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Pastel de Picadillo CubanoIt’s the time of year when the buffet table is front and center for many celebrations. At least at The Goddess’s house, it is.  And The Latin Lover has been eating all sorts of good Cuban food in Miami and he’s returning for the holidays…his gift to me, whether he knows it or not!  This Pastel de Picadillo Cubano is perfect for him.Anyway, The Goddess and The Lover thrive on this kind of entertaining and she’s noticed that most people seem to enjoy a good buffet.  It can be varied in an infinite number of ways and with an infinitely diverse number of cold and hot foods.  It should be a way of life!  This Pastel de Picadillo Cubano is perfect for that.  It’s also a great make-and-take option.

If this sounds familiar, it should be.  This is a riff on the Pastel de Pollo Cubano that graced this space recently (which is an equally good choice for a buffet or any table).  While The Goddess is totally smitten with that option, she thought Pastel de Picadillo Cubano might be equally good.  And oddly enough, she was right.  It doesn’t happen often, so she’s sort of reveling here.  Bear with her…it’s the Season of kindness.

Just so you’re prepared, you’ll be seeing more Cuban or Latin-flavored dishes beginning to appear in this space.  The Goddess has a tendency to work with the flavors that are in her current environment.  You may have noticed that she likes to try new flavor combinations and Miami will offer her a plethora of options.

I had been thinking about making some Picadillo Cubano and the pastel dough is easily prepared, so why not combine them?  This is a nice alternative to the chicken version, and would be great to serve on Boxing Day (for our English and Canadian friends) and Super Bowl Sunday…I tell ya’, men love this dish.  It’s meat and dough…think about it!  And, you can make it ahead of time, as it’s great at room temperature or warm room temperature.

Pastel de Picadillo Cubano (Cuban Meat Pie)I’ve given you the crust recipe below, but it’s the same one from the Pastel de Pollo Cubano.  I’ve given you a very simple version of Picadillo Cubano, slightly different from Mexican Picadillo.  I did add some frozen corn, which I liked.  This goes together like the Pastel de Pollo, and bakes for about 20-25 minutes, but do watch it, as the amount of oil in the crust tends to make it brown very quickly.  Since the filling is completely cooked, you just need the crust to be cooked through.  If you need to, lay a piece of foil on top.

Pastel de Picadillo Cubano

  • Servings: 6-12
  • Difficulty: Moderately Easy
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For the pastry:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon of water (egg wash) for the filling

Picadillo Cubano:

  • 1 lb ground lean chuck (or 1/2 ground pork, 1/2 ground beef)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons Spanish olives, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons very finely minced raisins or whole currants
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1-2 teaspoons cider or Sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (I like Mexican oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn (optional)

To prepare the pastry:  In a large mixing bowl, dump in the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the flour, pour in the milk and oil; stir to blend. Drop out on the counter and knead by hand to form a smooth dough, 3 to 5 minutes. Shape the dough into two round discs, (one slightly large than the other) wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

Prepare the Cuban Picadillo:  In large non-stick sauce pan, add meat and break up using fork; stir in the onions.  Cook until the meat is browned, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 minutes.  Add all other ingredients and stir. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15-20 minutes until all flavors meld and the mixture is just moist, not soupy.  Stir the corn in at the end of cooking; let cool to room temperature or make the day before serving and chill.

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

To make the pie:  Roll out the slightly larger disc on a lightly floured board to a 11-inch round, about 1/8 inch thick; this will be the bottom crust.  Fit into a 9-inch pie plate.  Fill with the cooled (or cold) picadillo, brushing the edge with water.  Roll out the remaining dough and place on top of the filled pastry, pressing down along the edge to seal.  Brush the egg wash over the top crust.  Make 4 slits in the center of the pie.  Place in the preheated oven and bake until lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes or to room temperature; slice and serve.

Pastel de Picadillo Cubano Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015.  All rights reserved.

Pastel de Picadillo CubanoIt was good.  The Latin Lover hasn’t tried it yet, so we’ll have to wait to see what he thinks, but others enjoyed it.  I will definitely make it again.  I think The Three Progeny may like it, too.