When I saw that week 6 was Brazilian week, I was baffled. I had absolutely no clue what they eat in Brazil. So I did a little research and came across this popular street food. The good thing about pasteis (singular=pastel) is that you can fill them with pretty much whatever you want. You can make them sweet or savory, with any combination of ingredients that tickles your fancy. I decided to research what the most popular fillings are in Brazil and make something up based on that. The result was a delicious mixture of ground beef, tomato sauce and paste, hearts of palm (never had those before; they taste a bit like artichoke hearts to me), corn, and mozzarella cheese. I don’t have the proportions on these, as I just threw everything in the pot with a little of the Emeril Essence I had leftover from the Chicken Marsala I made a couple of weeks ago.
I was informed in my online research that Mexican food stores carry ready-made pastel dough. I’m sure they do in more urban areas, but a trip to Hot Springs left me coming up empty. There was a very nice lady at a Mexican food store who informed me that she and all her comrades make their own dough. Sigh. So I went home and looked up a recipe for pastel dough. Unfortunately, this recipe called for a very specific alcohol that I could not find at any Arkadelphia liquor store.
Me: I’m looking for a very specific type of alcohol. It looks like it would be pronounced Ka-cha-ka. Spelled c-a-c-h-a-c-a.
Liquor Store Guy: What’s that?
Me: Its like a Brazilian rum, but it’s made from sugar cane juice instead of molasses.
Liquor Store Guy: Um. Let me read you what rums we have: Bicardi, Captain Morgan’s…
I eventually had to go to a Colonial Wine and Spirits in Little Rock to find it, and let me tell you, that is the place to go for specialty liquors! It’s huge! I even pronounced Cachaça the right way and the dude knew what I was talking about! So $19 later, I have a bottle of alcohol that I only need 2 tbsp of for the recipe I’m making.
Roll out a small piece of dough to a circle around 6 inches in diameter. Put a scoop of filling (around 2 tbsp) on one half of the circle. Wet the outside of the circle with a little bit of water. Fold the dough over to make a semi-circle and press the edges together with a fork. Fry in hot oil for a few minutes until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and eat while still warm. Unless you’re Les Sellers, and you have to work until midnight.
So what to do the leftover alcohol? Why, make the national cocktail of Brazil, of course! Check out foodnetwork.com for their caipirinha recipes. I looked at all of them and came up with a recipe myself, which wasn’t all that good to me, so I won’t post it. I’m not allowed to drink enough alcohol right now to get a recipe perfect! Here’s a picture of one, though!
Hubby’s rating of Pasteis: 3.5 out of 5. He wanted the dough to be thinner (the fiend!) and thought they would be better with onion and garlic in the filling.
My rating: 4 out of 5 (I would like to experiment more with fillings for this!)
Difficulty rating: 3.5 out of 5. Rolling out the dough is time consuming! And deep-frying is not easy to me.