Baked Pastelle Pie

22.10.15 | Recipe by Renz

A one-pan pie, this delicious recipe for Trinidad pastelle pie is a great alternative to making traditional pastelles. This is a baked cornmeal dish with minced meat, olives, and capers and packed with all the flavors of the traditional treat. This casserole dish would have your family rushing for more.

Completed baked pastelle pie, sliced and on a white serving plate along with red tomatoes and chives for garnish.

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Pastelles are a major staple in Caribbean homes around Christmas time. They are hot commodity food times at this time of the year.

Unlike the regular traditional version, this baked pie version is much easier to make. Instead of going through the full painstaking process of making a shell with a savory filling, you can now make a one-pan dish and bake it in the oven.

This dish combines all the flavors in a new, more conventional way.

And if you love savory casseroles, try out my other great corn pie recipe.


What is a pastelle pie?

We went ahead and eliminated the work of making pastelles, and just decided to combine all the flavors in a one-pan dish.

Normally we would be doing a lot of work making meat filling and then making an outer casing and lining up to combine the two.

Heating fig leaf, flattening cornmeal balls, adding seasoned meat, pressing again, wrapping with banana leaves. Then tying and steaming. It's a whole process and our family would have a whole service line to get these made.

The savory mix of the minced meat with the capers and cornmeal bake still reminds you of sitting with family around Christmas time eating these in twos, threes, and sometimes even fours.

Ingredients for pastelle pie

The ingredients list for pastelle pie really mimics that of the traditional pastelle recipe. The additional things help to get the casserole to the texture it needs. Here are a few notes on some of the ingredients:

The ingredients for baked pastelle pie divvied out in their quantities..

  • Ground beef - I try to get ground chuck because it retains more moisture when cooking and it has 15 to 20 percent fat. This is the mix people also use to make burgers.
  • Cream of corn - This helps to give the pie some body and texture.
  • Corn meal - I use fine cornmeal for this. It gives a smoother texture. But you can use any grain of cornmeal just know it will affect the texture.
  • Raisins, Olives, Capers - Please don't leave these out. It really gives this a great flavor. It is best to get pitted olives.
  • Butter - unsalted butter is the best option to control the salt level. If you do use salted butter, make sure to be mindful of the amount of salt you add later down.
  • Pimento peppers (optional)
  • Chadon beni (optional)

Equipment needed for baking this casserole

Preparing pastelles in the oven

This process is a bit of a two-step process. It starts on the stovetop and then moves over to the oven. I've broken the process down into sections for easier processing.

Seasoning the meat:

We want to season up the meat well.

We will use some green seasoning, along with all-purpose, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and fresh thyme.

Mix that up and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. You can also season the meat up the night before making the pie. Just refrigerate it overnight.

Cooking on the stovetop:

Set your stovetop to medium-high heat and using a heavy bottom pan, add your margarine, minced cloves garlic and onions, and cook your onions until opaque.

Add your seasoned meat and combine it with the onions and cook it for about 10-15 minutes.

Add in the creamed corn, combine and cook for another 5 minutes, then lower to medium heat.

Taste for salt, seasonings, and pepper levels here.

The cooked meat mixture used for making pastelle pie
The meat mixture with creamed corn used to make baked pastelle pie.

In another bowl, you can combine your milk, eggs, and cornmeal. You want to make sure you combine this well and it has no lumps. If you have a hand mixer or immersion blender you can use either.

Transfer the cornmeal mixture to the beef mixture in the larger container. Also at this time, you will add in your raisins, olives, and capers.

If you want this to be a smooth pie, then I suggest adding the raisins, etc to your food processor and giving it some pulses.

The cornmeal mixture used to combine with the meat mixture to create baked pastelle pie.
Cornmeal based mixture combine for baked pastelle pie.

Baking the pie:

Once you have a well-combined mixture, add this to a well-greased baking dish.

Bake for 45-55 minutes until it's nicely golden brown. And a knife comes out clean.

If your knife is not clean give it an additional 5-8 minutes of baking time. Then test again. 

Once done, remove from the oven to cool.

Uncooked batter for baked pastelle pie in a large dish.

Variations of pastelle pie

In the same way that we make different types of regular pastelles, you can do this with the casserole version.

You can use whatever meat you like as a filling. Replace the ground beef with pork filling, chicken, or even fish.

Make this vegetarian by using soya chunks.

The best way to store 

This pie keeps well. A lot of my readers use it as part of their meal planning even outside of the Christmas season.

It can be made ahead of any event. It keeps well in the fridge for up to five days. Then should be frozen.

If going to be frozen, I suggest cutting up the pie into pieces, wrapping it in foil, or cling wrap, and put in the freezer.

A slice of a baked slice of pastelle pie.

How to heat up pastelle pie

To reheat from the fridge. Take out your serving of pie, and place it on a microwaveable plate. Warm-up in bursts of 40 seconds until warmed through.

To reheat from the freezer. Remove pieces of pie from the freezer and put them in the fridge overnight. Once it has defrosted and ice disappeared, continue to warm up as though reheating from the refrigerator.

You can also leave it out of the freezer and get it to room temperature, then reheat it.

What to eat with baked pastelle 

This casserole is just about a whole meal. If you want it to be simple, just add some chow chow or pepper sauce as condiments.

If you want this to be a part of a meal, it's great with some stew peas, or with callaloo and a side salad.

An overhead view of two slices of pastelle pie that has been baked and is ready to eat.

Though the traditional recipe is amazing, I love when dishes take on new attitudes. And especially with a lot less work.

Have you had pastelles before? Would you make it into a casserole?

Here are some other Caribbean Christmas items to add to your table:

One-pot dishes are the best: