Pretty Awesome Pasties: Pasty Central

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Photo courtesy of Julie Rogier

It’s great to see that Awesome Mitten readers have enjoyed the Pretty Awesome Pasty series. Catch the overall introduction to the series, and the most recent post about Weldon’s Pasties.

The Epicenter of Pasties

Michiganders can thank immigrant miners from Cornwall, England for bringing the pasty to the Upper Peninsula. Pasties are filling and delicious portable meals brought into the region’s copper mines. A good pasty was thought to be strong enough to drop unharmed down a mine shaft.

There’s a great debate about what to serve them with – ketchup, gravy or naked – but more about that later!

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Photo courtesy of Julie Rogier

Pasty Central

To see what the U.P. has to offer, today’s post reviews pasties from Pasty Central, a pasty kitchen in Kearsarge, Michigan, just north of Calumet.

Pasty Central makes their inventory available for purchase online and in-person at a number of U.P. retail outlets. They operate a comprehensive website, which even includes a Pasty Cam.

Pasty Central pasties are made with 75 percent beef, 25 percent pork, potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, onions, spices, and a vegetable shortening pastry crust.

Pasties are shipped frozen, and arrive beautifully packaged in foil and Styrofoam (see photo).

Pasty Taste Testers to the Rescue

To order pasties on Pasty Central, a minimum purchase of 12 pasties is required. That’s a lot of pasties! Thus, we decided to call in a taste test crew to help rank traditional meat pasties and Cornish pasties using the proprietary KPI (Key Pasty Index) scoring.

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Graphic designed by Collin Barlage

Pasty Central KPIs

Note: these scores reflect an average ranking performed by eight taste testers of both Cornish (no carrots in the filling) and traditional meat pasties.

Crust to Filling Ratio Score = 7.5, Our Pasty Tasters found an adequate balance between pastry and filling.

Filling Consistency/Flavor Score = 8.25, In both the traditional and Cornish pasties, our team of tasters generally recognized carrots (in the traditional pasties), rutabaga and onions, along with beef. Remember, a real pasty uses rutabagas!

Price Consideration Score = 8, At about $8 a pasty, including shipping, we thought the price was fair.

Flake-0-Meter Score = 6.5, Crust flakiness was adequate.

Overall Savory Index = 7.5

Overall KPI:

Based on the criteria above from eight test tasters, Pasty Central achieved an overall KPI of 7.5.

Next Time: Ketchup Vs. Gravy

Since the launch of the Pretty Awesome Pasty series, we’ve heard lots of grumblings about the best topping for a pasty.

Some declare beef gravy as the only respectable thing to sit atop a pasty. Others insist ketchup, or even hot sauce (as long as it isn’t too hot, as one of our taste testers painfully learned) are the best toppings. Other folks will only consider a pasty if it is naked.

What do you prefer?

Take this quick poll to vote for your preferred topping. We’ll share the results from “The Great Gravy Debate” soon.


Beth Baerman and Julie Rogier, Contributing Writers