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Cornish / Finnish Pasty
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  • Cornish / Finnish Pasty

    Post #1 - January 15th, 2009, 11:26 am
    Post #1 - January 15th, 2009, 11:26 am Post #1 - January 15th, 2009, 11:26 am
    Considering the weather this week, I chose to make something more typical of living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin or Minnesota.

    Settled on Pasties, which I have made before but not with as much success.

    I used to pre-cook the filling, mostly because the cubes of rutabaga were so hard they wouldn't be softened by the time the crust and other ingredients were perfect. But the filling would end up being a bit too dry or all of the juices would filter to the bottom and cause a mushy bottom crust. It turns out that grating the rutabaga really helped a lot.

    So this time I put the raw filling into the crust and it cooked perfectly, nice and moist when done but did not cause the crust to become mushy. You can pretty much pick up the whole thing in your hands and eat it that way, which I suppose is how the guys in the copper mines had to eat them during their meal breaks.

    I also cut a large slit in the top of the crust (just did small skewer-holes before) and that probably vented just the right amount of steam to keep things good inside the crust. And one recipe suggested brushing the unbaked crust with whole milk rather than the usual egg white, so I tried that out. That made the crust brown better than my experiences with egg.

    In the U.P., I think they are eaten with ketchup, but I'm tempted to make a dark gravy next time.
    I'll submit the recipe, which is a mutation of several traditional ones, to the recipe index if anyone is interested.

    JM

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  • Post #2 - January 15th, 2009, 12:24 pm
    Post #2 - January 15th, 2009, 12:24 pm Post #2 - January 15th, 2009, 12:24 pm
    Hi,

    It is my understanding a Finnish pasty would have rye flour. I know that is not how it is made in the UP, though it is how it is made in Finland. It is my understanding the Cornish came to mine in the 1850's began the pasty tradition. Around the 1900's, it was the Finnish who began immigrating to mine the UP and continued the pasty tradition.

    Of course, we would be pleased to have your recipe for pastys.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - January 15th, 2009, 12:55 pm
    Post #3 - January 15th, 2009, 12:55 pm Post #3 - January 15th, 2009, 12:55 pm
    Thanks for the information! I have some rye flour sitting around (got it for an attempt at making rye bagels, since none can be found in downtown Chicago), but haven't gotten around to it. So I will try that for the next batch.

    I also found a pretty good rundown on the history of pasties from a Michigan Tech student's site (in Houghton, MI). http://www.hu.mtu.edu/vup/pasty/pastymain.html

    I will send along the recipe (actually a mutation of several recipes) soon.

    JM
  • Post #4 - January 17th, 2009, 5:48 am
    Post #4 - January 17th, 2009, 5:48 am Post #4 - January 17th, 2009, 5:48 am
    "In the U.P., I think they are eaten with ketchup, but I'm tempted to make a dark gravy next time."

    Pasty sauce http://www.uporiginal.com/vote.html -Dick
  • Post #5 - January 17th, 2009, 8:26 am
    Post #5 - January 17th, 2009, 8:26 am Post #5 - January 17th, 2009, 8:26 am
    I am in the UP as we speak, and we just ordered about 100 pasties to split between the family members. One of the local churches makes these pasties every year and sells them as a fundraiser. They also sell something called potato sausage as well, but it's not as good as the grandmother makes it so we don't order as much. Anyway, yes, ketchup, is a condiment, but me being the big city slicker that I am, have turned some of this family to the dark side of "salsa*"
    Another one of the family's preferred condiments is homemade "chow" which is their version of the canned mustard based stuff with little cocktail onions in it. I can't stand it. Others in the family eat them with a big pat of butter melted on top. And yet another faction of the family prefers them with gravy. The restaurants up here normally serve them with ketchup or gravy.

    *Um, ok, so it's Sam's Club Jarred Medium salsa, but it's a step in the right direction. I'm confident we'll get to the point of the 2 minute house made batches of fresh salsa someday.

    While the family might not agree on what condiment to top them with, they do all agree that a pasty is just NOT a pasty unless it has rutabaga. No rye flour is used here. They have not even heard of rye flour being used in a Fin's pasty, but that is definitely not to say that it's not how they do it.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #6 - May 7th, 2009, 9:01 pm
    Post #6 - May 7th, 2009, 9:01 pm Post #6 - May 7th, 2009, 9:01 pm
    Camera dumping. Here's a pic of pasty day. We got them fresh from the oven. Had to spread them out to let them cool in open air so the crust wouldn't get soggy.

