May 19, 2011

From the Archives: Pastelitos del 25 de Mayo


A couple of years back, I wrote about the tradition of serving pastelitos on the 25th of May.  In that post, I wrote about how my husband, Guillermo, went door-to-door in his little town, selling the puffy little pastries in a sort of rural-Argentina version of the Girl Scouts.   He was trying to raise money to go on a class trip.

Today I bring you the recipe (slightly updated) from the archives for pastelitos, along with a photo from the family archives of Guillermo (the blondie on the left) with his brother Marcos in these rockin' matching applique doggie pantsuits.  I estimate Guillermo to be around seven in this picture–would you have said 'no' if this adorable kid came to your door selling pastries? 

I would have bought two dozen–especially if he had been wearing this outfit!

Today, though the pantsuit is long gone, the tradition of eating pastelitos lives on.  They are simple to make, but they won't last long–the proof being that Guillermo stood around while I was making them asking "Which one is ugly?"

These 'ugly' ones being the rejects that would be styled out of the photo.  He knows he has to wait until 'the blog stuff' is done before he digs in.  Ugly or not–quince filled fried pastry?  Yes, please!

Here, in the photo below, are all the 'pretty' pastelitos.  The not so pretty (though just as tasty) ones are–like the pantsuits and the days of selling pastelitos–are but  a memory.

Next week, in honor of the Argentineans declaring independence (though it took a number of years to achieve it), why not whip up a dozen pastelitos and take your own trip down memory lane?

Pastelitos 006 

Pastelitos del 25 de mayo

Pastries For May 25th

These pastries are served on May 25, the Constitution Day in Argentina, though they are a popular treat at other times of the year, as well.  Serve as a snack or dessert, or for breakfast with cafe con leche.

1 package La Salteña tapas for Pastelitos, or 24 small squares of puff pastry (the size of square won-ton wrappers) or 24 won-ton wrappers (which don't have the same yummy puff-pastry effect, but get the job done!)

6 0z. quince paste (available at Whole Foods or at most Latin Markets, also called Dulce de Membrillo)

vegetable oil, for frying

small cup of water, for sealing the edges

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

sprinkles for cake decorating

Lay out several  tapas on the counter.  Cut the quince paste into small cubes, about 1/2 inch dice.  Place a square of quince paste in the center of each tapa.  Moisten the area around  the quince paste and also the edges around the square with water using your fingertip.  Take a second pastry square and place it over the first one, press lightly around the quince to create a seal and then around the edges of the square, sealing again.  Take the two diagonal corners over the index finger of each hand and meet them in the center, making a boat shape.  Repeat with the other two corners.  The result is all four corners neatly meeting in the center, much like a wonton.

Heat 3/4 inch of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Place four of the pastelitos  in, letting the oil bubble, for a couple of minutes each side, until the shell has turned golden brown.  Using tongs, turn the pastries until each side is equally golden.  Remove to a paper-towel lined plate.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the sugar and the water until the sugar has dissolved.  Raise the heat to high and bring the 'almibar' to a boil.  Let thicken slightly, but not brown.  Remove from heat.  Using a spoon, drizzle the syrup over the top of the pastelitos and then sprinkle with colored sprinkles.

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