Thursday, May 17, 2012


Thank you Puerto Rico for pastelillos!  Here is the story behind why I wanted to recreate these little pockets of love!

Where we used to live in NJ, we had a Flea Market every week.  A food truck guy named "Fat Daddy" used to come and serve these along with many other items.  These were our favorite.  I don't even know if Fat Daddy was Puerto Rican, but does it really matter?  He made these so good!  It has been a long time since we have had the originals but I decided to recreate our favorite filling.

I had to call 10 Spanish food markets in the city to find the correct dough "discos".  I knew I had seen Goya ones and ended up having to call Goya direct to find who they supplied in this city.  When I got her on the phone it was a disaster and when Geo and I got there, well, finally found them and I was ready to go!  I suppose there are other brands.  I suppose you could make this dough homemade.  I suppose I would rather hang myself by my eyelids.  Sometimes it isn't about having to have everything homemade, it is about putting it all together to create something amazing!

I hope you are sitting down.  Oh wait, you probably are.  My husband said only ONE thing could have made these better.   Drum roll please........ONIONS!  WHAT?  I almost went bat crap crazy on him!  I left the onions out FOR him and now he wants onions?  Where was my REAL husband?  The one who hates onions so much words can't express.  Wow.  So.  I will write this up with onions though ours didn't have any.  Pfftt.  (scratching my head) I still don't get that he WANTED onions.  Anyway, the fillings for these are endless.  They are a Puerto Rican version of an empanada.  Plain and simple.  I can't imagine there is anything you can't put in them!  I would get the plain discos if you are planning something sweet though.  The ones I used and Fat Daddy used were a reddish, orange color.  I assume turmeric is the culprit but honestly I didn't remember look at the package that close!

This recipe will make 20.  It seems like alot but I would say 2 or 3 would be a serving.

2 lbs ground beef
1/2 lb white American cheese (use any cheese you like)
3 envelopes Adobo Consazon
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 cup finely minced onion  (could use dehydrated onion too)
2 pkgs Goya Discos (dough discs)

In a skillet, brown your hamburger and onions.  As it is browning add in adobo and garlic powder.  Drain in a colander if needed and get an assembly line going.  I used only half a piece of cheese because it is all that really fit and honestly it was perfect.  Use an entire piece if you feel so inclined.

Lay out your discos and on one half lay down your cheese, some ground beef and using a bowl of water, wet the edges with your finger, fold in half and pinch together.

Use a fork to fully seal the edges.  It is slightly time consuming but so well worth your effort.  My husband decided to come help halfway through and sealed half of it up turn it so it was going up and down and would put in more meat.  His were way fatter than mine, and they were better.

Here they are!  All done and ready to fry!  Using 2 inches of peanut oil in a pan, heat to 360 degrees.  When it is hot enough put in 1 or 2, you don't want to overcrowd you pan, it will be the temperature of the oil down and you will soak up all that greasy oil instead of frying properly in it.  They cook literally 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side!  They are so fast!  Drain on racks or paper towels.  Here is what you get on the inside when they are done!

They were so good, we just sat and reminisced.  I love recreating foods we have eaten that we love.  Culinary memories.......ahhhh.

We decided we needed a dipping sauce.  Let me know what YOU think these should be dipped in the comments below!  

Your "pastelillos lovin' what can I put in it next"chefwannabe


  1. A white cheese Jalepeno sauce would be good!

  2. Wow! These look insanely delicious. And I love anything fried. I am loving the suggestion for jalapeno sauce. I might go for a spicy homemade tomato sauce with lots of chili flakes.

  3. omg!!! thank you soooo much!! I've been searching yeaaarrssssss literarly yeeeaaarrrssss for this!!!!

  4. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS! I wouldn't need to dip these babies in anything, salivating....

  5. There's a sauce I make for fried platanos( plantains) that's delicious and would go great with these too. mix together a little Mayonaisse,ketchup,garlic powder,and a little hot sauce( I use Frank's red hot sauce), just enough to add a little spice.Yumm.

  6. My family (also Puerto Rican) does small cut beef and potatoes. Instead of all that sazon (lots of sodium) 1 pack with peppers (sauteed with meat). Then add Goya tomato sauce to cook the potatoes. Use a slotted spoon to drain off the sauce so you don't get soggy. I recommend microwaving the potatoes a little while cooking your beef to save some time

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Nicole, I will have to give them a try. When I did this recipe I was trying to recreate a particular version we had eaten before and always got at our local flea market. Yes the sazon does have a lot of sodium, precisely why this is only an occasional treat but I am excited to try your way next time I make them!! I LOVE when you guys share your versions or recipes or change ups to my recipes. Thanks for reading Nicole!!!