Food Preservation, Family Traditions, and Delicious Pie

Written by Eliza Whitfield

Pies are a type of food preservation that my family has utilized for years. Pasty has been a much-loved meat-based pie that originated in Cornwall, England. Pasty is an affordable, long-lasting meal that was originally used by miners and their families. In the past, pasties were served in the shape of a semi-circle for the convenience of a handheld meal that could be easily taken into the mines. Pasty usually consists of a small portion of meat or beans and a variety of vegetable choices that can easily be grown in a home garden: potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, etc. 

My family has passed a pasty recipe down for more than five generations. We make the pasty in a pie tin as opposed to a traditional semi-circle. I cannot count the number of times I made pasty with my grandma and my mom. We would spend all day making dough and slicing vegetables, then sit around the table to share the delicious meal. On occasion, we would drive to my uncle’s house and deliver him a pie or two for his family. It is a tradition that brings my family together and provides happy memories that we all cherish.  

My family’s recipe: 

  • ½ lbs meat — usually beef
  • 5-6 potatoes — cut into thin slices
  • 2-3 carrots — shredded
  • 1 onion — diced, then mixed with the meat
  • Pie crust:
    • 2 cups flour
    • ½ cup shortening or butter
    • Pinch of salt
    • Enough water to make paste

To make the pie crust, combine the ingredients in a bowl, using the water to make the dry ingredients stick together. Once the ingredients are mixed, place the dough in the refrigerator to rest while slicing the vegetables and browning the meat. The meat should be cooked, before being placed into the pie to ensure the pie will not contain raw meat, as well as a way to drain excess grease. 

Once all the ingredients are ready, separate the dough in half. Roll both halves of the dough into a circle and place one half in a nine-inch pie tin. Then layer the vegetables and meat repeatedly until the pie is rounded at the top (potatoes, carrots, meat, potatoes, carrots, meat). Finally, place the remaining dough on top of the pie, crimp the edges, and slice 2-3 air holes atop the pie. 

Cook the pie at 350* for roughly 45 minutes.

This pie, if sliced moderately, can provide multiple meals a day for 2-3 days. Pasty tastes delicious when it is eaten both hot and cold. 

Pasty Collage