Celebrating One Year of Pretty Awesome Pasties with “The Pasty That Started it All”

Celebrating One Year of Pretty Awesome Pasties with “The Pasty That Started it All”
Photo by Julie Rogier
Photo by Julie Rogier

It’s been a delectably delightful year since the launch of Pretty Awesome Pasties, a regular series here on The Awesome Mitten.

Written by your intrepid pasty purveyors Beth Baerman and Julie Rogier, each post in the series has sampled Michigan’s gastronomical treasure: hand-made by pasty makers from Southeast Michigan to the far reaches of the Upper Peninsula.

As regular readers know, our reviews of Michigan-made pasties use the proprietary Key Pasty Indicators (KPIs) rating system developed just for The Awesome Mitten.

After a full year of taste testing, we feel strongly that Michigan’s iconic and delectable “pot pie without the pot“ is worthy of consideration as an identifying cultural mark that gives Michigan, especially the Upper Peninsula, its own identity.

 What We’ve Learned

  • The unique KPI standards work well as pasty measurement criteria.  And as you know, the KPI system goes from one to 11 just to keep things interesting!
  • Many of the pasties we reviewed this year were indeed robust enough to drop unharmed down a mineshaft, a nod to the pasties origins as a hearty meal for miners in the U.P.
  • Awesome Mitten readers feel strongly that gravy is the tastiest topping, as noted on our Great Gravy Debate survey from a previous post.
  • Awesome Mitten readers have many suggestions about which pasties to review, given the great comments shared in a previous post, many of which we’ve taken.
Photo by Julie Rogier
Photo by Julie Rogier

The Pasty That Started it All

In honor of this noteworthy anniversary, today’s post reviews the “the pasty that started it all” – homemade pasties from Baba Ruski’s restaurant in Spruce, Michigan.

Baba Ruski’s is a small Polish diner on Northern Michigan’s Sunrise Side.  And here’s a piece of pasty trivia: the idea of the KPI scoring system was originally discussed while sampling a beef pasty take out dinner from this very same establishment.

Rating Baba Ruski’s Pasties: The Key Pasty Indicators

Baba Ruski pasties are smaller than average, so we were more than happy to sample two beef pasties.

Crust to Filling Ratio – 8.0.  The pasties offered an adequate balance between the outer pastry crust and the beef filling.

Filling Consistency/Flavor – 8.0.  The beef pasty filling was made up of recognizable rutabaga, carrots and onions, and quite flavorful.

Price Consideration – 7.5.   At $4.50 a piece, two of the smaller sized pasties are a satisfying dinner at a reasonable price.

Flake-0-Meter – 8.5.  The crust was above average in taste and flakiness.

Overall Savory Index – 8

Image courtesy of Collin Barlage
Image courtesy of Collin Barlage

Overall, Baba Ruski pasties garner an aggregated score of 8.  From Cornish Pasties to cabbage rolls, be sure to try many of their traditional Polish delicacies when you visit.

Julie Rogier and Beth Baerman, Contributing Writers