As I was droning on about last week, I’m all about tradition, so this week I thought I would follow my heart again to create a recipe that’s been passed down from one generation to the next in my family. Have you ever heard of a pasty? Born in the area around Cornwall, England, a pasty is like a hot pocket filled with meat and vegetables (but without the nasty artificial meat and chemical-laden cheese substitute). More like a handheld pot pie. A Cornish pasty is traditionally filled with beef, potatoes, a root vegetable, onion, salt and pepper, wrapped in a flaky crust, crimped along the edges and baked.
The theory goes that after reigning in popularity with the wealthy, they soon became popular with the tin miners in England since they were easy to carry and eat. Baked in the morning and wrapped in a towel, many would still be warm in the center when the lunch bell rang, and if they weren’t, they were quickly reheated on a shovel over a hot fire. And since so many from Cornwall immigrated to Canada and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to work the coal mines, they were an easy handheld meal, stuffed with fillings that would fill an empty stomach until the end of a shift. My family originated from Michigan and we had several family members living in the UP so the pasty was a regular on our menus.
To be honest, this is a recipe I’ve been working on for months now. Many batches were made but the crust just wouldn’t come out right. But being that I hate to waste anything, especially food, I
suffered in the name of art ate them so they didn’t stare at me from the bottom of the trash can. I’ve definitely had my fill of a Paleo Pasty for a while but found I still wanted more because THESE ARE AWESOME! Had I not known they were Paleo-fied, I never would have guessed. The crust reminds me of a sugar cookie, but without the sweetness – thick, rich and substantial to hold in giant cuts of beef. The vegetables are cooked in the juices of the meat so they’re tender and melt-in-your-mouth.
So how did I Paleo-fy a Pasty? Since they are typically made with a flour pie crust, I thought this would be an easy Paleo Pie Crust substitution. I was proven wrong more than one time. Unfortunately, gluten-free pie crusts are more apt to break and burn around the edges. Without the gluten, the flexibility of the crust makes it difficult to stretch over the meaty filling. And while a pasty is traditionally baked for an hour, gluten-free crust doesn’t handle that long bake time well. It burns and cracks and doesn’t look too appetizing when it comes out of the oven with the filling spilling out. To shorten the cooking time for the crust, I opted to slow cook the meat and vegetables ahead of time, making almost a beef stew just waiting to be stuffed into the crust to finish cooking. There were no complaints that day as our slow cooker perfumed our house with meaty goodness.
For the vegetables, since white potatoes are a no-no, with a quick switch for a sweet potato the pasty came out Paleo-approved!
In fact, they were so tempting that after taking pictures I couldn’t resist and took bites in between washing dishes and it wasn’t long before I ruined my appetite for dinner. But I wouldn’t want to give you a recipe that wasn’t taste-tested SEVERAL times, right????
So I learned that I had to change the crust AND the method of cooking from the original recipe but, dare I say it, these came out even BETTER than the original! (sorry mom and dad)
The pasty isn’t very well-known here in the South but I’m advocating that we make it a regular on our menus, sharing it with friends and family, until it becomes a household name. Give it a try and let me know what you think! Post your pics on Instagram and tag me with #paleobaker! I’d love to see your beautiful recipe creations!
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- [i]For the filling:[/i]
- 1/2 lb sirloin stew meat
- 1/2 medium sweet potato, pealed and chopped
- 1/4 cup rutabaga, chopped
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- [i]For the crust:[/i]
- 1 1/2 cup finely ground almond flour
- 3/4 cup arrowroot flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Celtic Sea salt
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- In a crockpot, combine all of the filling ingredients and stir to combine. Heat on low for six hours. Once done cooking, remove top of the pot and let cool while making the crust.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix almond flour, arrowroot flour and salt. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and add to the flour. Add olive oil to the flour mixture and stir until combined.
- Make a ball with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, remove dough from the refrigerator and cut into four equal pieces. While keeping the piece of plastic on the counter, spread out the dough into a large circle, 1/4″ thick. Lay the filling inside the dough and, using your hands outside the plastic wrap, bring the sides of the dough together and seal (this keeps it from cracking too much).
- Once sealed, carefully move each pasty to a baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.
Thank you to the Paleo Cupboard for her delicious empananda crust recipe