Beef and Olive Pastéis

Take your taste buds on a trip around the world with these Portuguese hand pies.

by Lori Rice
Recipe: Beef and Olive Pastéis - Photo by Lori Rice (

Pastel (or plural pastéis) is a Portuguese street food that is a cross between an empanada and a hand-pie. The pastry crust is filled with sweet or savory ingredients and deep-fried until crisp and flaky. This recipe is a re-creation of one of the most popular versions—pastel de carne.

Yield: 4 pastéis



  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cold, unsalted -butter, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 to 2 T. cold water, divided
  • 4 cups vegetable oil for frying


  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 large pimento-stuffed green olives

Egg Wash

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  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. water


Place flour, butter and salt in bowl of large food processor. Pulse quickly (about 5 seconds) four to five times, until mixture forms pea-sized crumbles.

Add 1 tablespoon water. Pulse for longer segments (about 10 seconds) three to four times, until dough starts to come together. If dough is dry, add additional tablespoon water and continue to pulse until dough forms ball. Remove dough, shape into ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Brown ground beef in small skillet over medium-high heat, cooking until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. Cut each olive into three slices.

Egg Wash
Whisk egg and water to form egg wash and set aside.

Divide dough in two equal pieces and roll each to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut each into four 3½- by 5-inch rectangles. Place four rectangles on a baking sheet or platter.

Top each with about 1 tablespoon ground beef and three olive slices. Brush edges of rectangle with egg wash. Top with another pastry rectangle. Press edges together with your fingers, and use fork to press and seal edges of pastel. Gently flip over and press fork along edges of bottom side of pastel.

In 4-quart Dutch oven or similarly sized deep pot or pan without a nonstick coating, heat oil to 375 degrees F. Fry each pastel for 2 minutes on each side. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Serve hot.


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