    Image
    Have a bunch in the ol freezer still. Yummy. Just yummy stuff. These are the big boys. Probably about 9 inches across from point to point.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #7 - May 8th, 2009, 8:35 am
    Post #7 - May 8th, 2009, 8:35 am Post #7 - May 8th, 2009, 8:35 am
    Mmmm...pasties. Can't wait to see the innards of one of those guys. Are you guys going strictly with the UP ground-beef version, or did you try the Cornish traditional layered raw onion/rutabaga/thinly sliced chuck? I use this, I'm amazed at how such simple ingredients come together to make something so delicious.
  • Post #8 - May 8th, 2009, 8:54 am
    Post #8 - May 8th, 2009, 8:54 am Post #8 - May 8th, 2009, 8:54 am
    These are ground beef with tons of onions, and thinly sliced rutabaga. If I'm not mistaken, thinly sliced potato too.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #9 - May 8th, 2009, 8:58 am
    Post #9 - May 8th, 2009, 8:58 am Post #9 - May 8th, 2009, 8:58 am
    Forgot the potato. Very important for texture.

    Sounds delish! Be sure to post a pic when you bite into one of those guys!
  • Post #10 - May 8th, 2009, 9:27 am
    Post #10 - May 8th, 2009, 9:27 am Post #10 - May 8th, 2009, 9:27 am
    Mhays wrote: Be sure to post a pic when you bite into one of those guys!


    Looks like one was already bitten into! 2nd row, second from right.

    I was thinking it really isn't pasty season any more, but I guess they're just as good in summer.
  • Post #11 - May 8th, 2009, 10:25 am
    Post #11 - May 8th, 2009, 10:25 am Post #11 - May 8th, 2009, 10:25 am
    Right - we freeze them and take them with us when we go fishing. On a really hot day, they are thawed by the time we want lunch and are an excellent cold snack that you can eat with dirty hands (if you hold it by the crimp - and later use the crimp for chumming the water.)
  • Post #12 - May 8th, 2009, 10:31 am
    Post #12 - May 8th, 2009, 10:31 am Post #12 - May 8th, 2009, 10:31 am
    Mhays wrote:Right - we freeze them and take them with us when we go fishing. On a really hot day, they are thawed by the time we want lunch and are an excellent cold snack that you can eat with dirty hands (if you hold it by the crimp - and later use the crimp for chumming the water.)



    Hmmm... Maybe use worms & minnows in the filling, and you've got instant bait in your pasty when it thaws.
  • Post #13 - April 20th, 2012, 9:16 pm
    Post #13 - April 20th, 2012, 9:16 pm Post #13 - April 20th, 2012, 9:16 pm
    Want a Pasty? Perhaps singular is pasty. It may be pastie. Either way, want one? You don't know what a pasty is? Get in your car. Drive north. Just follow any sign on a highway that says north. Drive till you are tired. When you are tired, get a cup of coffee, and a sandwich. Keep driving for a few more hours. Just follow the signs that say NORTH. After you pass the fifth deer standing in the middle of the highway, stop at the next gas station. Get another cup of coffee, and a stale donut or two. Drive on. When you've gotten through the last song on your last playlist, or you've played every cd and you are back to the first one, and your ass feels like a migraine attached to your lower back, you're probably an hour away. Keep driving...NORTH. Turn on the radio. If there are only four stations comin in - three with country, and the other one one playing music from a Rocky movie training montage, you've arrived. If you see a cluster of lights anywhere, slow down, you're gonna pass a pasty shop soon.

    The ones I get hail from 49866. Map it. Yeah. Up there. It's still the U.S. up there (tho possibly by border only.) These pasties are made and sold through a church. They are "Cornish" pasties - not to be confused with any other pasty origin. The lovely lady who oversees the church pasty sales is the church organist, and church choir director. From what I gather, 5 or 6 times per year, she gathers the pasty makers, and pumps out 500 to 600 or more of these things (depending on the pre-order demand) and once they are made, they sell out. ALWAYS. And yes, they do make plenty of extras for random "walk up" orders. I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to get a home viewing of the process of this particular type of "Cornish Pasty."

