How to make Trinidad Pastelle

Overview of Trinidad Pastelle on a plate
Trinidad Pastelle in a plate cut in half
Close up of a Trinidad Pastelle cut in half
Trinidad Pastelle on top of banana leaf
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Trinidad Pastelle is a savory cornmeal pie filled with meat, fish or vegetables. For an alternative vegetarian version, you can use soya. Trini Pastelle is wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf. It is traditionally eaten during the Christmas season.

Trinidad Pastelle is known to have been introduced by the Spanish colonists who ruled Trinidad and Tobago between the late 15th and early 18th centuries. Trini Pastelle is closely related to Tamales, but the main difference is Tamales are made with corn masa only. The sweet version of Trinidad Pastelle is called Trinidad Paime.

This Trinidad pastel recipe requires some special ingredients and tools which we have listed here:

Author: Classic Bakes Editorial Team
Average: 4.6 (35 votes)
Prep Time
60 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
85 mins


Cornmeal Skins


Add the meat to a bowl and season with chive, onions, thyme, culantro, garlic, hot pepper, black pepper, and salt
Meat in a bowl with seasoning added
Brown the sugar and oil in a pot, add seasoned meat. Add ketchup, Worcestershire Sauce, pimentos, cook and stir using a wooden spoon until tender and soft.
Browning the sugar and oil in a pot
When meat is tender, remove from heat. Mix in capers as well as chopped olives and raisins and set aside.
Caper, chopped olives and raisins added to meat in a pot
Cornmeal Dough
In a mixer, melt butter in hot water. Fitted with a paddle, add cornmeal, sugar, pimentos, Maggi, and salt. Run-on slow speed for 2 minutes. You may need to add more hot water to keep the dough soft.
Melted butter in a pot and added rest of ingredients like cornmeal, sugar, pimentos, Maggi, salt.
Make round balls 60 grams each and cover with plastic or a damp cloth (if necessary, slightly spritz with water to keep moist)
10 round balls 60g each on a board
Cooking & Folding Pastelles
Cut the aluminum foil into 10" x 10" squares. Grease the foil very well with butter so that the dough does not stick to the foil.
Square aluminum foil greased well
In a pastelle press, place the dough on the leaf on top of the foil and flatten it. Place one piece of the foil on the table and then place 2 pieces of the banana leaf alternative (or 1 big banana leaf) on top of this foil. The 2 leaves should be side by side. Then place the flattened dough in the center of the 2 leaves. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the dough. Now fold over the foil onto itself. Keep folding over the edges as shown in this video: How to press and fold a Trinidad Pastelle
2 table spoons of pastelle filling added to a flattened dough on a banana leaf on top of foil
Steam for 25 minutes. Then serve and enjoy.
A few pastelles wrapped in foil and steaming in pot

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Trinidad Pastelle, pastelle, Trini Pastelle, trini christmas snack, christmas, tamales, pastel, fig leaf

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