Meat Pasties are

a cultural phenomenon

in Michigan.

A wintertime favorite, my grandmother would use any root vegetables handy in the cellar. In the late spring, she’d use fresh rutabaga, turnips, baby carrots, early peas and beans. The family pasties contained more vegetables than meat, and could feed more people for less. My grandmother would bake dozens at a time, freezing any we wouldn’t eat within a day or two.

The recipe below is for small pasties: folded over bits of dough, filled with a savory combination of meat and root vegetables. Smaller pasties are great for today’s busy family. They can be eaten on the run, cold or hot, and are a great fit for even the smallest hands. My sister Allie loved them as a baby.

But pasties can be big, too. My grandmother would make large, circular pasties, crimping the edges of two pieces of dough to form a sustaining pillow of meat and vegetables. She’d often freeze one or two large pasties, ready to pull out and pass on to any neighbor or friend in need of a meal. Many a new mother received meat pasties from our freezer.

The traditional dough for pasties is simple. If you want to try pasties the way my grandmother made them, use the lard and suet recipe provided in the Crusts section. These days I mix-and-match fillings and pastries, even using a sweet dough for savory fillings when the mood strikes.

Allie’s Meat Pasty

Smaller pasties are great for today’s busy family. They can be eaten on the run, cold or hot, and are a great fit for even the smallest hands.


  • pounds coarsely ground Pork steak
  • 3 pounds coarsely ground chuck steak
  • 16 potatoes, chopped
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 rutabaga or 1 cup turnips, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
  • small amount of flour (for working dough)
  • dough (5x any of the piecrust recipes provided)


Prepare the Filling

To grind the meat, cut the pork and chuck steak into one-inch cubes and chill. Process small batches (no more than ½ pound) of the meat cubes in the processor with a metal blade. Pulse in short 1-second bursts until the meat is coarsely ground, usually 10 to 15 pulses.

Chop potatoes, carrots, onions and rutabaga into small, bite-sized pieces. Combine with ground meats in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper. Mix well. Let sit.

Make the Crust

Prepare a 5x batch of the pastry/dough recipe of your choice. Divide the dough into 20 equal portions. If working with pastry, keep portions in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.

Mix the egg white and water in a small bowl.

Roll The Dough and Bake

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Roll each bit of dough through a bit of flour, and roll out into a circle, about 5-6” in diameter. Fill one-half of each circle of dough with the filling, and dot with a bit of butter.

Spread a small amount of the egg white and water along the edge of the dough with your finger, then fold the dough over and pinch closed. The pasty will look like a half moon.

Poke the top of the dough with a fork, and place pasties on a lined baking sheet. Brush with the rest of the egg white and water mixture to help them brown.

Bake for 1 hour. Eat warm or cold, or freeze for later!