Pasty Pies…there is nothing quite like a homemade savory Hand Pie

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Recently I was asked if I knew how to make pasty pie (pronounced PAS-tee pie).  I had a vague idea that it was a meat pie, but the only thing I could conjure up in my mind was a Hot Pocket….gross!  After a little bit of research, I learned that pasties trace their origins back to at least 19th century England, where they were a convenient lunch for Cornish tin miners.  The pastry casing, as the story goes, was a convenient way to keep the filling warm and free of dirt.  The miners would hold the edges, eat the inside and discard the dough when they were done.

Cornish people who immigrated to northern Michigan brought the tradition to the States, but many cultures had a fondness for pies.  The pastry is no longer discarded, but an important part of the success of a good pie.  The traditional pasty pie consists of beef, potatoes and onions.  In certain parts of the country, there is a running controversy over whether carrots should be included or not.

So I set to work, with a vague notion of what I hoped to accomplish with my version of a pasty.  I wanted a flaky dough that was stable enough to hold up to a decent filling….my traditional crust with a bit of extra water should work just fine.  The meat had to be flavorful and shredded or in tender bite sized chunks, roasted potatoes and caramelized onions.

I was unsure about any sort of sauce because I didn’t want the filling to be too wet and cause the dough to become soggy.  The trick is to cook all of your filling ingredients and cool completely before assembling pies.  They can also be assembled, frozen and then cooked at a later time for homemade goodness straight from your freezer.

Although the recipe appears complicated, it is quite easy as you prepare the rest of the ingredients once you pop the meat in the crock pot.


Depending on your personal tastes, they can be served with ketchup.

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One Response to “Pasty Pies…there is nothing quite like a homemade savory Hand Pie”

  1. Audrey

    My grandma in Montana has been making these since before I was born. I adore going to her house mostly because she makes a fresh batch of pasties. She keeps them simply; very tinily cubed potatoes, minced hamburger, minced onion, seasonings, and a small amount of gravy to keep it moist.

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