. Real cheddar cheese from Harman’s in Sugar Hill, NH and the Farm Country Cheese House in Lakeview, MI. Both are carefully aged, sinfully rich and delicious. Add some fresh crusty bread, a glass of chilled chardonnay, and that special someone, and you have a perfect sunset picnic.
I was looking forward to returning to work today because I hoped to find my blogger postcard, and sure enough it was waiting right on top of my desk!
My beautiful postcard comes from Jenny of All Things Edible. As you can see, it’s a lovely picture of a well-established open-air market, Byward Market. Jenny writes that it has been around for over 100 years, and is held daily right in downtown Ottawa.
I have never visited Ottawa; now I hope to have the chance to go. Thank you, Jenny, for this great card that captures the city’s beauty! And thanks again to you, Meeta, for the wonderful idea and all your hard work. I’m looking forward to September!
Lake Superior in summer: a most wonderful place to be, and one of the few places where I’m not thinking about cooking
I left for vacation with intentions of photographing some of the lovely, simple food of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. All such thoughts vanished, however, once I set eyes on the lake. I guess pasty recipes will have to wait for cooler weather.
I’m only a couple of days removed, but my heart is forever “back home”.
a glimpse of Lake Superior through the woods
Glorious days were spent walking woods and beach, lost in water and waves and eagles soaring… and hunting those elusive Lake Superior agates.
Michigan UP map adapted from Info Please
It’s vacation time again!! Back to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
This is not my first trip to the UP, but it is the first time I head north hoping to capture, on camera, some of the essence of the cooking of my home state. To me, the greatest food is not gourmet food from a fancy restaurant. The greatest food is local, fresh, and unfailingly home cooked.
I’m craving home cooking, but more than that I am craving home. It occured to me as I sat down to write just now, (this has been a post-in-the-making all evening as I’ve had a moment here and there) that the craving for home is a common force here in this wonderful blogging community. We try to carve out a ‘home’ wherever we are. That craving, perhaps more aptly described as “longing”, manifests itself in the beautiful stories that go along with the recipes. I share that craving, that longing, and I feel fortunate to have landed here.
I wish you all a week to remember… full of good food shared with family and friends, wherever home may be.
Lovely Meeta of What’s For Lunch, Honey? is hosting this fun postcard exchange.
My postcard buddy can expect to receive a card or two from this assortment, in addition to one surprise postcard from another place very dear to me.
Off to the Post Office I go ~~ then the fun of watching the mailbox begins! I wonder what my postcard will show