Readers’ Recipes From Their Family Kitchens
The cook: Erin Bried, 35
Her mother: Claire, 62
Not long ago, Erin made what she describes as “the world’s ugliest pasty.” (A pasty—which “unfortunately rhymes with nasty, not tasty,” says Erin—is a savory pie traditionally filled with ground beef, potato, and onion.) “I couldn’t get the crust to seal neatly,” she recalls. And so she sent an SOS text, along with a photo of her misshapen attempt, to her mother, Claire.
“She called me back and talked me through the crimping process. My next one was much prettier,” says Erin, a Brooklyn-based writer and the author of How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew. (Claire’s secret? Slowly bring up one side of the crust to meet the other, then twist or roll the edges together and under. Any tears can be repaired with a dab of water.)
The pasty recipe, brought to this country by immigrant miners from Cornwall, England, has been in Erin’s family for generations. When she was growing up, her mother and grandmother made them for dinner for Erin and her older sister at least once a month. “My mom would prepare the potatoes and onions while my grandmother made the dough,” says Erin. “Then my mom would stand back and watch the magic. My grandmother was evidently some sort of pastry whisperer, always able to turn out a perfect crust.”
No wonder Erin felt intimidated about trying the beloved dish herself. Finally, five years ago, after a visit home to Allentown, Pennsylvania, Erin asked Claire for the recipe. Her mother was delighted to pass it on. “So few people even know what pasties are, much less how to make them,” says Erin. “I felt like my mom was entrusting me to carry on our shared history.”
Get the recipe for Meat and Potato Pasties.