I am planning and preparing for many upcoming summer parties. Summer entertaining calls for easy entertaining with a lot of it outdoors. I grill most of the food, make some appetizers in advance, like these pastelicos, and finish everything with fresh fruit desserts. I posted this recipe last year, but I thought I would bring it out to the front page with a few new pictures since I made them on Friday.
Pastelicos are triangular borekas with a savory meat and rice filling. As with other Sephardic pastry, you can find versions in different shapes, with different dough and different spice blends. This is the recipe my mother always made, but with the addition of the cinnamon and allspice. A Pastel is a pie in Ladino or Judeo Spanish, and these individual small ‘pies’ use the suffix indicating smallness. Crispy, savory, and beautiful,
3 pounds ground chuck meat
2 large onions finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
½ cup toasted pine nuts (optional
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 and ½ cup to 2 cups water
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup ice water
3/4 cup safflower oil
1 beaten egg
½ cup sesame seeds
Preheat a large sauté pan until hot. Add the oil and then the onions and turn the temperature down to medium. Occasionally stir the onions with a wooden spoon, sauteing on medium heat until sweet and golden. Push the onions aside and add the ground chuck and sauté until browned and starting to stick. As you stir the onions and chuck meat, break it up with your spoons, so it becomes crumbly with no large chunks of ground meat intact.
Stir in the parsley; add the seasoning, and the pine nuts. Next, mix the uncooked rice with the meat and onions. Add the water to cover the mixture and place a lid on the pan. Reduce the heat to low and let steam until all the water is absorbed and the rice cooks, about 15 minutes. Cool the filling down before using. It is best to make it the night before and refrigerate. This much filling will require 2 batches of dough.
For the dough; measure flour into a bowl and add salt. In a two cup glass measuring pitcher, combine the liquids. Beat the liquids with a small whisk to emulsify. Pour liquid into flour and stir with a fork. When dough holds together, use your hands to finish gathering the dough into a ball. All the flour will incorporate and the dough should be soft and pliable. Separate the dough into 42 to 44 walnut size pieces. Roll each small piece into a smooth ball. With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a circle, no bigger then 3 inches in diameter, taking care not to go over the edges with the rolling pin and make them thin.
Preheat the oven to 400º F and prepare 4 rimmed baking sheets. Place 2 to 3 teaspoons of filling in each circle. Close the filled circles by folding the dough in a triangle shape. Place the Pastelicos on the prepared baking sheets. Brush all the Pastelicos with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in oven until golden and crispy about 15 to 17 minutes.
After the Pastelicos cool, they keep well for two days in the refrigerator or I freeze them in airtight containers. Reheat in a 300º F oven for 10-15 minutes to re-crisp.