This pie is a twist to a traditional Caribbean dish we call Pastelles. Pastelles are a major staple in Caribbean homes (especially Trinidad and Tobago) around Christmas time. They are prime food items, only offered to those deemed worthy to get this little cornmeal wrapped prizes stuffed with minced meat.
Why are these such precious commodities?
Pastelles are the most painstaking things to make. It involves heating banana leaves to make it pliable, having a press to flatten cornmeal balls, adding meat, pressing again and wrapping in banana leaves and tying. I remember those times my mom needed to call out her army (my aunts and cousins) so that we could make a service line to get them done. I always wanted to hide. If you want to see a video of the process you can check it out here (fast forward to the 5.59 mark)
And what makes it worse? You spend all day making these things for us to sit and eat them morning, noon and night. Finishing way too soon for the amount of work that has to be put in to make them.
Then my aunt, who is as much as a foodie as I am, introduced me to a MUCH easier version that I cannot even consider an alternative as I think it holds it's weight to the "traditional" process.
The pie does not require an army of friends and family to make it even though they will want to eat it.
Instead of taking a day and a process line to make this pie, it's quite easily a mix, a stir, and a bake.
The taste of the traditional pastelle is not lost. The savory mix of the minced meat with the capers and cornmeal bake still reminds you of sitting with family around Christmas time eating these in twos, threes, sometimes even fours.
I love when traditional dishes take on new attitudes.
Have you had pastelles before? Puerto Ricans also do pastelles though a bit different
Baked Pastelle Pie
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Keywords: bake entree side minced beef cornmeal Christmas Caribbean
Ingredients (serves 6 - 8)
- 1 lb minced meat, seasoned
- 1/2 lb margarine
- 2 small onions
- 1 tin cream of corn (14 oz)
- 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Raisins, olives, capers.
Heat stove to 350 degrees
Heat pan on medium high heat
Add margarine and onions to pot, cook until onions are opague
Add minced meat to pot and stir, for about 10 minutes
Add creamed corn and cook for another 5 minutes
In a bowl mix eggs, milk and cornmeal until smooth
Remove meat from stove
Add cornmeal mix to meat mixture
Mix in raisins, olive and capers
Add salt and pepper to taste
Pour mixture into ungreased baking dish and bake for 45 minutes
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