Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pastel: Brazilian "not ravioli"

I am going to break my rules a bit here and share something with you that neither you nor I will ever be able to recreate. It might have been from scratch at some point in its Brazilian artisan form, but all of the ingredients arrived on our doorstep on my birthday with my roommate's mother, straight from Sao Paulo. Happy birthday to me! And indeed it is, because our cupboard is now full of 3 suitcases worth of fresh doughs, sausages, dried meats, and I even got some brilliant brazilian nail polish out of the deal. 

We tend to think of frying food as a very greasy affair, but like most things, there is a secret to it: if the oil is the right temperature it creates an immediate seal around whatever is being fried and the outside crisps but the oil is never absorbed. This is why frozen fries, for example, are so greasy. When you throw them into the oil, the temperature immediately drops and since the oil isn't hot enough to seal the potato's outside, it soaks up all the oil. Alternatively, if you "seal" a piece of meat in a frying pan before putting it into a liquid dish, it will keep all the good juices... The result here is a beautifully crisped outside and a tender, soft inside. And a bit less guilt because grease is not draining down your fingers as you eat.

So here we go, Pastel, or "not ravioli" according to Jac, in pictures:

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