I made Michigan pasties back in 2011 and I’ve wanted to revisit the recipe for the blog and take prettier pictures. If you aren’t familiar, pasties date back to 13th century England and came to northern Michigan around 1864 when Cornish and Finnish miners migrated in large numbers for work in the copper mines. It was an easy lunch for miners that heated them on their shovels over a flame. Their dirty hands could hold the pasty by the crimped crust, eat the filling and toss the edge of the crust if they wanted to. I don’t recommend tossing this crust, though.
And just so we’re on the same page here, pasty is pronounced with a midwestern-accented short A vowel sound, not a long A vowel sound that will then confuse these delicious meat and root vegetable hand pies with the sticky decorative things that Lil’ Kim wears on her boob.
If you visit Northern Michigan, you will see pasty shops and tourists flocking to those shops. These comforting hand pies are perfect for cold Michigan nights.
People that live in Michigan’s upper peninsula are called “Yoopers” a nickname derived from the abbreviation “UP” for upper peninsula. Two sisters that were my best friends growing up were born in Marquette, Michigan and their Dad was first the Yooper I’d ever met. He makes pasties, too. A few years back I made another friend, Shannon, that was born and raised in the UP and she’s the proud yooper that taught me how she and her Mom make pasties.
My spin on this classic is an all-butter crust and filling seasoned simply with salt and pepper. The pasties bake to a golden brown as the delicious juices bubble out of the vents. I make a double batch and freeze them for easy meals on the coldest winter nights.
All of the Yoopers I know eat their pasties with ketchup or as some call it, “yooper gravy,” but some eat their pasties with gravy. You certainly don’t have to be from Michigan to enjoy these savory hand pies. Tear that pasty in half to let the middle cool down and watch as the buttery crust shatters all over your plate. There’s a reason that pasty tradition has stuck around so long.