In Brazil, pastel is a typical fast-food Brazilian dish, consisting of thin pastry envelopes wrapped around assorted fillings, then deep fried in vegetable oil. The result is a crispy, brownish pastry. The most common fillings are ground meat, mozzarella, heart of palm, catupiry cream cheese, chicken and small shrimp. Pastels with sweet fillings such as guava jam with Minas cheese, banana and chocolate also exist, but are not so common. The pastel is classified in Brazilian cuisine as a salgado (salty snack). It is traditionally sold on the streets or in fast-food shops known as pastelarias. It is popularly said to have originated when Japanese immigrants adapted Chinese fried wontons to sell as snacks at weekly street markets. Italian-Brazilians have said the Brazilian dishes pastel and fogazza originated from fried calzones. It is possible, however, that pastel originated from Indian samosas when the dish became part of the Portuguese cuisine.
RECIPE - Pastel Dough (Massa para Pastel)
Enough for 50 pastels

2.2 lb (1 kg) all-purpose wheat flour
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. chicken broth
1 Tbsp. lard
2 Tbsp. cachaça
2 cups warm water, approximately
Mix the flour and salt, then add the broth and lard. Add the cachaça to the warm water, and add to the dough in 1/4 cup quantities, mixing in thoroughly and stopping just when the dough forms a ball. Do not overmix or add too much water.

Form into a ball, then let rest for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, dough is ready for rolling out, filling and cooking as desired.

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