Monday, October 6, 2008

Pasties...or Pastys

Pasties. (or pastys)
a meat and vegetable hand held pie, associated with Cornwall England. Favorites of Miners.

They are a legend in my husband's family. (that and spaghetti), but I've been in this family for over 30 years and no one has EVER made them for me. 30 years and I've never seen a pastie. I've never eaten a pastie, I've never smelled a pastie. But my husband talks of old, favorite dishes that his mom made and how much he loved them...pasties were on the top of the list. His aunt makes them, his brother makes them. They all make them and get together and have pastie parties. And then write and talk about them and tease us.
We don't live close....a couple states away, so, no, we are not invited. And no one has ever made them while we were visiting.
The Stone/Belcher/Solaro/Brklacich Family Pasties are a legend....just like big foot. Do they exist or don't they?

So, I decided to make them. For my husband. I have never even laid eyes on them. I must say here, that YES, I am a cook, but I had trouble understanding this recipe without a picture.
The "advice" I got from my Mother in law, Aunt in law and Brother in law, was to "put" the meat, onions and potatoes on the crust.
They used phrases like "mound the meat and potato mixture in the middle of the dough."
I asked... "How much?" I needed to know this. Exactly.
They said..."just mound it in there."
I needed a specific. 1/2 cup, 2/3 cup? I couldn't get past "the mound" or "just put 'some' in there".
They would not share this with me. Not on purpose, mind you, they just are used to making them and it all comes easy to them, but this pastie conversation was all thru a series of e-mails....and the communication is more difficult.
I should have just called... but that would have been too easy. My mother in law sent me one recipe she found that said, put 1 cup in the dough, but I tried that and it was WAY TOO MUCH for mine. The dough split while it was cooking and they looked like open faced tarts. Maybe I should have spread the mixture around more and not left it in a "mound".
Oh well, practice makes perfect.

Since one cup of filling was too much, I used a rounded 1/2 cup, and it wasn't enough. It was mostly crust...the pastie was. Lots and lots of crust. and lots of crust. BUT, I made homemade chunky applesauce too, so if you took some applesauce (which tasted very similar to applepie filling) and a piece of crust, it was great!
I used pre-made pie dough. My husband, Rich was used to his mom's homemade dough. (HA--used to? It's been over 30 years!). but now they all say they use the pre-made pie crust dough as a convenience.
And the pasties tasted good. I just need to put more filling in next time. I also didn't know if I should make them "pretty" (which I didn't).
So.... when I make them again, I'll pretty them up.

So, fall dinner, and then "advice" from my family in law.

My fall dinner
pasties with brown gravy to put over
chunky applesauce
simple shrimp salad

The official pastie recipe calls for dough, cubes of meat, (sirloin tips), cubes of potatoes.
Things you can add.... almost anything you want to.
shredded carrots
(see advice/recipes below)

the stuff you need (by the way, I swiped the "hand written" recipe from my mother in law, the last time we were up there)

all together

my little mound of stuffing.....with butter. (it looks so sad and alone)

the pasties before going into the oven

And check out this picture! I asked my husband to take a picture of me brushing the tops with an egg wash. I said...take it close and just get exactly what I'm doing in the frame.
So...bless him...he took the picture and got EVERY SINGLE THING ON THE COUNTER AROUND ME in the frame. LOL
the cookbook, teaspoons, carton of cream, telephone, as well as the sheet of pasties. (sigh) , oh well. (It's very washed out too)

The pasties after coming out of the oven

My fall dinner

Pasties with gravy, shrimp salad, chunky applesauce and bread. (I need some darker colored plates---observant mothers and mother in laws will note this for the holiday season. LOL )

THE IN-LAW ADVICE (I love them!!)

My mother in law, Teresa:
Dear Debbie,
yes you can put raw meat , onion and potato, with a touch of butter on top of the crust and it will cook in about an hour. We now are using Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust that you get in the case by the biscuits. It's faster and works just fine. Let me know if you need any more information on these.
love you

My brother in law, Scott:
I tried to find the recipe that mom gave me but I must have lost it. Yes can really put raw beef in a pastry and cook it through without burning the pastry. I cube up the ingredients and season them. I place them in a bowl and cover them overnight. I use the rolled pie dough from the store, like Pillsbury. I unroll the pie dough and fill it with the ingredients, usually beef, potatoes, and mushrooms. I then place a small of butter on the tops and seal the dough. I cut vent holes in the dough to release the steam. I brush the pastry dough with beat egg to make it shine. I cook it for about an hour. Darleen says that I need lots more practice. She offered to sample each time I make it until I finally get it right.

Aunite Darleen:
Hi there..
I use Pillsbury pie crust (in the red box in cooler dept). Cut up round steak, onions, peel and dice potatoes. Lay out crust, put meat, onions, potatoes on crust. Add pat of butter (not CUBE OF BUTTER UNLESS YOU ARE PAULA DEEN!!! LOL). Season with salt and pepper. You may pre-season your meat in fridge with whatever seasonings you want and cover. I do this with salt and pepper and sometimes I put worchestershire sauce in it. Cover with saran wrap if you do this or use zip lock bag. Whatever works for you. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. After pasties are seasoned/butter, close pie crust and poke a couple of holes in the top of each pie. Sometimes I use a whole crust if I make HUGE pasties, or I cut them in half and make smaller pies.
Everyone here loves the biggies!! Place on baking sheets and check after 30 minutes. Usually it takes another 15 minutes for them to be done. If you cut the ingredients into bite size pieces, everything will be done at the same time.
I like mine with catsup but most everyone else likes brown gravy over theirs.
Now you are "officially" in the "family of pasty makers!!"
You can opt to put whatever you like in your pasties as they are meant to be "hand pies" and complete meals. I love them hot, I love them cold, I love them period. They are my very favorite food in the entire world. Need I say more??


HoneyB said...

This is a great post! I think Grumpy would like this meal so I will have to try it out with some of our venison!!

Jolina said...

Debbie - pasties were legendary in our family too! She made them for my grandpa who worked on the railroad (OK are you singing it?) and carried his lunch in a real pail. I wish I had that pail. Both my grandma & Mom made them with hamburger (cooked) with mostly potatotes. She probably put onion in there too, and carrots I think.

I made a very good pie crust as a teen - go figure since I don't even like pies - so I was always recruited to make the crust when Mom made her pasties. We ate ours with ketchup. The catering lady I worked for in Fallon made them for her lunch menu sometimes, and she always served them with brown gravy. Which I found odd. But tasty.

I think I'll try to make them some weekend for my family, since I never have. Thanks for the memories.

Jo said...

oh yummmmmy. I am so making these! Thank you! Mmmm!

Prudy said...

My grandmother was from England and she often made beef pasties for my family. My dad would love it if I made some for him. I've forgotten about them for so long. Thanks for reminding me!

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