The family tradition of making fresh pasties spans generations. At 930 Hornet they became a Saturday ritual. Enjoy and remember.
2 lb. stew meat, cut in bite-size chunks
4 large potatoes, cut into 1/4" thick slices
2 large onions, diced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper
prepared pastry for four 8" crusts
(makes four pasties)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Roll out pastry into four 8" rounds on a floured surface.
In a large bowl, combine meat, potatoes, onions, chopped parsley,
onion, salt and pepper. Mix ingredients well.
Place about a quarter of the mixed ingredients on a rolled crust at about one inch from one side of the pastry.
Place 1or 2 tablespoons of butter --- sectioned into small dallops --- on top of the pile of filling evenly.
Bring the remaining portion of the pastry round over the top of the filling to form a large turnover.
Be careful no sharp edges of potato or onion puncture the folded side of the pastry dough.
The folded-over pastry should meet the bottom part of the pastry just
within the outside edge.
Crimp the lower pastry up around edge of the top to form the turnover making a tight envelope for the filling.
Make three or four small slits in the top of the pasty to allow the steam
to escape during cooking.
Carefully transfer the pasties to a very lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake at 425 degrees for ten minutes. Then turn oven down to 325 degrees and bake 50 minutes to an hour longer.
Remove pasties from baking sheet onto the plate with a long spatula.
PASTY is pronounced "pass-tee".
The condensed recipe: "Use a big handful of sliced (not diced) potatoes,
add salt and pepper; then add another somewhat smaller handful of meat. Add more salt
and pepper, and a handful of chopped onions. More salt and pepper. Top with several big globs of butter. Seal in a pastry crust and bake at 425 degrees for ten minutes, then
at 325 for about an hour."
Make the pastry with lard and lots of salt. Don't try to make a
flaky pie crust; the pasties that I love had a tough crust and they
held together when you held them in your hand.
In the old days, the meat was loin tips, but you do not see them in
supermarkets now. You can use round steak, flank steak, or chuck steak.
The expensive, tender cuts don't add any extra flavor and they lose their
integrity in the cooking.
In the old depression days, the potatoes were the most plentiful ingredient
but when times got better, we had pasties made with about equal amounts of
meat and spuds. Maybe about a half pound of each to a pasty.
Known variations: add shredded carrots, rutabagas or turnips for flavor.
Before baking you can dab milk around the crimped edges of the pie crust
dough if you like a browner crust; or brushing the top of the crust with
egg yolk gives it a nice golden glow.
AT THE TABLE
Uncle Howard used to dip his crust into his hot tea to soften it. Everyone seems to have their favorite way of "doing a pasty".
Ketchup? Yes....although this was never my thing. I used to drench my hot pasty with
butter. Some like to smother them with gravy, but that's a sacrilege! Grandma Bysho
would never approve such desecration. My favorite is still the second-day "fried pasties".
Using Chow Chow is pretty rare around here now; you can't find it except in
specialty stores.... and at $4 for a tiny jar, my conscience won't let me enjoy it.
Some folks prefer to cut the pasty in half and mix the crust into the filling;
others prefer to run a knife parallel to the plate and flip over the top half.
You can also cut the pasty into halves and eat it like a sandwich.
The pasty originated in Cornwall where it was prepared by Cornish housewives
and favored in the miner's lunch bucket. The pastry-wrapped meal was wrapped
into an airtight waterproof oilcloth package and placed in a small steel churn which was
then filled with hot tea. Down in the mines, the churns were placed next to the fires at the vent shafts which forced the air upwards to circulate fresh air around the mine. These fires kept the churn and all its contents hot for mealtime. The pasty would have an X on one side to mark where to start eating it --- the latter end had a little partition inside which was filled with apples, or peaches, cinnamon and sugar to add dessert to the meal. A thin but larger slice of potato was used to separate the ingredients of the pasty.
The Cornish have some sayings about pasties:"The devil is afraid to come to Cornwall, for fear of being baked into a pasty." *** "Only a true Cornish woman can make a proper pasty."
Pasties arrived in Butte, Montana, along with the first Cornish housewives who followed their husbands to the mining camps direct from Cornwall. As the miners would unwrap their lunch, they would refer to their pasties fondly as "letters from 'ome". The popularity of pasties spread quickly in Butte, and to a few other areas which drew the Cornish to mining encampments in America.
Today, you may be able to find prepared pasties in a local bakery, or frozen food counter, or a deli. The popularity of them has grown over the years. But like a good bit of gossip, the further it gets from its source the less true it will be. The recipe here is a true "letter from 'ome". Enjoy!