#MiAwesomeMitten

Introducing Pretty Awesome Pasties

Welcome to the first installment of a semi-regular series that shines the spotlight on one of Michigan’s most delightful gastronomical treasures: the pasty. The pasty is Michigan’s iconic and delectable “pot pie without the pot“, considered “an identifying cultural mark that gives Michigan, especially the Upper Peninsula, its own identity.”

Here is where the Awesome Mitten community can share Michigan’s favorite pasty recipes and vendors, as we review some of those Pretty Awesome Pasties sold throughout our fair State.

Photo courtesy of Julie Rogier

Pasty Factoids

  • Made famous in the UP, pasties originate from the Cornwall region of England.
  • In the mid to late 1800s, Finnish and British immigrants adopted the pasty for use in UP copper mines.
  • More facts about Cornish (UK) pasties are here, including this nugget: a good pasty was thought to be strong enough to drop unharmed down a mine shaft.

Rating Michigan’s Pasties: Introducing the Key Pasty Indicators

A main feature of these blog posts will be reviews of Michigan-made pasties using a proprietary rating system developed just for the Awesome Mitten blog.

 

Graphic courtesy of Collin Barlage

The following five Key Pasty Indicators (KPIs) are unique standards carefully developed as pasty measurement criteria. We’ll be regularly rating pasties made by some of Michigan’s vendors using this KPI system (which goes from one to 11 just to keep things interesting!).

Key Pasty Indicators (KPIs)

  1. Crust to Filling Ratio – is there a good balance between the outer pastry crust and the savory filling?
  2. Filling Consistency/Flavor – is the filling mostly recognizable chunks; also how are the texture, ingredients, spice and overall flavor?
  3. Price Consideration
  4. Flake-O-Meter – how flaky is the crust?
  5. Overall Savory Index

Rating Uncle Peter’s Pasties

To get us started, our first review is of a beef pasty from Uncle Peter’s Pasties in Orion, Michigan. The beef pasty reviewed was made up of potato, flour, beef, lard, butter, onions, carrots, rutabaga, salt and pepper.

About Uncle Peter’s Pasties

Photo courtesy of Julie Rogier

Uncle Peter’s Pasties makes approximately 2,000 pasties per week. We found out, via this Oakland Press article, that Uncle Peter’s pasties are made with hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, as well as Amish-grown chicken and turkey. Their pasties are prepared with preservative-free vegetables, and no hydrogenated shortening or preservatives are used in the pastry dough.

Generously sized at 12 ounces, they offer beef, chicken, turkey, broccoli and cheese, spinach and feta cheese, buffalo, and venison pasties.

Uncle Peter’s KPIs:

  • Crust to Filling Ratio = 9 … Excellent balance between pastry and filling.
  • Filling Consistency/Flavor = 10 … We easily recognized carrots, rutabaga and onions, along with delicious beef, spice and overall flavor. We are always happy to see rutabagas in the filling. Kudos, Uncle Peter’s!
  • Price Consideration = 6 … At $7 a pasty, this seems like a pretty steep price point.
  • Flake-O-Meter = 8 … Crust flakiness was adequate.
  • Overall Savory Index = 9 … Overall, this was one delicious pasty!

Overall KPI:

Based on the criteria above, we give Uncle Peter’s Pasties an overall KPI of 8.6, which rounds up to 9 – well done, Uncle Peter!

Stay Tuned

Our next post will offer up another review and more highlights about pasties. In the meantime, please share your ideas for pasty vendors to review, recipes or any Pretty Awesome Pasty-related fact!

Beth Baerman & Julie Rogier, Contributing Writers

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10 Comments

  1. Everything you’ve always wanted to know about pasties! Help me with one more thing: I never can remember how to pronounce “pasty.” I’m pretty sure it’s not to rhyme with “tasty,” even though that’s what a pasty is! I think it’s pronounced with a short “A,” as in “pahstee.” Is that correct?

  2. …considering the meat is antibiotic and growth hormone free ( what I always buy ) they pay more for it, so the price is worth it in my mind. Now to figure out where I can find it in the Milford area !!

  3. Thanks for the fabulous pasty facts! A trip to the UP wouldn’t be complete without a pasty. I’ll be on the lookout for Peter’s Pasties in Ann Arbor.

  4. If ever in the UP of Michigan. Check out pasties at Manny’ s in Ironwood, Michigan. Or Muldoon’ s in Munising,Michigan.

  5. Having parents from Finland and growing up with homemade pasties, I feel very qualified to comment on Uncle Peter’s Paties. They are the best pasties you will find in lower Michigan. They are not cheap to make if you use all the fresh vegetables and meat that they use. When I think about the quality and great taste that these pasties have, I feel that the price is well worth it. I also look at what you have to pay for a fast food “junk” burger and fries. You are getting a complete, tasty, healthy meal when you buy an Uncle Pete’s Pasty. I am so glad that you can buy them at the Hollywood Market on Lapeer road in Lake Orion. They are also a great meal to cook at home on those days you do not have time to cook. I give them a 10!

  6. Marquee Marque Pasties are the best hands down. Best pasties this side of the pond, never mind the bridge!
    Clinton Twp. location and a new location will be coming soon!

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