How to Make Beef Pasties (Upper Michigan Peninsula Recipe)

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Start to Finish: 2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 4

Difficulty: Moderate

Pasties in the style of the Upper Michigan Peninsula are a piece of history in a pie, evinced in a filling of ground chuck, onions, potatoes and rutabaga. Pasties have cultural significance for the region and as a heritage dish for American cuisine as well. It's not uncommon for heritage dishes to have several variations, which occurs naturally when recipes pass from generation to generation. This recipe comes from Lawry's Pasty Shop in Marquette, Michigan, courtesy of



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water
  • Pinch of salt

Beef Filling

  • 3/4 pound ground chuck
  • 3 cups potatoes, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup rutabaga, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 or 2 grinds black peppercorns
  • 1 egg


Making the Crust

Mix the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the chilled shortening into the flour using a pastry blender or fork.

Sprinkle the water a couple tablespoons at a time over the flour while mixing it in with a fork. Stir the mixture until the dough forms a cohesive mass.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and liberally dust them with flour.

Wrap the dough balls in plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.


  • Test the dough while adding the water to achieve the proper consistency. Form a 1/2-inch ball of dough after you add a couple tablespoons of water. If the dough holds firm, it's adequately moistened; if it crumbles, add more water, a tablespoon at a time, until it holds together.

Filling and Baking the Pasties

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fold the ground beef, potatoes, onions, rutabaga, parsley, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl using a rubber spatula. Gently work the ingredients together, but don't mash them.

Roll the dough balls into 8-inch wide rounds using a floured rolling pin. The rounds should measure about 1/4-inch thick.

Divide the filling into four equal portions. Spoon one portion on half of each round, leaving about 1/4-inch of space around the edge. Mix the egg with 1 tablespoon of water.

Moisten the edge of the rounds lightly with the egg wash. Fold the rounds over and crimp the edges together using the tines of a fork to seal.

Slice three evenly spaced 1/3-inch slits in the top of each pasty. Brush the tops of the pasties with a thin layer of egg wash and place them on a rimmed baking sheet. Place the pasties in the oven on the middle rack.

Bake the pasties until they reach 165 degrees F in the center, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Take the pasties out of the oven and set them aside for a minute or two before serving.


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