Category Archives: Meat Pies

Cornish Pasties

IMG_5666My husband spent his summers staying at his grandparents’ cabin in Eagle Harbor, MI and one of his fondest memories is eating the giant pasties served at Toni’s
I was one of the few Iowans I knew who knew about pasties, because my Mom made them growing up. When we were growing up we used chunks of pork and beef, and I prefer them that way, still.  But I gave in and started adding some ground meat, sometimes after I had Toni’s. I don’t really like hamburger, so I use ground pork.

I’ve kind of avoided posting a recipe because well, I don’t really have precise measurements for the filling. I just kind of throw it together but I can post a specific dough recipe that works well for pasties.


2 scant cups of flour
4 oz butter
1/4 tsp mustard powder
4-6 tbsp water

Mix the flour and mustard powder. Cut the butter into the flour and add the water until you have a nice elastic dough. The consistency isn’t quite like pie crust, it is the same recipe I use for my sausage rolls.


1/2 sliced skirt or stew beef
1/2 ground pork or sliced pork chops
thinly sliced rutabaga or turnips
thinly sliced potato
finely chopped onion

I mix the meat and vegetables together, like a meatloaf, before I put the pasties together.   I will admit that when I use ground meat, it holds the vegetables in place, which makes crimping the crust a little easier. The short video below gives you a little bit of history about the pasty and shows an alternative method of putting the pasties together by layering the ingredients.

Once you have them put together, bake them in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 60 minutes.

Steak and Ale Pie

10367680_10152444524131860_5948936442862297555_nI posted a picture of this on Facebook the other day and a few people asked me for the recipe.

The key to this recipe  is to really thinly slice the steak so the flavors blend together, well.


Steak and Ale Pie

1-2 pounds of thinly sliced steak
1/4 cup flour or arrowroot powder
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 slices of bacon
3-5 medium onions sliced
1 bottle stout or ale

Mix the flour and seasonings in a large bowl and dredge the steak in it. Melt the butter in a large fry pan and brown the meat. Put the meat back in the bowl. Fry the bacon in the frying pan and brown the onions in the bacon fat. Pour the meat and remaining flour back into the frying pan and stir the ingredients together. Pour the bottle of beer over the ingredients in the frying pan and simmer for about an hour. Turn this filling into a prepared pie crust. Bake this pie at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes; until the crust is brown and the filling is bubbling.

Meat Pies and Powder Fort

pork and apple pieSo as I mentioned elsewhere, we were without an oven for a few weeks and so I was deprived of pie on national pie day, so tonight we made up for it by having meat pies for dinner.  The kids prefer the standard chicken pot pie, but we grown-ups had a hankering for pork and apple pie.

The recipe is based  on one my husband’s Mom made when he was young, but it reminds me a good deal of a lot of the medieval meat pies I’ve had at SCA events,mostly because of the unique blend of sugar and spice, used as flavoring.

So for my little herbal digression before sharing the recipe with you I’d like to bring to your attention the ingredient in many medieval recipes known as powder fort.  This is a common ingredient in medieval cookbooks but it seems no one is quite sure of exactly the spices used in this concoction but many food historians have given their best conjectures as to what these spices were

David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook share  the following recipe in How to Milk an Almond, Stuff an Egg and Armor a Turnip: A Thousand Years of Recipes:
1 part cloves,
1 part mace,
1 part cubebs,
7 parts cinnamon,
7 parts ginger
7 parts pepper

There seem to be as many interpretations as there are medieval food researchers. Daniel Myers who is publisher/author of the website Medieval Cookery, has this to say about his recipe: ” Many medieval recipes call for spice mixtures without detailing the exact spices. While it is tempting to assume that each particular spice mixture had a consistent recipe, there is evidence of substantial variation for different times, regions, budgets, and cooks.”   This is the recipe he shares along with the advice to make it your own which I appreciate because I don’t really love ginger all that much.  I’d probably substitute nutmeg.

3 Tbsp. ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cubebs
1 tsp. grains of paradise
1 tsp. black pepper

Really why I wanted to mention this is to ask those herbally inclined readers  to take a good look at these recipes, especially those of you who have studied Ayurveda. Remind you of anything? A churna, perhaps? At the very least, it is a blend of seasonings which would serve to stimulate and promote digestion. I make this comparison because I believe that so  often our students are so intrigued by the Eastern healing philosophies and are  unaware of the rich  history of Western herbalism which may be more evident  when one takes into account the medieval  receipt books as well as the  dry “learned” herbals of the the day.

Why we teach Gerard to our students but not Tusser , has always been a source of confusion to me until I read a few books which made me start to think of history of herbalism as being the history of men who could read and write and who were when it comes down to it quite disdainful of folk medicine.  Even Culpeper who  supported the idea of “English herbs for English bodies” still believed in the superiority of the Greek Galen’s Art of Physick over the simple remedies of the country people.   I believe that only focusing on the printed herbal,  gives us a very limited perspective of how herbs were actually used in the British Isles and I am constantly intrigued by little bits of information I find in the folklore and oral histories, I am discovering.   Eventually I will have my thought organized into a large body of information, but for now back to dinner…

Pork and Apple Pie

First you will need to make a double crust pie recipe.   Just use lard or  substitute butter in  place of the shortening.  Remember that hydrogenated fats kill.

2 lbs cubed pork
4 green, tart apples peeled, cored and sliced

2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

I like to sear the pork cubes first as it cuts down on the cooking time and keeps the meat more tender. You can do this while the oven preheats to 350 degrees. Then mix together the sugar and spices. Line an 8X8 pan with crust and then layer, the meat and the apples sprinkling the seasonings over the layers. Don’t be afraid to stack it high and pack them tightly, the apples shrink quite a lot as it bakes. Pour any juice in the frying pan over the layers and then top with another crust. Cut a few vent slices in the top crust and bake it in the oven for about 50 minutes or until the apples are tender.