Typical of Cuban food, these beef pastries combine savoury and sweet flavours with a glazed crust and a spicy filling. Pastelitos area popular street snack in Cuba, featuring buttery puff pastry filled with meat or fruit pulp
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 green capsicum, finely chopped
- 500 g minced beef
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp allspice
- 125 ml (½ cup) passata (sieved puréed tomatoes)
- 185 ml (¾ cup) beef stock
- 40 g (¼ cup) sultanas
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 12 green olives, pitted, chopped
- 75 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
- 6 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 egg yolks
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat, add capsicum and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Add beef, cumin, cinnamon, oregano and allspice, and cook for 5 minutes or until beef is browned. Add passata, 125 ml (½ cup) stock and sultanas, and cook for 5 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed. Combine remaining 60 ml (¼ cup) stock with cornflour and add to beef mixture. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir in olives and ½ tsp salt. Remove from heat and cool.
To make syrup, place 80 ml water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for a further 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and cool.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Place pastry on a lightly floured work surface, then, using a 9 cm-round biscuit cutter, cut out 32 rounds. Place 2 tbsp filling in the centre of half the rounds, brush edges with water and top with remaining pastry rounds. Press edges together to seal. Place pies on a greased oven tray.
Whisk together egg yolks and 2 tsp water in a small bowl. Brush pies with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes or until light golden. Remove and brush with sugar syrup, then return to the oven and bake for a further 2 minutes or until golden brown. Cool pies slightly, then serve.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.