5 Things I Love – March 7

image for weekly list of five things I'm currently loving in life, music, art, etc.

After all of the confusion that ensued on twitter these past few weeks with the lack of pastie (the food) knowledge and with tomorrow being Packzi Day, my friend Lisa suggested that a Michigan/regional food theme may be appropriate. I happen to concur. The only problem being that having grown up with these things I tend not to think about them being regional.

So, after much contemplation of what I missed when I lived out of state, here are five of my favorite foods from my home state (plus 1 bonus).

1. Pasties

This savory pastry entree came over to Michigan with the Cornish miners and grew to become embedded in the culture of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Signs for pastie shops are one of the first things you see once you’ve crossed the bridge. As a Yooper’s daughter I was surprised to discover that the dish was not better known when I wandered beyond the state boundary. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, I posted a recipe for them just last week.

2. Packzis

In Southeastern Michigan Fat Tuesday equals Paczi Day. It warmed my heart to see all of the signage about it while downstate this past weekend.

So, what’s a packzi? It’s a Polish treat traditionally made on Fat Tuesday to use up all of the ingredients that could not be eaten once Lent began (like sugar, lard, etc.). These deep-friend, filling stuffed, powered sugar covered dough balls are by no means light in the calorie department, but worth the once a year indulgence.

3. Mackinac Island Fudge

This handmade confection is known statewide as being a special variety of fudge different from other run of the mill fudges you might encounter due to it’s stick to the roots recipes that work all the way up from scratch just as when it was invented. Read here for a bit of the history around the fudge’s rise to prominence.

4. Faygo

This is another one of those brands that I didn’t realize was a regional food until I moved out of state. The news spread like wildfire amongst the Michigan students at my college when a few of their flavors like Red Pop and Moon Mist were spotted in a small Tennessee town not far from our campus. It was a limited variety of flavors, but we all knew there was no place like home to get the full assortment.

5. Sander’s

Candy, chocolates, dessert toppings and even coffee; Sander’s has it all. My fondest memories, though, are of their hot fudge ice cream topping. Sure you could get Hershey’s or some other topping at the store, but growing up we all knew that Sander’s was a special treat.

Bonus

Koegel Meats – Most famous for their Viennas (natural casing hot dogs), this Flint based company has been in business since 1916 and is a trusted name in our area. In fact, I know people who literally will not eat any other hot dogs unless under severe duress.

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Pasties are a Real Food

Some of you know what I speak. Some of you may have ended up on this post by accident. If you’re looking for exotic ‘accessories’ this is not the place to find them.

So, a few things to note about this recipe.

  • It’s actually a double recipe. So if it looks like a lot of food it is.
  • I used venison when I made this batch, but beef is the usual choice of meat.
  • I also included turnip and apple in mine. This is not the norm. Feel free to substitute potatoes for them.
  • Pasties freeze really well. If you are wondering what a single girl is doing with 20 pasties now you know.

On to the recipe.

Pasties

Filling
2 cups diced rutabaga
1 cup diced turnip
3 1/2 cups diced potato
1 1/2 cups diced fresh onion
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced apple
1 1/2 lbs chopped venison (or ground beef)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons of butter, chopped

Crust
8 cups flour
2 2/3 cups shortening
2 1/4 cups cold water

Mix together flour, shortening and water for dough. Set aside to cool in the fridge.

Slice, dice, etc. all of the ingredients for your filling. Mix together in a large bowl.

Remove your dough from the fridge and pull a ball a little smaller than a baseball. Roll out on a lightly floured surface. Don’t roll too thin or it won’t hold up to the filling (those potatoes like to poke holes). I like to roll mine out to about 6 inches in diameter and put in about 1 cup of filling, but that is on the smaller side for pasties.

Place your filling in the center and fold into a half moon. Crimp the edges and vent the top.

Repeat until the filling is gone. I actually ended up with a bit extra of the dough and finished out my last sheet with one blueberry filled crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.

Estimated 20 small/medium sized pasties.

I also decided to try a breakfast size using my muffin pan. It takes a little more dough but turned out really well.

And, of course, there is the blueberry (with cinnamon & a bit of sugar) filled crust.

Check out this link for nutrition information.