This is the second type of pastelle made in Trinidad. Trinidad Flour pastelle has its crowd of fans of which my wife would be part. She just loves flour pastelles, and sometimes we could go on and on debating which is the better of the two types, but I stand firm with my cornmeal pastelle.
Trinidad Flour Pastelle: Another Option
Now my wife explained her reason why they made flour pastelle, instead of cornmeal pastelle, at home and you will find it quite interesting. Her father said that long time they ate so much corn during the year in the form of cachapas, boi dumpling, paime (pronounced: pay-me) etc. that when Christmas came, flour was a welcomed change. He even said that cornmeal was such a mainstay in all the homes in the village that every morning, very early, you would hear everyone grating corn to make cornmeal. So now because of his experience he doesn’t like too much of anything with cornmeal. That reason sounds reasonable enough and I understand.
Making Trinidad Flour Pastelle
Recently my mother in law and my wife made their beloved flour pastelle and of course I got to take out some photos. In the end I must say that it came out good; the dough was nice and thin and the filling had just the right amount of seasoning and not too much salt. Even the roucou coloured the meat to give the pastelle a light yellow tinge that could make you feel that it was a cornmeal pastelle. My mother-in-law also agreed that the flour pastelles made that day tasted superbly.
So what’s the verdict now? Well I have to admit that the flour pastelles went down great probably because we were not making a lot that day, so we took our time to press the dough really thin, but there have been times I got flour pastelles from people that tasted like dumpling with meat. As it stands now I can safely say that any properly made pastelle, be it cornmeal or flour, tastes great and I would enjoy a few, but between you and me I still feel a little partial to cornmeal pastelles since flour pastelles were never made at our home. Anyhow here’s flour pastelle, another Trini Christmas favourite.
3 cups flour
3 tbsp. cookeen margarine
2 cups water
2 packs mince meat (any meat of your choice)
5 cloves garlic
4 bundles chive
3 big thyme
1 small bundle cilantro
1 tsp. paprika, parsley
1 bouillon cube (beef or chicken) seasoning (optional)
2 tsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. golden ray margarine (optional)
2 tbsp. capers (optional)
2 tbsp. raisins (optional)
8 olives chopped finely (optional)
3-4 tbsp. roucou
pepper and salt to taste
2 – 3 large fig (banana) leaves (see cornmeal pastelle to view the method of heating the leaves over the stove top to make them pliable)
String to tie
Prepare the filling:
Mix the seasoning and the meat. You may marinate the meat overnight or for a few hours. Then, place in a heavy pot to cook until brown. Add the Roucou, tomato paste, and golden ray margarine.
Add a little pepper sauce to taste. (Note: you can use instead 1 hot pepper, finely chopped). When done, remove from fire and set aside to cool.
In a deep bowl, sift the flour and cut in the cookeen margarine.
Mix and slowly add the water until a soft dough is formed.
Leave to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
Cut the dough into small pieces and roll into 2 inch diameter balls.
Place each on a clean dry towel.
Cover and leave to rest for another 5 minutes.
Grease the 2 square banana leaves on the smooth side only and place on the pastelle press. Place one rolled dough in the centre on the first leaf. Press the second greased leaf over the dough. Remove the top leaf.
Fold the leaf carefully.Smooth out the folded leaf before tying. This helps to even out the filling.
Tie the parcels, make sure the leaf is well tucked under the string.Repeat the process.
This recipe should make about 30 pastelles. Cook the pastelles in hot water. (You can also steam the pastelles in a double boiler). Cook the pastelles in hot water. (You can also steam the pastelles in a double boiler). Boil for about 25-30 minutes. Drain and serve hot.
You can also freeze pastelle and heat before serving.
Flour pastelles ready to serve.
If you can’t find banana leaves, especially in America, I was told that you can buy them frozen at Asian shops, so you can try there. Alternatively, you can also use aluminum foil or parchment paper. I still think that you should look for frozen banana leaves first before resorting to the foil.Now you have two marvelous and popular recipes for pastelles from Trinidad and Tobago; flour and cornmeal. My challenge to you is to make both types and tell me which one tastes better in your opinion. This should be interesting…. Bye for now and keep those comments coming.