Pastéis can be filled with savoury or sweet fillings. The dough requires a bit of stretching, so if you own a pasta machine, we suggest you use it to roll out the dough. Just before eating the pastries, pierce a hole in them to allow the steam to escape.






Skill level

Average: 3.9 (8 votes)


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra, to deep-fry 
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) cachaça (see note) 
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar 
  • 600 g (4 cups) plain flour 
  • 185 ml (¾ cup) warm water


Hearts of palm filling

  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 
  • 2 onions, finely chopped 
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped 
  • 2 x 400 g cans hearts of palm (palmitos) (see note), drained, chopped 
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped 
  • 250 g queijo fresco (see note), grated 


Guava paste filling

  • 800 g guava paste (goiabada) (see note) 
  • 480 g queijo fresco 
  • icing sugar, to dust

Cook's notes

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.


Resting time 30 minutes
Drink match For the savoury pastries, try the 2010 Montes Sauvignon Blanc ($9) and for the sweet ones, go with a beer: Dos Equis Lager Especial ($15 for a sixpack).

To make hearts of palm filling, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onions are browned. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes or until tomatoes soften. Remove pan from heat and stir in hearts of palm and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Cool slightly, then stir in cheese.

To make guava paste filling, using a knife dipped in hot water, cut guava paste and queijo fresco into 16 slices each. 

To make dough, whisk together oil, cachaça and vinegar in a small bowl. Combine flour and 2 tsp salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually add cachaça mixture and the warm water to well and stir in flour mixture until mixture forms a slightly stiff dough; add extra water if mixture is too dry. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 8. Working with one piece at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface until a 4mm-thick rectangle. Fold into thirds widthwise, then, working from the centre upwards and rotating dough when necessary, roll out to a 40 cm x 14 cm rectangle. (Alternatively, roll out dough using a pasta machine.) Cut each piece in half to make 2 x 20 cm x 14 cm rectangles.

To fill pastries, spread ¼ cup hearts of palm filling or a slice each of the guava paste and queijo fresco over one half of each rectangle, leaving a 1 cm border. Brush edges with water, fold dough in half over filling and press edges to seal. Crimp edges using a fork. Place on a lined oven tray and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the remaining filling and dough.

Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in batches of two, gently drop pastries into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 4 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Dust guava paste pastries with icing sugar to serve. 


• Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from sugarcane. 
• Hearts of palm (palmitos) are available from Asian and South American food shops.
• Queijo fresco is a soft, mild cow’s-milk cheese available from selected delis. Substitute haloumi.
• Guava paste (goiabada) is available from Portugese, Asian and Indian food shops.



Photography by Brett Stevens.


As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3.