This recipe is very special to me because I grew up eating it at my grandma’s house. I remember getting very excited every time my grandma used to call and said: “This Sunday I’m going to make pastel”. That means homemade dough, with all kinds of filling and what I loved the most was that they were very full with fillings. Usually, when you buy it at the store we joke around calling it “air pastel” wich means it’s basically only the fried dough, nothing else inside. lol
When we went to Brazil I couldn’t wait to introduce Marilyn to this delicious Brazilian “junk food”. She tried it with all different fillings like: cheese, chicken, ground beef and shrimp. But what I really wanted was for her to try a homemade one. After months of planning, finally we put this plan in action and we made some using my grandma’s pot. By the way, there’s a very funny story about that. My grandma wanted to give us all kinds of things for me to bring to the USA: food, clothes, pots, paints, etc, etc…. I would be here all day listing it all! lol And my answer was: no, I can’t…because of immigration …. So, when we got home, opening the luggage with Marilyn, she looks at me and showed me this pot plus a few things…. lol I couldn’t believe that they both conspired against me…. But I am so glad they did it!! And I am so glad I can keep the tradition going to make homemade pastel using my grandma’s pot (she has been using the same one for so many years) and have Marilyn supporting, making and enjoying the food that says everything about me. It’s an amazing feeling of gratitude!! I feel so thankful and lucky!!
This recipe is super easy and cheap. Just in case if you don’t want to make the dough from scratch, in every Brazilian or Latino store you will find the dough and the only thing you have to do is add the filling, close and fry it. Here is one of the types you can look for. Just be careful because I saw at a Latino store a type of dough that’s only for baking. I never used it… So, I have no idea how it works.
About the filling …I used a Mexican white cheese (it’s the closest thing to Brazilian cheese I could find) but you can use whatever you want. I also made a sweet one with dulce de leite that was amazing. I hope you like it! Let me know!!
The “secret ingredient” which guarantees a crispy and flaky pastel is the cachaça, the Brazilian sugar cane liquor.
3 cups of flour
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon (dessert) salt
3 spoon (soup) of oil
1 spoon (soup) of cachaça
Oil for frying
Mix together the dry ingredients and create a well in the bowl. Add water, oil and cachaça into the well and gradually mix together, adding more flour or water is needed. Dough should be soft and dry. Knead and let rest for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into small amounts to put through the pasta machine.
Roll it out to between 5-6 on your pasta machine (depends on your machine). You do not want the dough too thin or it will break during frying. Cut into 5-6 inch lengths. Put fillings in the middle and fold the pasta over.
Seal the edges with water and crimp with a fork.
Let sit for 5 minutes before frying. Fry until golden brown.
We have a video on our Instagram.
Beijos e Tchau!
Marilyn Chudda and Ludmilla