The following recipe makes about 30 pastelitos (depending on the size you make them)
Pastelitos are small meat filled turnovers that are served at
Dominican gatherings and celebrations.
- 4 cups all purpose white flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- .5 tsp baking soda
- .5 cup butter or vegetable shortening (well chilled)
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup very cold water (may need a little more or less depending on age of flour)
- 3 cups of picadillo or dry sloppy joe (for filling)
- Peanut oil to deep fry
1. Sift flour, baking soda and salt
2. Using a food processor or knife or pastry cutter cut the shortening or butter
into the flour until you have a coarse meal-like mixture (typical dough process)
3. Beat together the whole eggs, egg yolk and the water
4. Slowly incorporate this egg-water into the coarse flour mixture of step 2
5. Knead as long as necessary until dough is smooth. Adjust with water or
a bit more flour as necessary.
6. Wrap in paper or plastic and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
7. Roll dough out until thin (less than 1/8 inch thick) and cut into 3 inch circles
8. put a tablespoon of cooled filling in center of dough circle.
9. Moisten inside edges of dough with cold water, and then fold the
dough in half, covering the filling making a half circle. With the tines of a fork
crimp or secure the edges of the overlapped dough together to secure.
10. Chill for at least one hour. When ready to serve heat peanut oil to 350 degree F. and
fry until golden in color…about 3-4 minutes. Drain and serve hot.
The ingredients of Pasteitos are gathered and cooked over the course of several days so that the indgrients and flavors can marinate. After the are usually stuffed in ready made shells (or ones made from scratch), in which they are deep fried in oil for several minutes or until golden brown. A short version of its progress is depcted in the pictures above and to the right. As you can see the ingredients whch pre-cooked are spooned upton of the flat dough. After folding the dough neatly, it is placed in a pot of oil to deep fry.
AN AUTHENTIC DOMINICAN OPTION
Catibia is the flour that is obtained from fresh yuca
When the Spanish arrived they found the native Taino Indians preparing a round,
crispy flat bread that resembled a Mexican tortilla. The Taino’s were using Casabe
which is a flour or powder made from the root of the cassava plant.
This root is also eaten and is called yuca. Casabe can be purchased.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE 6 CUPS CATIBIA (or fresh yuca) FLOUR
- 4 pounds fresh yuca #
PREPARATION OF THE CATIBIA FLOUR
(Commercial Cassava flour [“Catibia”] is also available at Caribbean
grocery stores and health food stores.)
- wash the yuca well
- carefully peel away the brown outer skin
- using a hand grater or food processor the yuca must be very finely grated
- squeeze the grated yuca to remove as much of the water and starch as possible
…(a good technique is to first hand squeeze and/or wring out the liquid and then
wrap the grated yuca in a cheese cloth, weigh it down with something that weighs
about 20 pounds and leave it for 10-12 hours.)
- the objective is to make your own flour, which by definition is a “dry ingredient”.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE A DOZEN CASSAVA PASTELITOS or EMPANADAS
- 4 cups of “Catibia” flour
- 2.5 cups room temperature water
( amount will depend on how dry your homemade Catibia flour is)
- 4 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup of picadillo
peanut oil for frying
PREPARATION OF THE CASSAVA PASTELITOS or EMAPNADITAS
1. heat a cast iron skillet until medium hot
2. add Catibia flour and heat it for 6-8 minutes-stirring occasionally.
Remove from pan and allow to cool in a bowl.
3. in another bowl mix together the water, garlic and salt and then add to the bowl of cool flour
making a smooth, form dough.
4. Knead this dough but be careful not to over-knead as yuca four is high in gluten and
the dough will become very tough and elastic. 5 minutes should be enough kneading.
5. When the dough is finished cover with a dry cloth and let it stand on the board you use
to knead it.
6. Lightly oil a flat surface and fool out the dough into thin circles about 4-5 inches wide
and about 1/4 inch thick. These will be a little thicker than the dough circles made with
the all purpose white flour above.
7. Once again place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of a circle, fold in half and seal
with the tines of a fork.
8. These pastelitos can go directly into the hot oil (without firming them up first
in the refrigerator). When golden brown drain and serve.
# Yuca-“Manihot Dulcis”-sweet cassava (not to be confused with American yucca) is a spindle shaped plant
root about 10 inches long that is also known as manioc and cassava. It is tuberous and fibrous and native
to the tropical regions of the new world. Tapioca and laundry starch are made from it among other things.
Make sure you get firm, non stringy, fresh yuca with white, crisp flesh.
NOTE: Commercial Cassava flour is also available at Caribbean grocery stores and health food stores.
The ground meat filling (picadillo) is often substituted with cheese (queso)
or a ground conch (lamb) in Dominican Republic.