My Grandmother’s Pasti Recipe- Updated

My grandmother, Barbara Noreika, hailed from Lithuania and she and my grandfather established a farm in North Central Michigan in the early to mid 1900’s. Our family changed the name to Norris in the 1940’s to sound more American but my grandmother maintained the true family name. She was a superb cook in her little farmhouse kitchen that was mostly wood with an old fashioned stove. She had a circular table in that kitchen that we ate from. Her specialty was pasti which is a meat pie with a thick salted crust. It is an unsweetened pastry but full of great things to feast upon. For all you chef’s out there I have an unofficial recipe for this gourmet dish.
4 Cups of Flour
One-eighth Teaspoon of Salt
1.5 Cups of Lard in one-fourth inch cut cubes
8-10 Teaspoons of ice water
1 egg (beaten)

The Filling-
1 Cup coarsely chopped White Rutabaga
2 Cups finely diced boneless beef or steak
1 Cup coarsely chopped onions
2 Cups finely diced potatoes
1.5 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Rub together the flour and fat to make a coarse meal and then add in the 8-10 teaspoons of ice water all at once. If the dough crumbles add more ice water. Then refrigerate the dough for about one hour.

Then roll the dough into a circle about one-fourth inch thick and cut into six inch rounds. Re-roll.

As for the filling cut the ingredients into small pieces making sure to cook the meat and the potatoes together. Combine in a bowl and combine one fourth of the mixture into the center of the rolled out pasti. Moisten the pasti edges then fold in half making sure to crimp the edges to seal. Place the pasti on a buttered baking sheet and brush lightly with the egg wash. Make two slits in the pasti to allow steam to escape. Place in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees then reduce heat to 350 degrees until the pasti is golden brown.

For best results serve the pasti with Cole slaw and you are in for one tasty meal. If the pasti dough is made just right you will never forget this recipe of my grandmother’s. To be honest, I haven’t tasted pasti the way she made it since her death in the 1970’s. The Upper Penisula of Michigan has many pasti restaurants but none with her recipe. Bon apetite!

I should also let you know that when I was taking camping trips into the area with kids I would always be treated to this marvelous pasti at least once per trip. It was the best meal ever!

Ed just tried this recipe stating that it was hard work. These latest four pictures were showing his efforts.

My Grandmother’s Recipe for Apple Pie

I suppose everyone believes that their grandmother can make the perfect apple pie and mine was no exception. Here is a recipe for her apple pie.

1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 Orchard apples – peeled, cored and sliced
A dash of cinnamon


  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add white sugar, brown sugar and water; bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.

  3. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees, and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.

  4. For added flavor top off your piece of pie with some great vanilla ice cream and then sit back and enjoy!

My Grandmother’s Kukalis Recipe

A few days ago I provided a recipe for Pasti from my grandmother and today I have another one of her prized dishes which is known as Kukalis.  Here is her recipe.

5 potatoes (medium size)
1 onion chopped
3 strips of bacon (cut-up)
1 or 2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cream (or undiluted evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons oatmeal (uncooked)
l cut-up chicken
1 teaspoon salt (
Dash pepper

Brown onion and bacon together. (Cool)
Grate potatoes

Mix all ingredients together in baking dish. Add chicken Mixture will be very moist.
Bake about 2 hours at 325 degrees.

My grandmother grated potatoes in a blender by adding some of the milk and eggs until blended.  She never used a blender in the old cabin but modernized her recipe upon moving to the new cottage about fifty yards away.

Enjoy this tasty dish! It would make for an excellent Christmas or New Year’s Eve meal.

My Grandmother’s Bread Recipe

I don’t think our old farmhouse kitchen ever smelled better than when my grandmother was baking bread. While the loaf was still warm she would cut it into slices and there was always homemade preserves of jam on the table with butter. I remember the peach and cherry jams and how they highlighted that ever so warm tasting bread. It would literally melt in your mouth.

So how about a recipe for old fashioned bread?

Making homemade bread is so rewarding, especially when it disappears before it even gets a chance to cool. I can remember how good and soft the insides were, and how crunchy the crusts were.

Here is the basic recipe for old style country bread
4 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups water
3/4 tsp yeast

Bread making is 10% recipe and 90% technique. Sugar, oil, eggs and milk can cause breads to get stale faster, an old style country bread is the kind one might find in a paper bag or basket on the kitchen counter.

Lets get started on our technique. You will need to mix together the salt and the flour in a large mixing bowl. Then make a well in the middle of this mixture and put the yeast in it. Next you will need 2 cups of 75 degree water. This doesn’t sound like it will be warm enough since you are used to 110-115 degrees for regular bread. This is just warm enough to activate the yeast and will make sure that your bread rises slowly. Next pour this water into the well and mix until the yeast dissolves,then start mixing in the rest of the flour. This will be sticky to the touch but don’t add more flour or you won’t get anything but heavy regular bread. The dough will be less sticky after it has been kneaded a bit.

After you have the flour all mixed up, turn it out on a very lightly floured bread board. If you do not have a bread board, dampen your counter and sprinkle flour over it, then lightly smooth the excess flour to one side.

Kneading old style country bread is a bit different then regular bread in that you don’t use the palms of your hands, instead you will stretch and fold the dough. Pick it up and throw it down, fold it over and slap it down on the counter some more. Keep doing this for about five minutes then cover the dough with a clean cloth and let it and your arms rest for five minutes. Repeat the kneading for another five minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic by now. Cover up the dough and let rise for exactly forty-five minutes, no longer. After forty-five minutes have passed, knead the dough for five minutes again, then let it rise for forty-five minutes again. You will need to repeat this one more time. Make sure the room that you are rising the dough in is at least 70 degrees, and not nore then 75 degrees.

While waiting for the last rising, you will need to prepare a baking stone for the final loaf rising. If you don’t have a baking stone, a baking sheet will do. Sprinkle some of the cornmeal on it. Then divide the dough in half and form into the desired loaf shape. Place the loaves on your baking sheet or stone and cover with a cloth to let rise for an hour and a half. You can make slits in the loaves just before baking.

While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a shallow, empty roasting pan on the bottom rack of the oven when you preheat the oven. Put the loaves in the oven and add 1/2 cup of water to the roasting pan. Close the door quickly and bake for fifteen minutes, without peeking. The water will create steam that will keep the loaves from breaking open. After fifteen miutes, turn the temperature down to 425 degrees for thirty minutes or until hollow when tapped.

Remove the bread from the oven and cool completely. If you give in to the temptation to eat it hot from the oven, you will surely miss out on the flavor and texture that is formed from cooling the bread completely. You are only limited by your imagination. If your first try doesn’t come out just right, please try again, you won’t be disappointed.

And keep those cherry and peach jams at the ready for some really good eating.