Brazilian Pastel - 3 Fillings
Serves: 30 pastéis
Pastel Dough:
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cachaça
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Ground Beef Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ⅓ cup olives, sliced
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley
Creamy Hearts of Palm Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 1 (14 ounces) can hearts of palm, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup chopped olives
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
Cheese Filling:
  • 8 ounces cheese (you can use mozzarella, cheddar, provolone or whatever cheese you fancy!), sliced or cubed
Making the dough:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a hole in the middle and add the water, oil, vinegar and cachaça. Mix well, using your hands, then transfer to a flour dusted surface and knead until the dough is smooth, elastic and no longer sticking to your hands or counter. Cover with a towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Ground beef filling:
  1. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the olive oil and then sauté the onion and garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it into a few large pieces with a wooden spoon. Let the meat brown without moving it for a few minutes.
  3. Break the beef into smaller pieces and continue browning. Do not stir continuously, so the moisture can evaporate and allow the meat to brown. The meat might release some water. Just continue cooking until all the water has evaporated, as excess moisture might make the pastéis soggy.
  4. Once the beef is evenly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add the olives and parsley, then remove from heat. Reserve.
Creamy Hearts of Palm Filling:
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the flour and stir to incorporate. Then add the milk and whisk until it thickens into a cream.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, hearts of palm and olives. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Add the chopped parsley and mix to combine. Reserve.
Assembling the pastéis:
  1. Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll out one of the halves as thinly as you can (about a 9 by 12-inch rectangle), without tearing the dough. Using a round cookie cutter (I use a 4-inch), cut about 15 circles of dough and reserve on a baking sheet, over parchment paper. You can also cut them into rectangles, as small or big as you'd like.
  2. Place a couple of tablespoons (or cubes/slices of cheese) of the desired filling on each circle and then fold into a semi circle, pressing the edges shut. Using a fork, pinch them together all the way around.
  3. Roll out the reserved dough and repeat the steps above.
  4. Heat a deep saucepan with enough oil to cover the pastéis to about 350F (hot but not smoking). Cook the pastéis in batches until crisp and golden brown, flipping once, about 2 minutes.
  5. Transfer to paper towels and serve immediately!
Depending on the size of your pastéis, you might end up with extra filling. You can freeze it to use in the future or make another batch of dough to make more pastel! I've also used extra heart of palm filling to make empadinhas. :)

You can cut the pastéis into the classic, street version, rectangles, or the bar, smaller version, half circles (pictured in this post).

The dough is elastic enough that you won't have a problem sealing the corners, but you can also use some cold water to help. Pressing the edges with a fork guarantees that the pastéis won't open when frying!
Recipe by Olivia's Cuisine at