Aah! Soft, flaky, mouthwatering puff pastry. Just the mention of this heavenly carbohydrate makes me close my eyes and dream of the endless possibilities, like spicy beef puff pastry appetizers, for example. Pastelitos de carne, as they are called in Latin America, are without a doubt one of my favorite snacks. My family loves them too! You can serve them with a side of greens for a light, easy meal.
You can kind of compare these spicy beef puff pastry appetizers to empanadas, although the dough is certainly different. Nevertheless, as far as taste is concerned, not much is lost.
Exercise your self-control!
Now, I must now confess that anytime I make anything with puff pastry I need to exercise the utmost self control. Believe me, when I eat that first one, I can't stop. Indeed, puff pastry treats are my weakness. Confession is so good for the soul. I feel much better now!
When I was growing up, this was one of my favorites snacks. The grocery store my mom shopped at made, in my opinion, the best ones. Every week I would take $o.25 and treat myself to one. These days, with inflation and all, the price is closer to $1.00 which is still a deal! I still buy one to this day whenever I visit home.
Here are some pro tips
I like to brush the bottom round of my spicy beef puff pastry appetizers with an egg wash because it helps keep the two rounds together while baking.
Also, in my opinion, they are much better eaten warm. They do not reheat well.
To season the meat I also use my own chili powder blend. It's so easy to make, and in my opinion it's much better than store bought.
Another tip: I would not freeze after they are baked either. Puff pastry is meant to be enjoyed in the moment, like right out of the oven. You can however assemble them, and then freeze unbaked. They come in handy for a quick snack, or even a light dinner accompanied with a salad.
To make the top nice and shiny, brush with egg wash prior to baking.
Did I ever mention before that I've never attempted to make puff pastry from scratch? It scares me! Well, it just so happens that an old co worker is now teaching cooking classes in her home, and one of the classes was on making puff pastry. I couldn't attend because I was out of town, but another co-worker who attended explained the process to me. Without a doubt, it sounded complicated. For now at least. I will continue to buy it at the store.
Enjoy these spicy beef puff pastries - pastelitos de carne any time of day! I love to eat them accompanied by a cup of coffee.
If you have meat leftover, you can make a batch of nachos or tacos!
If you love Latin food then you have to try some of my all time favorite dishes or bookmark them for later. Here are some of the most popular ethnic dishes, their history and ingredients to make at home.
Mexican Pork Carnitas: Make this in the slow cooker and then broil for crispy goodness.
Cuban Ropa Vieja: A true comfort food of slow cooked beef served over rice. Recaito: This is the ingredient used in many Latin soups, stews and black beans. Sofrito: You need to have this base ingredient for Latin style beans and shredded chicken.
Latin Style Black Beans: If you have never tried these you are missing out and they are so easy!
Spicy Beef Puff Pastries - Pastelitos de carne
Flaky, soft, spicy and delicious. You will love these spicy beef puff pastries - pastelitos de carne. They can be made ahead and frozen prior to baking. Enjoy any time of day. Perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee or as a mid afternoon snack.
Preheat oven to 400'F.
In a non-stick skillet heat oil on medium. Sauté onions, and garlic until translucent.
Stir in the meat and break down into small pieces. Sprinkle in salt, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and nutmeg.
Continue to cook until meat is thoroughly cooked. Stir in the tomato paste and blend well.
Finally stir in the cilantro. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
To assemble puff pastry appetizers:
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place puff pastry sheets on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3" biscuit cutter cut circles. You will end up with 9 circles per sheet.
Place a heaping teaspoon of meat in the center of 9 of the circles. Using a pastry brush , brush egg wash around the perimeter of each circle.
Place the empty round on top, and using the tines of a fork press the edges firmly together.
Brush top with egg wash, and bake for about 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.