kpi9 In the Kitchen with Pretty Awesome Pasties

In the Kitchen with Pretty Awesome Pasties

A recent Pretty Awesome Pasty blog post asked Awesome Mitten readers to suggest family pasty recipes to include in this blog series.

We’re still waiting for your suggestions. In the meantime,  intrepid pasty purveyors Beth and Julie headed into the kitchen and tested out a traditional pasty recipe culled from the family vault.

The recipe shared in the previous post goes back four generations and comes from Beth’s husband’s great grandmother who lived in L’Anse at the end of the Keweenaw Bay in the Upper Peninsula.

So on a brisk winter afternoon, our fellow pasty-loving friends gathered in the kitchen to chop, roll, taste, and rank these homemade pasties.

Our consistently sized, precision-cut filling.
Our consistently sized, precision-cut filling.
Photo by Julie Rogier

Improvising with Rutabagas and Lard

We’re big believers in improvising when it comes to pasty recipes. So in that spirit, we added rutabagas to the traditional meat, potato, carrot, and onion filling.

We also conjured up the wisdom of Grandma Liz from Ironwood, via her useful YouTube video sharing techniques to assemble the crust and pasty.

As a further improvisation, we cooked up two versions of the crust: one with shortening, the other with good old fashion lard.


Rating Our Own: The Key Pasty Indicators

As regular readers know, this series of blog posts reviews Michigan-made pasties using a proprietary rating system developed just for the Awesome Mitten.

The following 5 Key Pasty Indicators (KPIs) are unique standards carefully developed as pasty measurement criteria.

The KPI system goes from 1 to 11 just to keep things interesting.

We tried to be as impartial as we could, with all eight of us offering the following aggregated scores:

In the pasty kitchen with Beth.
In the pasty kitchen with Beth.
Photo by Julie Rogier

Key Pasty Indicators (KPIs)

Crust to Filling Ratio – 9   Each one of the pasty bakers brought their own “skill set” (or lack of, in Julie’s case!) to the rolling and assembling, so some of the pasties were crust-heavy and misshapen, but the majority offered a good balance between the outer pastry crust and the savory filling.

Filling Consistency/Flavor – 10   Our team chopped the ingredients ourselves, and with several engineers in the crowd, the end-result was consistently sized, precision-cut and recognizable chunks of beef, potato, rutabagas and onion with excellent texture, ingredients, spice and overall flavor.

Price Consideration – 7   Here’s where the home-made pasties lost their allure – it wasn’t the cost of the ingredients that was an issue, it was the time and effort of chopping, rolling, baking, clean up that took it out of the team!

Flake-0-Meter – 9.5   The lard crust was tasty; and the shortening crust turned out quite flaky. It was a valiant experiment proving either lard or shortening make good crust!

Overall Savory Index – 9.5


Graphic: Collin Barlage
Graphic: Collin Barlage

Total KPI:  9.0

In all, it takes a lot of work to make pasties, but the effort is well worth it. The aggregated KPI score of 9.0 proves that point.

While not as high as the record-KPI Lehto’s pasties, this is a respectable score for homemade pasties.
We hope you give this recipe a try. Please share your family recipes below. Next up, we return to your suggestions for the next round of Key Pasty Indicator scoring.


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