Pasties for Cheesefare

Florentine pasties 09This recipe that has been a family favorite seems like a nice one to share this week, which for us Orthodox is Cheesefare Week, a.k.a. Butter Week, the last before Lent that we eat eggs and dairy. It was on a post about picnics that I first published it several years ago, but there’s no reason to wait for picnic season to enjoy these hand pies.

I found  the original recipe in an unusual place: a newsletter that our power company used to send with the bill, and which always included a recipe or two. They stopped this practice 20 years ago, but these pies became a tradition for me. They keep well and I think they taste best at room temperature.

Florentine pastie bittenChanges I made to the recipe below: Use butter, of course, never margarine, and add some salt to the pastry dough. Or just use your own recipe for pie dough. I don’t think I have ever included the cottage cheese in the filling; it seems as though it’s the first time I am even seeing that ingredient in the list!

I like to make the filling the day before assembling the pies. I thought of trying to use fresh spinach next time, but I don’t know how I would figure out the conversion ratio. I’ve noticed over the years that frozen spinach most often comes in 16-oz packages now, and there are fewer stems than when I used to always buy it in cardboard-wrapped blocks. I’m sure you could just use the whole 16 ounces.

Also, I would never say “pah-stees,” because my husband’s Cornish ancestors made pasties nearly every day for the men to take into the mines for their midday meal, and they pronounced the word “past-ease.” Are we to think that Florentines would say anything different?

Florentine Pasties crp

13 thoughts on “Pasties for Cheesefare

  1. Empanadas! My favorites! There’s one really, really fine empanada emporium in Houston where you can get savory (beef with onion, green olive, and some sort of cheese is especially good) or sweet (guava or pumpkin are delicious). Now I want some, but a 50 mile drive at 8:30 at night isn’t going to happen.

    My parents grew up in a south central Iowa coal mining town, and there were plenty of Welsh people there, including one uncle and his family. My cousins remember their dad going to the mine with pasties in his lunch bucket!

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    1. You remind me that I want to go back to a pie shop I saw last month, in a neighboring town. They were closed when I looked in the window at their large and varied menu of savory and sweet pies. The possibilities are endless for putting a few simple ingredients into a buttery crust and creating a scrumptious meal.

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  2. This post inspires! I haven’t made pasties since that little excursion with our family and you in the East Bay. How time flies. I must introduce the youngest two to this wonderful pocket! I think everyone will be quite happy you posted the recipe :).

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  3. My mother used to bake pasties whenever we set off for a long road trip because they were easy to eat. I disliked meat even as a child, though vegetarianism hadn’t really taken root then, and had a special distaste for kidneys – she made a filling of beef, kidneys and vegetables – so she would put extra potatoes and veg in mine, leaving out the kidneys, and mark my crust with an ‘A’. These days when I bake meat-filled pasties for my family, I fill mine with potatoes, cheese, onions, and other colourful vegetables – and mark mine with an ‘A’!

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    1. That is a sweet (and savory) story! I ate a steak and kidney pie in England when we were there, and I liked it very much, but it was a deep-dish sort baked in crockery. My mother used to make a kidney stew that I liked; I’ve never managed to continue the tradition.

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  4. I am so surprised to see a pasty post on a Californian blog! I suppose the Cornish ancestors explain it. Our fish and chip shops have much inferior versions of pasties. Small and round and filled with I’m never quite sure what!

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  5. My first paid job apart from baby sitting was working at a pasty shop. I wish I’d paid attention, though you can buy some good ones here (and in Michigan’s upper peninsula, with its mining history, pasties are a major thing! Thanks for sharing the recipe — the filling looks good.

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  6. I am thinking that using fresh spinach would be problematic, as it cooks down so much you’d have empty holes in your pasty when you took it out of the oven! When I use fresh spinach/silverbeet instead of frozen, I cook it in a pan with a tiny bit of water and keep adding fresh until I have approximately the same amount as the specified frozen amount.. it’s fly by your pants cooking, which is the only kind I do:)
    It all looks very delicious and satisfying.

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  7. A savoury filling wrapped in dough is such a delicious thing! Pasties, hand pies, turnovers, empanadas – I think most cultures have some variation. I’m marking this one for the future!

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