“Pastel” is a thin pastry envelope containing minced meat, vegetables, cheese, chicken, shrimp or any another filling and then deep fried. The pizza flavor with cheese, tomatoes and oregano is very popular. Sweet versions also exist and may contain guava jelly and cheese, doce de leite or banana and cinnamon.
It’s a wonderful solution for using leftovers as you can use anything you want as a filling. I never make the dough at home because one can find it available in supermarkets and street markets.
The dough’s secret is the addition of a little Cachaça (Brazilian alcoholic drink) that makes it very crispy. I guess it can be replaced by Vodka. It’s very easy to make pastel at home, so here it goes the recipe for the dough and you can put the filling you want:
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoon of canola oil
1 tablespoon of Cachaça
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
About ½ cup warm water
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, add the oil, the Cachaça and vinegar, then the water, little by little until the dough is homogeneous and smooth, but not wet. Work the dough in a floured surface as you do with fresh pasta. Let it rest a couple of hours or until next day. Roll out the dough so it’s a little thinner than a pie crust. Cut in the size and shape desired, usually its round or square. Put the filling in the center, fold and press the dough together so it won’t open, like when you do raviolis. Deep-fry the pastel in very hot oil, serve hot.