By Popular Demand: My Mother’s Pasty Recipe (with Lard)

I was pleasantly surprised by all the wonderful comments I got for my blog entry about lard. It seems that lard is underappreciated in these modern times—maybe it’s due for a comeback. Anyway, lots of people asked for my mother’s pasty recipe, and here it is, just in time for the July 4th weekend. While traditionally pasties were made as lunches for miners or other workers, in our family they were always served at a summer picnic—with Heinz 57 ketchup, which now comes in an organic version. Our traditional accompaniment was pickled cabbage, but unfortunately I don’t have a good recipe for that…yet.

Ardie’s Pasties (Ardie is my mother—don’t try calling her anything else)


The dough:

2½ cups flour (white or King Arthur White Whole Wheat)
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup, plus a dab, cold lard
1/3 cup (by feel) cold water (or more, maybe a lot more; your mileage may vary)

The innards:

1 pound ground beef
4 peeled and cubed potatoes
½ onion, chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons butter
A few dabs of milk


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Mix all the dough ingredients together in a bowl, adding the water in small amounts until you have a nice, soft, and fully moisturized wad of dough. It should hold together well. No need to refrigerate.

3. Separate the dough into 4 balls (or however many you want—fewer if you want big pasties, more if you prefer them smaller).

4. On a floured surface roll out each dough ball. Add the ground beef, potatoes, onions, salt, pepper, and a generous dab of butter. Pull the dough up around the stuffing and crimp together (the final shape should look kind of like a football). Dab a little milk on the top and poke some holes with a fork. Repeat until all pasties are assembled.

5. Place the pasties on a baking sheet (one that has raised sides, so dripping lard doesn’t leak all over the oven). Bake for 15 minutes at 425°, then turn down the oven to 375° and bake for another 40 minutes or until done (usually sooner).

6. Enjoy!

Once I had all my nieces and nephews over, and we all made our own pasties. When that happens, write your name on the top with fork holes to remember which one belongs to which person. There is no real right or wrong with this recipe, so feel free to adapt it to your preferences. But lard definitely makes the best crust…and the crust is the best part!


Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Main Dishes with Meat, Organic Food, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to By Popular Demand: My Mother’s Pasty Recipe (with Lard)

  1. Terri in VA says:

    Lard is rendered pig fat, for those who don’t know.

  2. Diane in Canada says:

    What are you trying to do clog our arteries. ???????

  3. marti from Eurkeka says:

    Diana, you need to do some homework when it comes to using fats in our diet. A little here and there is not bad for you. “Crisco” is NASTY stuff!

  4. CA in Canada says:

    Is the filling precooked at all before putting it into the dough?

  5. nancy in wa says:

    Never is the filling precooked in pasties. donot worry cooking time is plenty to insure doneness. enjoy

  6. Claude says:

    My mom had the same recipe. My frugal Irish Mom…she was an organic
    gardener in the 50′s. We had pasties for dinner in the fall and winter.
    We ate 80% vegetables…very little beef..very little sugar.
    EVERYTHING in moderation. I bake pies at thanksgiving, when the fall apples come in and maybe once with spring berries. And I do enjoy them!

  7. Bonnie in IL says:

    For the filling, I use cubed ground round rather than ground beef. It gives a nicer texture. These are wonderful heated up as leftovers.
    In fact, we love them so much, and want leftovers, that I now make them as a big meat pie. Less crust, more filling.

  8. Bonnie in IL says:

    I just read what I wrote, and I have a mistake. I use cubed round steak, rather than ground beef. The texture of the cubed steak is much nicer than the ground beef, we think. It gets very tender.

  9. Nita in OH says:

    LARD! My Mother in Law used to use lard in her pastries. She always had the best pie crusts! Whenever we would butcher a hog we would have the fat rendered and lard was a very useful byproduct.

  10. Richard Redd says:

    Tell Ardie “Thanks” I put Swedes in mine like they do in Cornwall.
    Maria, I sent Ardie your self portrait done in my class in art at Lehigh when you were 18, of course years later when i was cleaning out getting ready to retire. She replied “That”s my Maria.” You were looking very intense in your portrait.
    Richard Redd
    Prof. Emeritus
    Art Lehigh U
    Artist and cook

  11. Janice in Alaska says:

    Lard does makes the very best crust! Thanks for passing along your Mother’s recipe.

  12. pat in Texas says:

    What is a “Swede”? Thanks.

  13. Maria (farm country kitchen) says:

    That’s what I want to know, too! What is a “swede?” Hopefully it’s not a tall blonde person of Scandanavian descent!

  14. Joan Weed says:

    A Swede is a rutabaga. old fashioned name.

