Just when you think you know all there is to know about pizza, Michigan comes along all full of surprises.
We know about deep-dish Chicago style, thin and floppy New York style, Provel-covered St. Louis style and even straight-from-the-motherland Neapolitan pizza, just to name a few.
Imagine my bewildered surprise when I happened upon recipes for Detroit-style pizza, a deep-dish rectangular pizza layered with toppings and Wisconsin brick cheese with the sauce spread on top. I must have it. I wonder if they deliver?
When you plan your pizza tour of Michigan, you must visit the magical land called Mackinac Island where, instead of cars, there are bicycles and horse drawn carriages. With breathtaking views and fudge shops galore, it’s a must-visit destination. I was a teenager when I went, and it definitely stuck with me. One doesn’t forget fudge shop after fudge shop offering free samples. It was a little bit of heaven for my teenage soul.
These days my soul is way more into pasties, a handheld meat and potato pie of English origin. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is famous for them. They were traditionally eaten by immigrant miners in the U.P.; the pasties warmed their hands and filled their stomachs with hearty goodness.
Use the recipe below to make them at home, or when we finally get Food Truck Friday back in Carthage, hit up London Calling. Their pasties are worth the line every time. You can even buy them frozen to bake at home later.
Even with pizza, fudge and pasties, Michigan’s real claim to food fame is their tart cherry game. The state produces ⅔ of the nation’s sour cherries. Would the U.S. even be known for cherry pie if it wasn’t for Michigan? Probably not. Tart cherries are pucker-worthy straight off the tree, but with a little sugar they make desserts that are both sweet and tart — summer perfection.
Try these recipes to get a taste for Michigan.
3 cups flour
1 1/2 sticks butter, cold and cut into bits
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons water
1 pound round steak, coarsely ground
1 pound boneless pork loin, coarsely ground
5 carrots, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped rutabaga or turnip
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a large bowl, combine flour, butter and salt. Blend ingredients until well combined and add water, one tablespoon at a time to form a dough. Toss mixture until it forms a ball. Knead dough lightly against a smooth surface to distribute fat evenly. Form into a ball, dust with flour, wrap in wax paper and chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients in a large bowl. Divide the chilled dough into 6 pieces, and roll one of the pieces into a 10-inch round on a lightly floured surface.
Put 1 1/2 cups of filling on half of the round. Moisten the edges and fold the unfilled half over the filling to enclose it. Pinch the edges together to seal them and crimp them decoratively with a fork. Transfer pasty to a lightly buttered baking sheet and cut several slits in the top. Roll out and fill the remaining dough in the same manner.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Put 1 teaspoon butter through a slit in each pasty and continue baking for 30 minutes more. Remove from oven, cover with a damp tea towel and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from www.hu.mtu.edu
Tart cherry crumble
1 pound tart cherries, frozen
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger, optional
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
For the crumble:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten well
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the frozen cherries in an ungreased 9-by-9-inch baking dish, deep pie pan, or similar-sized dish.
Toss the cherries with the sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Then, cut the butter into several pieces and melt over low heat in a small saucepan. Raise the heat slightly after it has melted, and cook, swirling frequently, until the butter has turned nutty brown. Remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the beaten egg and use your hands to combine the dry ingredients and egg. As you work the egg into the flour, it will form small moist crumbs. Sprinkle these over the cherries, then drizzle the browned butter over the topping.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is browned and the cherries are bubbling. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or unsweetened whipped cream.
Recipe source: www.thekitchn.com