Teachers Institute


Dorothy Hodgson

Biography | Photo Album

Dorothy Hodjson, even if she is of Swiss heritage, is an expert at making Cornish pasty. She learned from her mother, who used to make pasty for Dorothy's father, who worked in the mines. These days, Dorothy and her friend Evelyn Clark now make pasties for the United Methodist church in Schullsburg. Six times a year, the church takes orders for pasties and volunteers at the church spend the day making pie pasties. Usually they make about 120 pie pasties and sell them for $10 each.

Dorothy and other members of the church, make pasties in the traditional way. The crust is made of just lard and flour. The lard gives it its good flavor. Inside, the pasty contains potato, onion and steak. The secret is soaking the potatoes in water overnight so that the potatoes don't draw moisture from the pasties. Pie pasties are made with two crusts. It's important to put slits in the crust so the steam can escape. If not the crust will rise and the ingredients will dry out. It needs to bake about two hours.

There are lots of variations in how people make pasties, from the decorative slits in the crust to the ingredients. Some people make a hole in the middle of the top crust and pour half and half into the pie when it is half-baked. There are ethnic and regional differences in ingredients, too. If you travel to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you can find pasties made with fish, or carrots, or even banana peppers. Condiments can differ too. Dorothy likes to use chili sauces. Others use ketchup or gravy.

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