Lunch Pail Pi AKA the Midwestern Pasty




Introduction: Lunch Pail Pi AKA the Midwestern Pasty

About: Hubby and I have given up the ordinary in order to live and travel full-time in our vintage motor home. Our St. Bernard dog and 2 kitties travel with us, as we slowly amble along the back roads of America loo…

A long-ago gift from the Cornish miners who settled in the America, the Pasty remains a stalwart of Midwestern lunches and dinners.  Served cold or hot, a pasty is sort of a hybrid pot-pie sandwich, traditionally made with icky vegetables like rutabagas and turnips.

Not to worry-  no rutabagas in this recipe! Just a yummy meat and potatoes kind of meal.

Lets start:

Step 1: Assemble the Ingredients

For the filling:

1 pound hamburger
1/4 to 1/3 pound spicy breakfast sausage or ground pork
1 onion, chopped
2 large or 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2  1/2 cups)
2 small carrots or 1/3 cup sweet potato, peeled and diced, then par boiled
1  1/2 tsp seasoned salt (I like Johnny's Brand)
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
1 clove crushed garlic (optional)

For the crust:
600 grams/ 5 cups/ 21 oz of all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
4 Tblsp white sugar
5 sticks (2  1/2 cups) salted butter FROZEN
1/2 cup cold vodka
1/2 cup cold water

Step 2: First, Make a Crust

Start with the crust, enough for 4 to 6 9" pie crusts  Any pie crust will do, including those from the grocery store but supreme pasty deliciousness starts with a flaky, buttery crust.

Here's my recipe:

This Vodka pie dough recipe is one that is readily available on the web and here on Instructables, but with my own twist.

No pastry cutter needed.

Carefully weigh your flour-  if you don't have a scale, sift or SPOON your flour into the measuring cup until it is heaping full, and then level off with the back side of a knife.  Very important you do not scoop the flour with the measuring cup-  you'll end up with far too much flour in your recipe.

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl; add salt and sugar and stir.

Next, take one stick of FROZEN butter at a time from the freezer and grate the butter into the flour.  Knock the butter curls from inside the grater into the bowl and gently fluff the butter curls into the flour until coated.  Handle the butter as little as possible.  Grate the rest of the butter, one stick at a time and fluff after each.  Work quickly and put the bowl back in the freezer if there is a phone call, baby crisis or other delay.

When all the butter is in, it will look like conventionally "cut in" pastry dough.  Put the bowl back in the fridge or freezer for a minute.

Next, measure your cold vodka and cold water.  This will seem like a lot of fluid, but it will enable you to easily work the dough and most of the vodka will bake out without a trace.

Sprinkle the water/vodka mix into your bowl of flour/butter and stir with a fork until all the water is absorbed or you feel you have used enough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and return to the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours.  You want the flour to hydrate and the butter to chill hard.  You may form the dough into 3 or 4 balls at this time, or wait until you are ready to roll out the dough.

Lay out a wide layer of plastic wrap, lightly sprinkled with flour.  Pat each of the balls of dough into a rough rectangle, sprinkle with flour, lay more plastic wrap on top and roll out into a big rectangle.  *Note;  this dough will be very soft and very short as it warms up.  If it starts sticking to the plastic wrap, you can transfer it back to the freezer for a few moment to stiffen up*.

If you make up your dough ahead of time, you can leave the dough sheets in the plastic wrap and set them in the fridge until you're ready to cut out the circles.  Best to cut out the circles right before you spoon in the filling.  Cold dough is easier to manipulate.

Step 3: Cook the Filling

Crumble the hamburger and sausage or pork into a skillet and commence browning on medium heat.  Add the chopped onion, and cook until onion is tender and translucent, about 10-15 more minutes.

While the meat mixture is cooking, parboil the diced carrots or sweet potato pieces in salted water until just barely tender.  Drain.

Turn off heat and add sweet potato/carrot and diced white potatoes to hot meat mixture.

Stir to evenly mix.

Step 4: Cut Out Dough and Add Filling.

Bring your sheets of dough out of the fridge, and using a cereal bowl or something similar, cut out 5" to 6" circles. If you want to use pre-made pie dough, you can use the dough straight from the package and make a big 2-person pasty.

Add filling to one half of the circle, fold over and crimp the edges.  Cut slits in top to let steam escape.

Step 5: Bake and Enjoy

Move your raw pasties to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or to a silicone mat.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 C) for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown.

Eat 'em hot, eat 'em cold or freeze and reheat in the oven later.

Enjoy these savory little half-moons of deliciousness, courtesy of the Cornish miners

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    6 Discussions

    spark master
    spark master

    7 years ago on Introduction

    How many pasties do you get from this recipe. Looks like a very tasty pasty to me.

    this very similar to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS article many years ago (when I was thin and had hair)

    I like Rosemary bettele's idea to use a cupcake tray and hot water pastry BUT use this filling. (plus other varients)



    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'll have to give these a try. Thank you for posting it, and good luck on this one as well.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    My mom learned to make these as a young adult in the 1940's from Cornish miners while working as a secretary for Anaconda Copper in Butte, Montana. She would use different cuts of beef instead of ground. I have made them using game meat as well. I like to cover them with gravy. I always make a big batch so we have a few in the freezer for quick meals.

    Cheese Queen
    Cheese Queen

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, stew meat or venison is great in meat pies. And gravy just makes them extra delicious!