After trying your first Michigan pasty, you're sure to want more, so you can freeze extras to make whenever you want an easy hot meal. Pasties are individual pockets filled with root vegetables and ground beef that became popular for their portability. They were first brought to Michigan's Upper Peninsula by Cornish miners from England. If you travel to Michigan, you can purchase and freeze extra pasties, or make a bulk batch of homemade pasties.
Freeze Them Separately
Pasties might stick together if you simply place thawed pasties together in a bag or container. While this isn't a big deal if you plan to serve all the pasties together, it's problematic if you want to remove one pasty at a time. To prevent sticking, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the pasties in a single layer on the tray, leaving about 1 inch of space between each pasty. Place the trays in the freezer for a few hours or until the surface is completely frozen. Transfer the individual frozen pastries to a freezer storage container.
Air and moisture exposure are the most common problems with freezer storage that can lead to freezer burn or excessive ice crystal formation. The pasties should only be stored in packaging with moisture-vapor protection specifically designed for freezer storage, such as freezer bags or plastic freezer storage containers. For extra protection, you can wrap individual pasties in aluminum foil before adding them to the freezer bag or container. Remove as much air as possible before sealing the packages. Place the packages against the freezer walls where the freezer is coldest so the pasties freeze as quickly as possible, preventing moisture damage. You can move them elsewhere in the freezer after about 24 hours or when the pasties are frozen throughout.
Unbaked pasties can be frozen just the same as you might freeze an unbaked pie. The main advantage is that you get the taste of fresh-baked pastry crust, although they take up to one hour to cook. You can remove them from the freezer and bake them from frozen on a baking tray. The soft dough on unbaked pasties is likely to stick together, so freezing them on trays is especially important. Unbaked pasties can be frozen for six to eight months, so label the freezer bags or containers with the storage date, and set an expiration date accordingly.
Pasties that have already been baked can also be frozen, so you can confidently stock up on dozens of pasties on your next trip to Michigan. They only require about 15 to 20 minutes to bake in the oven, just enough time to thaw and heat them through. Keep the oven at a low temperature so you don't burn the crust before they heat through. Baked pasties can be frozen for six to eight months without much quality loss. The potatoes might become overly mushy when reheated, but you won't notice a difference in flavor.
- National Center for Home Food Preservation: Freezing Prepared Foods
- The New York Times: Cornish Pasties
- NPR: Pasties: The Meaty Center Of 'Yooper' Food
- Michigan Technological University Department of Humanities: Pasty Recipes
- Cooking Light: How to Properly Freeze Foods
- Upper-Peninsula-Now.com: Pasties... What Are They & Where Do You Find Them???
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images