Editor’s note: This reader recipe is an online addition to our November 2020 cover story, “Taste and see.”

Reader recipe: Praising with pasties

By Christina Bush

Grace Lutheran Church, Hastings, Mich., has a long-standing tradition of baking up several hundred pasties two to three times per year, selling them to the community and using the funds for internal and external ministries. This effort takes many hands—from taking orders to purchasing sufficient supplies, mixing flour and lard (yes, lard!) for the crust, hand-cutting the meat, peeling and chopping potatoes, mixing and rolling the dough, “gooping” on the filling, crimping the dough, baking the pasties to perfection, phoning people to remind them of their order and collect payment and then, of course, cleaning up the kitchen and work areas.

Grace’s original hot lunch program has benefited the larger community by supporting youth ministry programs and the county’s homeless shelter. Proceeds from the pasty sales have also resulted in paying for new dining tables in the fellowship hall, helping to purchase carpeting for the building and supporting Grace’s vacation Bible school program.

But perhaps it’s the more subtle rewards of “God’s work. Our hands.” that are the real benefits of being part of the pasty assembly line. The bakers strengthen their community, with each other and with the public. It is not only Grace members who participate in this effort but also family and friends, who are invited to enjoy the work and fellowship. People learn new skills, or sharpen old ones, as they shift from mixing the filling to rolling the dough to preparing the finished product for sale. Although the sale started out as the Sarah Circle’s ministry, the whole congregation, young and old, male and female, jumps in. The torch of leadership has been passed to a married couple who coordinate the event. And lastly and less subtly, the smell of the pasties baking is, dare we say, “heavenly”?

Ingredients, crust
1 cup lard
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold water (approx.)

Ingredients, filling

1 1/4 pound finely cubed flank steak, cut in 3/4-inch cubes
2/3 cup finely diced onion
1 tablespoon minced suet
4 1/2 cups potatoes, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
Scant tablespoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Margarine or butter

  1. Mix the crust ingredients as you would for pie dough (wetter is better). Roll out five crusts.
  2. Mix the filling ingredients, except for the margarine.
  3. Divide the filling between the crusts, placing each portion on one side of the crust. Dot with margarine. Bring the empty side of the crust over the filling, crimping the edges.
  4. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.

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