- Posted December 29, 2013 by
Vero Beach, Florida
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This iReport is part of an assignment:
Who taught you to love food?
Nordic New Year Tradition – Pasties by Grace Helen
- rachel8, CNN iReport producer
Pasties (pronounced past-ease) are more than just a meat pie. They are a legacy of love.
Grace Helen Falardeau would always serve pasties when her family gathered for the holidays. This little video is dedicated in her memory. It's hard for us not to think of her, especially, as each New Year approaches.
Below is the back story and the recipe.
Happy New Year to you and your family!
Pasties are a family recipe brought from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to the Detroit suburbs in the early 1920s. Grace Helen Sjhololm, my mother-in-law, was just a young girl when she first learned to make the Cornish meat pies. Her parents came from a mining area. Seeking a new life, they moved to Ferndale, Michigan to open a Singer sewing machine store.
Little Grace Helen would eventually become a Detroit model and dancer. Her glamorous days would lead her to fall in love with a handsome pilot named Ed Falardeau.
The pastie recipe would eventually be served at every Falardeau family gathering. Four generations have continued the tradition.
The, “tale of the pastie,” is one that my husband recites on many occasions. It’s really less of a story about cooking, and more about his family’s heritage.
Grace Helen eventually taught my husband, Jim, to make the pasties. The most remarkable part of this story is that Grace Helen always preferred to have quick meals. She loved frozen food. The truth was that she was happiest in the company of children and her family. She really saw no point in spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
However, the pastie, was different. The recipe was her special dish for holidays and celebratory gatherings. It was the one dish she did well. I believe they were made with love. However, the recipe also allowed her to feature her favorite food next to them: ketchup! Grace Helen loved ketchup.
Now about that recipe: The pastie is a traditional meat pie brought over by Cornish miners. The recipe was adopted by the Swedes and Fins (the roots of Grace Helen’s heritage). The crusts of the meat pie were made of sturdy dough. This enabled them to be durable meal. The pies were taken into the mines wrapped in cloth and carried in the miner’s shirts for lunch. At lunchtime they were placed on a shovel and warmed over the fire.
Grace Helen’s secret was good cuts of beef. She would laugh and shake her finger, “No ground round!” She also preferred to use rutabagas, carrots and potatoes.
Whenever we make them, Jim will always say, “It’s less about the pastie and more about remembering my mom.” It goes without saying that we loved her dearly. We feel her warm presence and hear her joyful laugh.
Grace Helen’s Pastie Recipe:
2lbs sirloin beef (traditional stew meat) with fat trimmed off
4lbs of Yukon Gold Potatoes, cubed ½ inch
1 small rutabaga, cubed ½ inch
1 large onion, cubed in ½ inch
¼ cup Montreal Steak Seasoning (you can also substitute salt and pepper)
Chop up all of the above, mix contents of filling and set aside.
6 cups of flour
2 cups lard (Crisco is fine)
2 table spoons of salt
Mix crust, make sure it is not to dry. Roll it into 4 balls. Roll the dough out into about a n 8-12 inch circle. Place filling in center of circle and top with 1 tablespoon of lard or butter. Fold over dough to make a semi-circle and crimp edges with a fork. Then cut vents and cover pie with egg wash.
Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for an additional thirt degrees and bake for an additional thirty minutes.
Allow the pies to cool. Serve with lots of gravy, ketchup and pepper.