Saturday, November 15, 2008

Best-Ever Pasties

If you're not from around here, you may not know what pasties are, but if you are, you know they are delicious, meat and potato filled "pies" of sorts, a traditional meal from the mining days up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Yoopers are weaned on pasties, I'm guessing.

First of all, here's what you'll need. I used the whole can of Crisco, and a little more than one of the bags of flour (you need extra for keeping the counter and rolling pin from sticking). Looks like I forgot to put the butter in the shot above; you'll need about a stick and a half.

This recipe makes 28 pasties and takes 5 1/2 hours from Start to the last one coming out of the oven. We have a double oven (3 racks total), so add time if you only have two racks.) In addition to the following ingredients, be sure you have stocked up on aluminum foil and Ziplock freezer bags. (oh, and ketchup to eat them with!)

18 cups flour
6 cups heart attack waiting to happen Crisco
6 tsps salt
4-4.5 cups cold water

Put the Crisco in a large bowl and add the flour and salt. "Cut" flour into the Crisco with two knives, the old-fashioned way, until the mixture is crumbly (pea-sized crumbs).Add water gradually, (and no, that's not really beer.)
and mix with your hands until soft, but not sticky dough.
Don't be afraid to use your belly to stabilize the bowl; at least it's good for something!

Chill dough while preparing filling:

5 lbs boneless chuck roast (I had almost six this time. Don't you hate it when they put more than even pounds in a package?!)
1 lb pork (I used twice this amount this time.)

Cube the meat.
Don't forget to stop and admire the marbling in the beef :)

2 large onions, chopped small

1 1/2 rutabagas, diced small (Not sure what a rutabaga is? They're ugly, and their hard, which is why Mr.4444 takes that job, too.

11 Idaho potatoes, diced small (a little smaller than this)

2 tbls. salt, plus a "little" more
fresh ground pepper to cover, plus regular pepper over that (taste a potato to check amount)

Mr.4444 is manly, so he helps me mix the filling by hand, in an enormous pot (we use that because it's the only thing big enough)

Finally, you're ready to get cooking! Take a burger-sized piece of dough,

and gently roll it out to a 8-10 inch circle (not too thin!) DO NOT FLIP OR PATCH DOUGH!

Place about 3/4 cup filling on one half of dough circle. Add a pat of butter to the top. Dip fingers in cold water and wet around edges of the circle.

Fold over to a half-circle, and pat edges to seal.

Trim excess (discard or save for meat pie later.)

Fold and flute edges closed. Cut 1" slit in top.

Place pasty on pan, tipped in the direction of the fold, so that juices flow inward, not out. (Key: No holes in dough!!)

And, yes, that is a Pampered Chef baking stone. It's not dirty, either; it's just beautifully seasoned.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour (extra 5-10 minutes if using a stone). Obviously, with 22 pasties, fitting 3-4 to a cookie sheet, you will be baking all day; just bake as you go. After they come out of the oven, put on cooling rack and spoon 1 T water inside each pasty through the hole on the top. Cover with a damp towel for 10-15 minutes. Remove towel and let cool.

Wrap in foil and place in Ziplock bag. Pasties freeze very well and can be heated up from the frozen state without a problem.

Finally, you must eat a pasty the proper way (with ketchup) to truly get the full effect. Enjoy!
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