  15. PastryChefRD says:

    It would seem that several of you responders are victims of the media and its “nutritional advice”. I have been working with food for over 20 years both as a chef and scientist, and am still amazed at the knee jerk, harsh criticism of a traditional recipe.
    To marti from “Eurkeka” why is Crisco “NASTY stuff”? How is it different from lard in terms of fat?
    To Diane in Canada: since you seem to feel that slightly more that 1/3 c of lard will clog your arteties, what would you suggest as a replacement to provide the same function in the dough recipe. Or are you saying that by eating the entire recipe your arteries will clog? Do you not understand the concept of portion size and moderation? I do hope this opens up a can of worms and you will do some research, talk to the experts such as your local dietitian, get information from food scientists or even the manufacturer if you would write to their QA department.

  16. Lisa says:

    Unless we plan to eat pasties every day, I think we’ll all survive. The recipe sounds delicious! Thanks!

  17. Scotty says:

    I used to have these when I was driving through the UP of Michigan. I’ve made them with cubed meat, carrots, potatoes, peas, and turnips and they are delicious.

  18. Janie Dyer says:

    My mom always put carrots and onion and potatoes with hamburger, but the ones with rutabaga is a nice change also. If you put enough butter inside (help the clogging of arteries along), they can be eaten cold. Yum!

  19. ellen says:

    love the “fat” debate. it’s the hydrogenated stuff that’s really bad for you that’s what i don’t want in my food! (isn’t Crisco hydrogenated?) read the labels… thanks for the “swede” explanation and the great recipe – this is the kind of stuff my husband will eat!

  20. bebe says:

    Instead of freaking out about the lard, try Spectrum’s Organic Shortening. It’s vegan. :-)

  21. Canadian Pie Baker says:

    It’s funny how people don’t think anything of putting a huge chunk of butter in a recipe, yet absolutely freak out over lard. Both products are animal fats. However, even worse than butter or lard is shortening because of the hydrogenation process. It is a trans-fat which we all know is very unhealthy. Look at what NYC has done — banning unhealthy trans fats, and other cities are following suit! Yes, we all know to reduce our consumption of fats, but moderation is key and if you are going to indulge, use the good stuff. In Canada, we can find non-hydrogenated Tenderflake lard in all the grocery stores. If consumers start asking for it, the product will become available.

    Read up and become informed…

  22. Eric K says:

    Fats 101: While fats like Lard and coconut oil (and butter) have gotten a bad rap, the real problem is “trans-fatty acids” which you find in shortening and in margerine. Before the use of these types of altered “fats” there was remarkably little heart disease. Today, where we use little, heart disease is a huge problem. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  23. I’m now not sure the place you’re getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic info I was searching for this information for my mission.

  24. AR Jones says:

    Being Welch and eating pasties since I was old enough to chew, I would like to suggest two items for you to consider. First, my grandma Jones always painted the inside of the crust with egg whites. She said it helped to stop leak through. Second, she used beef suite in th recipie. Those who have a problem with butter and lard will flip at this, but before folding it together add a small handful of suite. The flavor is unbeatable and you won’t die of clogged veins from one…or in my 76 years, a life time of useage.

  25. DD says:

    Thanks for posting this! My Grandma was a Finnish U.P. pastie maker. =) This recipe is exactly like hers. We always put our initials on top of the pastie too. Great memories! I’ll be making this tonight.

  26. 29, the method must be done in an optional mission that can be repeated over
    and over again. Thankfully having the actual location
    of all of these items, with thee exception of buried treasure, players have a
    realistic shpt of 100%-ing Assassin’s Creed IV. There are many reasons oof playing
    online; thhe basic one is that you can enjoy social challenges
    while wearing out this version online.

  27. Be wary however, as getting your titan makes players forget
    their roles, and may try to go on a killing spree
    as opposed to sticking to the plan. Every Monday morning thousands of people dreaming about winning the lottery.
    Some Raspberry Pi naysayers will point out that you can already
    emulate games on your computer.

  28. The physical school is bound only to cover a single state,
    but the online driving education has a global scope or wider coverage.

    Rental companies of Dubai offer an ultimate variety of luxurious vehicles ranging from sporty convertibles
    to the luxury stretch limousine. Stuffed to be held financially and legally in
    charge of motor vehicle collisions, as well as the other party
    should employ their particular car crash lawyer in order to reach money within their favor.

  29. Grace says:

    The major problem with driving under the influence is your reflexes.
    - These accessories cannot totally get rid of heat buildup inside
    your car however they can significantly lower it to
    tolerable levels. I’ve given several important things not to do, now I’ll give you
    two important things always to do:.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>