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I remember sitting in my grandma’s kitchen, watching her make homemade beef pasties!
Also known as the pasty, these great meat pies actually have a pretty long history. My great grandparents emigrated to the US from Finland in the early 1900s. They settled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where copper and iron ore mining were flourishing. Many of my ancestors worked in the mines alongside British miners who had left the UK after many of the tin mines closed there. The British miners hoped that by coming to the US, they would be able to find adequate work.
They brought with them recipes for hearty, hand-held meat pies that were great to bring for lunch because they were not only filling, but portable, and could be eaten either hot or cold. They became a standard lunch for the miners.
No one actually knows the origin of the pastie, but historians believe that they may have originated with the Vikings. Some interesting facts about pasties is that they have been mentioned in the original Robin Hood ballads of the 1300s. Even Shakespeare mentioned them in “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.
No matter where it got its start, pasties are downright delicious! I actually made the crusts for my recipe from sprouted spelt flour. The recipe had been modernized by the time it had gotten to my grandmother and lard was replaced by shortening. But I went old school and used leaf lard, which made my crusts nice and flaky.
The original also called for 1 1/2 lb. ground beef and 1/2 lb. sausage. I did one pound of each and it tasted fantastic! They are a little time intensive, but so worth it!