Being raised and living in one location my entire life has left me with Michigan influenced tunnel vision. Most recently I was struck with the realization that our corner of the world is the only one serving superman ice cream. It’s hard to imagine what my childhood would have been like without scouring every ice cream shop looking specifically for the tricolored flavor.
Another Michigan culinary tradition is the pasty. Pronounced ‘Past-E’ and not ‘Paste-y,’ the meat and potato filled hand pies were created as a portable lunch for miners in the Upper Peninsula. My best friend, Ashton, and I made them for the first time a few years back with ground venison and rutabaga. Flakey pie crust, savory filling – oh, they were good. This time, her and I are switching it up with a dessert filling.
Ashton and I rented a duplex together when we were in college where we’d spend our evenings cooking together in our tiny yellow kitchen while dreaming of opening our own bakery. It feels appropriate to be baking these rhubarb pasties with her again upon her return from a 3 year stint in China.
You could certainly argue that these aren’t real pasties and more like a turnover. But I’m a Michigander and I’m calling it what it is. After all, one man’s pastie is another man’s hand pie. Or empanada. Or calzone. So there.
Strawberry Rhubarb Balsamic Pasties
yields about 20 small pasties
For the Dough
- 2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, very cold
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening, placed in the freezer half an hour before use
- 1/2 Cup Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 Cup Ice Water
For the Filling
- 3 Stalks Rhubarb
- 1 Cup Chopped Strawberries
- 2-4 Tbsp Brown Sugar (Might need more depending on sweetness of strawberries)
- 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
- 1/4 Cup Water
- 1/2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
For the Topping
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Tbsp Water
- Turbinado Sugar (Optional)
Add the flour, salt, butter, and shortening to a large mixing bowl and use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut and combine the ingredients into a crumble with pea-sized chunks. Add the sour cream or greek yogurt and stir until just combined. Add ice water in tablespoon increments until the mixture barely holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
Meanwhile, get started on the filling by chopping the rhubarb and strawberries into bite-sized chunks. Place a large pan over medium heat and add the strawberries and rhubarb to the pan. Stir and bring to a simmer then add the brown sugar. Whisk together the corn starch and water in a separate bowl then add to the pan. Bring the mixture back to a simmer and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the balsamic vinegar and more brown sugar, if necessary. Remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 375 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Make the egg wash by combining the egg and water.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Use a large cookie cutter to cut out dough rounds. Combine the leftover dough into a ball and roll out again then cut additional rounds. Place about a tablespoon of filling on one half of the round, leaving half an inch around the edge. Fold the other half over the top then use a fork to crimp the edges.
Place the pasties on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops with the egg wash and top with turbinado sugar (optional). Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.