Saturday 16th December, 2006

 

Pastelles...flavour ofChristmas

 
 
 
 
 
Letters
Online Community
Death Notices
 
Advertising
Classified Ads
Jobs in T&T
Contact Us
 
Archives
Privacy Policy
 
 
 

 

A Trini Christmas would lose much of its flavour without pastelles.

I can remember spending many sleepless nights during my childhood helping my mother make pastelles at Christmas time. My job then was to cut the string to length and tie the pastelles. My brother would be in charge of softening the leaves over the fire, and my sister would have the grand job of pressing out the cornmeal dough. Of course, my mother filled and folded the dough.

What a production line it was. And it was worth every minute of lost sleep.

Pastelles have evolved today and many cooks prepare them with various fillings—beef, chicken, soya, vegetable and fish. It’s all a matter of taste, really, and, of course, dietary restraints. Don’t forget though, there’s really no substitute for your banana leaf wrapping. That’s one sure sign of an authentic pastelle.

To prepare fig leaves, steam them in a large pot of boiling water for ten minutes until they become pliable and soft. Or they may be softened by waving them over an open flame.

Cornmeal dough and

pastelle assembly

2 cups yellow cornmeal

3 cups warm water

1/2 cup butter

11/4 tsp salt

In a food processor or by hand, combine cornmeal with butter and salt. Add water and process to make a soft, pliable dough. Divide the dough into 12 balls of dough.

Cover with a damp cloth to prevent drying.Place one piece of dough on a greased fig leaf, and press to an eight inch width.

Spoon two tablespoons filling onto the middle of the dough and fold and seal pastelles.

Wrap in fig leaf and tie into a neat package. Steam pastelles for 45 minutes until cooked.

Makes 12 to 15 pastelles

CRAB AND SHRIMP PASTELLES

Filling

1/2 lb crab

1/2 lb shrimp

3 onions, finely chopped

4 tb olive oil

1 cup chopped chives

1/4 cup chopped fresh Spanish thyme

1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

2 pimento peppers chopped

4 cloves garlic chopped

1/2 Congo pepper, seeded and

chopped, (optional)

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 tbs capers

2 tbs stuffed olives, sliced

1/3 cup raisins

12 nine inch by nine inch sized pieces of

prepared fig leaves.

String to tie pastelles.

Combine shrimp with 1 tb chopped chive and 1/2 tbs thyme. Combine crab meat with 1 tbs chopped chives and 1/2 tbs thyme.

In a large sauté pan heat olive oil. Add onion, garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add pimento, peppers, cook until fragrant. Add shrimp and sauté for about three to four minutes, remove and chop finely, return to pot, add crab meat.

Add tomato sauce and the balance of the thyme and chives. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add raisins, capers and olives and stir to combine.

Cook for about five minutes more, taste and adjust seasoning. Add parsley and stir to combine. Remove from heat and cool. Prepare dough as in recipe above and fill and fold pastelles as indicated.

Makes 12 to 15 pastelles

CHICKEN AND BEEF PASTELLES

Filling

1 lb chopped beef and

chicken or chicken only

2 onions, finely chopped

2 tbs olive oil

1 cup chopped chives

1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme

2 pimento peppers

chopped

4 cloves garlic chopped

1 tbs chopped celery

1/2 Congo pepper, seeded

and chopped,

(optional)

1 tsp freshly ground

black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup tomato sauce

4 tbs Capers

3 tbs stuffed olives, sliced

1/4 cup raisins

2 tbs fresh thyme

Combine beef with chicken. Add salt and black pepper. Add 1/4 cup chopped chives and one tablespoon thyme.

In a large sauté pan heat olive oil, add onion, garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Add pimento peppers, add remaining chive, pepper, and thyme, add meat and cook until brown.

Add tomato sauce cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add raisins, capers and olives and stir to combine.

Cook for about five minutes more, taste and adjust seasoning.

Add two tbs fresh thyme and stir to combine. Remove from heat and cool.

Prepare dough as in recipe above and fill and fold pastelles as indicated.

Makes 12 to 15 pastelles

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Designed by: Randall Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Sheahan Farrell