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Upper Peninsula Pasties

I grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where many people are of English ancestry. Pasties—traditional meat pies often eaten by hand—are popular there. —Carole Lynn Derifield, Valdez, Alaska
  • Total Time
    Prep: 35 min. + chilling Bake: 1 hour
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 2 cups shortening
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 medium red potatoes (about 3 pounds), peeled
  • 2 small rutabagas (about 1-1/2 pounds), peeled
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 medium onions, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Half-and-half cream or a lightly beaten large egg, optional


  • In a large bowl, stir shortening and water until shortening is melted. Gradually stir in flour and salt until a very soft dough is formed; cover and refrigerate for 1-1/2 hours.
  • Cut potatoes and rutabagas into 1/8- or 1/4-inch cubes; do not make cubes too large or they will not cook properly. Gently combine ground beef and pork; break into small crumbles. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, rutabagas, onions, meat mixture and seasonings.
  • Divide dough into 12 equal portions. On a floured surface, roll out 1 portion at a time into a 8-in. circle. Mound 1-1/2 to 2 cups filling on half of each circle; dot with 1 teaspoon butter. Moisten edges with water; carefully fold dough over filling and press edges with a fork to seal.
  • Place on ungreased baking sheets. Cut several slits in top of pasties. If desired, brush with cream or beaten egg. Bake at 350° until golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool on wire racks. Serve hot or cold. Store in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
1 pasty: 757 calories, 44g fat (13g saturated fat), 46mg cholesterol, 1060mg sodium, 69g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 5g fiber), 19g protein.
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  • Lindsay
    Nov 3, 2020

    I'd like to start by saying that I grew up in Michigan, and I liked these a lot. There are far too many pasty snobs in the comments. Everyone likes their the way they grew up eating them- just alter the recipe if you need to. Or not, this one works great. Lots of chopping, but comes together easy enough. I ended up with 6 nicely sized pasties and enough extra filling for 2 more, which I put in the freezer. The meat sticks to itself rather than mixing with the veggies, so it was tricky to get a good meat:veggie ratio throughout, but this is probably a rookie mistake. The dough worked out great. It was flaky and tasty, yet sturdy enough to be picked up and eaten by hand (the best way!). I wish I could post a picture. My alterations included: - Subbing ground pork for more beef (grocery store was out of ground pork) - Adding a carrot - No garlic - Forgot the pats of butter inside - No cream or egg on top These turned out just the way I like them. Even comparable to Muldoon's, though I need to work on the presentation! Ignore the naysayers and give these a try.

  • Liz
    Oct 19, 2020

    Delicious! This was my first time making pasties, and they turned out great. I loved the ease of working with this dough and the way it baked to perfection (I brushed with half and half to achieve the golden crust). I added some carrots from my garden, and just a tad more meat to maintain the ratio. As a native Yooper with some Finish heritage, I say Thanks, eh!

  • James
    Sep 5, 2020

    This recipe for the dough is average at best. The dough and filling could have better ingredients. Finnish pasties are best. They contain meat, potatoes, rutabaga, onions, and carrots.

  • Elnora
    Jul 5, 2020

    I'm apparently the odd man out. I thought the crust for these was awful. Was it flaky? Yes but it tasted terrible. I felt like I was just eating some filling covered in a bucket of Crisco. My filling was yummy though. I added parsnips, carrots and roasted garlic, and omitted the garlic powder. Most disappointing!

  • Tasha
    May 9, 2020

    This is the best recipe. The only thing I do differently is I add carrots and I make a double batch or dough .. there doesn’t seem too be enough for all the filling.. and we like our crust.

  • Debbie
    Apr 27, 2020

    I learned how to make pasties from my husband's great aunt 25 years ago. She grew up in Ishpiming........ the family's recipe is pretty similar to yours (no rutebega or ground pork, but I may try next time I make) I have always had issues with the pastry dough, and everytime I make them, I search for crust recipes that will work for me (so I don't have to buy premade crusts) I have NEVER had any luck until I made this crust recipe yesterday?? (made 2 batches of the crust and both turned out). Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Dale
    Apr 26, 2020

    This is very good, my family is from just west of Bagara by Pelkie in a small town of Gauthier, Michigan in the UP all of the family were in the copper mines or loggers, this recipe is good but they all use stewing beef and carrots in all the pasties which has more flavor and holds moister better then ground beef. This was my grandmothers recipes. All other in this recipe also.

  • Missy
    Apr 21, 2020

    OMG! This was my first attempt at making pasties and I've lived in the U.P. for 50 plus years. These were so AWESOME. I added carrot and upped the pork to 1#. The crust is crazy good and flaky.

  • V
    Apr 8, 2020

    I'm from Munising, my grandmother was English, my mother was English and Irish, one of my best friends is the pasties maker/baker at Muldoons Pasty and Gifts in Munising - In 2001, Muldoons was awarded the "U.P. People's Choice Award" as the result of a taste test conducted at the Upper Peninsula Tourism Conference and l have friends who make pasties at the Moose Lodge - they are great pasties. So pasties are a big thing for my family and I. Grandma's and my mom's crust recipe calls for lard, I make mine with Crisco (just because it's easier to find and keep on hand), Muldoons uses a different shortening - I'm actually trying out that one today. Our families recipe that I grew up on calls for ground beef and pork in a large grind (my dad used to do the meat grinding), potatoes, carrots, rutabaga, onions, salt and pepper, and a pat of butter in each pasty. All of the vegetables needed to be a quarter inch dise - my mom made sure it was diced correctly and not to big. Make sure you have enough salt and pepper and adjust if needed. Our family recipe and Muldoon's are similar. This recipe appears to be fairly good and easy. I'll have to try the crust recipe!

  • Randall
    Apr 6, 2020

    This is a pretty good recipe! When I was 8, I spent a fair amount of time in Florence, Wisconsin. One of my relatives, Aunt Swede, owned a diner and motel in downtown. She introduced me to pasty’s and I’ve been a fan ever since. During the summer of 1972, I was again in Florence and I asked Aunt Swede to teach me how to make pasty’s. I spent 8 weeks working in the diner. I made pasty’s every other day. Usually about 75 at a time. We did beef sirloin