Pasties

We live close enough to Michigan’s upper peninsula that pasties are a well-known dinner item, but far enough away that I’ve never actually made one.  After paging through my Cook’s Country Lost Recipes magazine and seeing an easy recipe, I decided that it was about time.

The recipe wasn’t at all difficult.  Fill 8″ rounds of pie crust with a mixture of blade steak, potatoes, onions, and rutabaga.  I must admit, though, for all its ease, it wasn’t a quick process.  It doesn’t sound like it should take over two hours!  I partially blame the fact that it was my first time making the recipe, but by the time you make the dough, sautee everything, roll the dough, add filling, shape and close, add an egg wash, bake, do all of those dishes…  time adds up!  The original recipe, according to the magazine article, made 15 cups of filling.  I can see why.  It wouldn’t really take that much longer to make 15 versus six pasties – you might as well get more bang for your buck!

Don’t let my complaining stop you, though.  It was a fun project, and I’ll certainly be making it again in the future (though not on a weeknight!).  They were really tasty.  The recipe below has been changed to reflect our tastes – I replaced the rutabaga with more potatoes and cut back on the pepper to suit our tastes.  And though the recipe says it serves six, we somehow scraped together 7 pasties out of it.  Bonus!

Upper Peninsula Pasties

adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Lost Recipes
serves 6

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
  • 1-1 1/4 cups ice water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped medium
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 12 ounces blade steak, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg white

Directions

  1. Process half of the flour and salt in a food processor until combined.  Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add the remaining flour.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Sprinkle the ice water, 1/4 cup at a time, over the flour mixture.  Stir and press the dough together using a stiff rubber spatula until the dough sticks together.
  3. Divide the dough into six even pieces.  Turn each piece of dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a 5″ disk.  Wrap each disk in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about one hour.
  4. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir int he potatoes and cook until softened slightly, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the cream, broth, and mustard and cook until thickened, about 30 seconds.  Set aside and cool to room temperature.
  5. Stir the beef, salt, and pepper into the cooled potato mixture.
  6. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to an 8″ round.  Place one cup of the filling mixture in the center of each round and gently pack it down.  Wet the edges of the dough with water and fold the dough in half over the filling, pressing to seal the edges.  Crimp the sealed edge with your thumb and forefinger.
  7. Arrange the pies on the prepared baking sheets and brush with the egg.  Bake the pies until golden brown, 25-30 minutes, switching and rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
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