    My description of a pasty is this:
    Meat, taters, onions, rutabaga, in a folded over pie crust. Seasoning is minimal, but they are eaten with sauce. Pasty sauce? Ketchup. Some go with brown gravy. Others choose butter. I opt for salsa, and am usually considered a heretic when doing so. Straying from the norm is generally frowned upon as frequently observed by this city slicker. I recently asked if perhaps a touch of garlic might perk up the flavor of the pasty recipe. No. Not gonna happen. I caught a few eye rolls as well. The pasty is a veritable hand held meal in itself, and freezes exceptionally well. 40 minutes in an oven from the freezer, and you've got protein, starch, and fat ready to go in a folded over pastry shell. Think edible hot pocket, or north - midwestern calzone. I'll bet if anyone cares to do a smidgen of reasearch, the pasty will have some form of connection to the mining industry in the Upper Peninsula. I'll not be doing any research. Watching tv is much more to my liking.
    ========================
    The dough recipe:
    flour
    suet
    crisco
    handful of salt (teaspoon plus a speck)
    knead it crumbly and add water to sight/ feel
    wrap and chill in a loaf like format.
    Image
    I missed out on much of the dough prep, but I think it went to a soft crumble stage before being pressed together to make the loaf. Note: these pasties have a more crispy/crunchy crust than others sold at the pasty shops I've tried in this area. I much prefer these. I think it's the suet.

    ==============
    The filling
    Meat. Ground beef here. As I was taking pictures, a discussion broke out about other types of meat. Some noted meat blends, there was discussion of sliced steak being used. I'm pretty sure there was a mention of "Those Californians have even used CHICKEN!" Up here, you can simply walk into the grocery store, and ask for pasty meat. Don't believe me?
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    Diced onion - one to one ratio with the meat.
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    Once the meat and onion is mixed, then the ages old spice blend is formulated. The pasty lady first pokes holes into the mixture to get the seasonings deep before mixing everything together more.
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    The seasoning blend is a secret. It has been guarded closely by one family for hundreds of years. I asked for the specifics, and was told that I could not be trusted. I eventually sweet-talked my way into not being blindfolded, and sent to the other room while the seasoning blend was mixed together. I was able to actually watch the process, and the measurements. I was not allowed to write anything down for the specifics of the measurements, so I cannot be sure of the exact measurements of everything. It was a blur of containers being opened and closed, but from what I could tell, here is the list of spices along with a guestimate of proportions:

    Salt: one handfull and a few pinches
    Pepper: One half handfull and a few pinches.
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    The other ingredients for the filling are potatoes and rutabaga. The potato cut will spark controversy. Chipped, or diced. It seems that chipped is the general preference here.
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    Chipped, to me, just looks like a non-uniform dice, but I'm sure I'd get some eyerolls if I said that in their company. (I mean, come on, GARLIC with meat, potatoes, and onion? Just who the HELL do I think I am???) Rutabaga gets a fine dice. I have a few coworkers from the Upper Peninsula, and both adamantly agree. A pasty just isn't right without rutabaga.
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    ==

    The assembly starts.
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    The dough is sliced:
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    Each portion being about the size of a pillsbury grands buscuit:
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    It is rolled out in a circle(ish) pattern to about 1/8 in:
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    The filling is layered - meat/onion, potato, and a light sprinkling of rutabaga, and then again, same order on top of the first layer. Meat/onion/potato rutabaga. The rutabaga sprinklings are light. The second layer of everything is much lighter than the first.
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    The dough is then folded over to create a crescent shape.
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    If the dough splits - no worries. Extra dough will be used to cover any major holes.

    Now, the crimp. No, they don't dance in spastic motions, this is dough crimping (which would still be an awesome name for a dance.)

    Pinch and turn from right to left with the crimped edge away from you. Pinch with left hand turn with right. Pinch and fold, pinch and fold, pinch and fold.
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    Seriously, this lady cut, rolled out, and crimped these by hand in like 1 minute each:
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    By contrast, here's my ONE, which took me about ten minutes:
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    Oven at 400 for about an hour, and...
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    Their preferred method of cooling is to split open paper grocery bags, and rest them upside-down on the split bags uncovered so the pastry stays crispy.
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    These little crunchy browned sections are my favorite crust bits:
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    And, of course, after all that work of watching them be prepared, I had to do my duty of quality control:
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    When in rome...
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    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #14 - April 20th, 2012, 10:26 pm
    Post #14 - April 20th, 2012, 10:26 pm Post #14 - April 20th, 2012, 10:26 pm
    Seebee - great post! Thank you for the pictorial.
  • Post #15 - April 21st, 2014, 7:06 am
    Post #15 - April 21st, 2014, 7:06 am Post #15 - April 21st, 2014, 7:06 am
    Well, seebee had another b-day. The in-laws from Da U.P. hooked me up with a waaay stylin' shirt:

    Image
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #16 - April 21st, 2014, 8:34 am
    Post #16 - April 21st, 2014, 8:34 am Post #16 - April 21st, 2014, 8:34 am
    Hi,

    I missed this the first time around, I love how you documented the process.

    You mentioned the zip code, though not the name of the church. I'm sure you have your reasons, though it is something I'd like to support if I happen to ever go that far north.

    Thank you!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast

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