Pasteis de Massa Tenra – The First Recipe

This was the first “real” recipe I made with only 7 years old (not all by myself), after learning the basics my father thought me one of his favourite recipes: Pastéis de Massa Tenra – a kind of deep fried dumpling.
I recall of beating the dough, tasting the filling and cutting the dumplings with a glass, all the other tasks were more of a watch and learn cooking class. At the end there was flour all over the kitchen! I believe it’s one of the joys of cooking with children.

Even with me helping, we managed to keep some of the dough to make a very special treat – little dumplings filled with tomato jam (my mom’s idea to not trash any dough). Nowadays I always add 1/2 recipe to be sure I have enough dough for the sweet version.

Pasteis Massa Tenra
Deep fried Pasteis Massa Tenra
A sweet treat: filled with tomato jam.
My sweet version: filled with tomato jam.

This is a very flexible recipe, as you can do the “pastéis” smaller and serve them as a snack/tapas at a party, or you can do the regular size ones and serve with a salad or rice to have a complete meal. It’s also one of many ways to use meat leftovers.

Roll up your sleeves and let’s get started!
I always thought that the way you feel reflects on your cooking, on a bad day your recipe will not come as good as on a good and cheerful day. However in this recipe we do need some of that bad day anger, there’s a dough that needs to be beaten.
For the dough:
250 gr of Flour
150 ml of Water
2 Tbsp of butter

1. Place the flour on top of your kitchen counter, open a hole
2. Warm the water enough to be tepid
3. Dissolve the salt in the water, add the butter.
4. Pour the water inside the hole and gently mix with the flour
5. Beat the dough for 5 minutes. (punches are allowed)
6. Let it rest for 1 hour

For the filling (made from scratch):
500g of beef
200g of chouriço (portuguese chorizo)
1 big onion
50 ml of Olive oil
200 ml of milk
2 Tbsp of flour
Salt and pepper

1. Peel and cut the onion
2. On a press cooker place the onion, the olive oil, the beef and the chorizo (remove the skin). Let it cook for about 45 minutes.
3. Let it rest. As soon as it is at room temperature, process the beef, chorizo and onion on a food processor.
4. Keep the meat juices in the press cooker. Add the meat mixture. Stir in the flour. Add the milk.
5. Take it to a medium heat and let the mixture become ticker.
6. It’s ready when it loses itself from the pan.
7. Let it cool.

For assembling the dumplings:
1. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough.
2. Place a small spoonful of the filling into the center, fold over, cut using a glass (or a biscuit cutter). And press together with your fingers.
3. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough and filling.

For frying:
Oil to deep fry the “pastéis”.

You may know another kind of Portuguese deep fry dumpling – Rissóis – but only the shape it’s similar; the dough, the filling and the breadcrumb crust makes it very different.

Do you remember what was your “first” recipe?

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