Monday Menu ~ U.P. Pasties

Many years ago in what seems like another time and place I would spend weekends in northern Michigan with my parents (yes, parents. Meaning they were still married) at my moms parents house. My grandparents were amazing people and I loved spending time with them and listening to the stories that they told of times gone by. Stories of when my mom and her siblings were growing up in Detroit, how my grandparents came to this country from Italy and lived in the U.P.


Over the years my grandma would make pasties for us but to make things easier she would use a 13×9 cake pan and make one huge pasty. It was so delicious and I loved watching her and my mom putting it together and the smell of it as it baked.

U.P. Pasty

So what is a pasty? It’s a meat & veggie pie that originated in Cornwall, the westernmost county in England. The pies were made for the mine workers who could take them in their lunches and eat them easily with one hand without silverware. The pasties have even been made with a custard filling on one half and the meat and veggies on the other side so they had dinner and dessert all in one easy to handle package.

pasty prep

Even to this day when we all meet together at my aunts house there is pasty made just the way my grandmother used to make it for us all of those years ago. It’s amazing how something like a meal can hold so many memories in it’s simple prep, delicious aroma as it bakes, and flavors.

pasty prep 2

Every once in a while I find myself wanting pasty and often will buy them from the grocery store. They’re pretty good but they’re not the same as what my grandma made so this time I decided to make it from scratch. Just like she did.

U.P. Pasties


    Pasty Crust
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c Crisco
  • 1/4 butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ice water
  • Pasty Filling
  • 1 - 2 lbs ground beef - I used ground chuck (80/20)
  • 2 - 3 potatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 rutabaga
  • 1 onion
  • 1 - 2 tsp garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • couple of tablespoons of butter


    For the crust:
  1. Cut the Crisco and butter in the flour and salt until it resembles sand with a pastry cutter, a fork, or a food processor. I went the more traditional route and used the pastry cutter just like my grandma used to.
  2. Add in the water a tablespoon at a time until it forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes or so.
  3. For the filling:
  4. Peel and chop all of the veggies into small bite sized pieces and mix them together in a bowl.
  5. Put it together:
  6. Cut the dough into two equal pieces and roll one of them out to fit the botton and up the sides of a 13x9 pan. Carefully roll the dough up onto the rolling pin and then roll it out into the pan and press into place.
  7. Layer the veggies and ground beef until the pan is full. You'll have to crumble the ground beef with your fingers to get it into small bite sized pieces.
  8. Roll the other piece of dough to cover the top, roll over the rolling pin as before, and unroll on top. Pinch the two crusts together and it's ready for the oven.
  9. Bake:
  10. Place the pan on a cookie sheet and place it in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about an hour.
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I was impressed because I truly did not expect my pasty to turn out as well as my grandma’s but it did. Everything about it took me back to another time and place. A place where my grandma was in the kitchen baking, my grandpa was in his recliner watching the Tigers game, and my brother, sister, and I were running in and out playing games only kids can imagine.

Do you have a special memory that centered around food?

23 Responses to Monday Menu ~ U.P. Pasties
  1. Kimberly
    February 11, 2013 | 8:22 am

    There are a few meals and desserts that I make that just transport me back to another time and place. The memories that it digs up are sometimes better than the actual food that I’m preparing!

    • Jackie
      February 11, 2013 | 4:28 pm

      Food and pictures… both are great for reminding me of some of the best times in my life.

  2. Tesa @ 2 Wired 2 Tired
    February 11, 2013 | 10:21 am

    That sounds so delicious! I’d love to try it sometime, it looks like something my family would enjoy.

    I love the background and history you gave of the pasties. I had never heard of them before but find it fascinating that they were made as both a dinner and dessert in one for the miners.

    • Jackie
      February 11, 2013 | 4:27 pm

      They’re easy to make and if you make them into individual pasties instead of just one big one you can make a lot and freeze them for later.

  3. Emmy
    February 11, 2013 | 11:35 am

    I have never heard of those. What a fun tradition for your family that has even a long tradition.

    • Jackie
      February 11, 2013 | 4:26 pm

      I think that it must be a Michigan thing! A lot of people don’t know what they are.

  4. Andrea
    February 11, 2013 | 12:41 pm

    Yum! That does sound delicious. I have never heard of this recipe before, but would love to try it. Thanks for sharing both the recipe and your family memories. That always make a recipe better!

    • Jackie
      February 11, 2013 | 4:26 pm

      You’re absolutely right… they do make the recipe better.

  5. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    February 11, 2013 | 2:18 pm

    I love that you have her special recipe! I’d forgotten the U.P. connection to those! Looks absolutely delicious!

    • Jackie
      February 11, 2013 | 4:26 pm

      They’re so good! I love them but just don’t make them very often for some reason.

  6. angie
    February 11, 2013 | 4:32 pm

    I LOVE this. THank you for sharing this recipe, and memory!

    • Jackie
      February 12, 2013 | 12:27 pm

      Thank you for stopping by!

  7. Hanan
    February 11, 2013 | 7:55 pm

    My husband’s family makes Pasties too, but without the carrots, and they make them in smaller pockets. I never heard of them until we started dating!

    • Jackie
      February 12, 2013 | 12:26 pm

      Traditionally they’re made into smaller, pocket like (half moon shaped really) servings. But that’s a lot of work! Either way I love them.

  8. Kimberly
    February 11, 2013 | 8:31 pm

    My grandmother’s recipes are dear to me…I have a cookbook of them that was put together by an uncle of mine a couple of years before Grandma died. It’s a treasured resource!

    • Jackie
      February 12, 2013 | 12:24 pm

      That would be an incredible book to have! I wish that I had more of my grandma’s recipes to make.

  9. Cori
    February 12, 2013 | 1:46 am

    Yum that looks delicious! And your food photography is awesome!

    • Jackie
      February 12, 2013 | 12:23 pm

      What?!?! My pictures are one of the things that I feel I really need to work on. Especially the lighting.

  10. FiddleDeeAshley
    February 12, 2013 | 10:05 am

    That looks delicious! Definitely pinning this one!

    • Jackie
      February 12, 2013 | 12:23 pm

      Thank you!

  11. Aleta
    February 12, 2013 | 10:45 am

    I loved reading the history of the recipe, the reason for it and the family memories. That’s the treasure behind the taste :)

    When I was in the hospital just recently, one item on the supper tray was apple pie. I gave it to my husband to eat. I sound unAmerican, but I don’t eat apple pie. Unless…

    The apple pie is HOT and fresh from the oven and it MUST MUST MUST have vanilla ice cream on top. (And I don’t like vanilla ice cream, but the combination of these two things sweeps me back to when my Dad would make this for us as kids.) Makes me happy.. in fact, now I might ask my husband to get these two things….. cravings :)

    • Jackie
      February 12, 2013 | 12:22 pm

      I love apple pie! And you know what… it does sound amazing right now. But plain… I don’t like mine with anything on it at all.

  12. Kristen
    February 12, 2013 | 1:08 pm

    My mom makes a chicken divan recipe that her grandmother used to make and it always reminds me of Sunday dinners when I was little. We don’t have it too often now though because we all are trying to eat a little healthier and the healthier version of it doesn’t taste right to all of us.
    I love that food can bring back memories like ours!

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