Skip to main content

Pastelicos (Meat and Rice Filled Sephardic Pastry)


A Pastel is a hand pie in Ladino (Judeo Spanish), and these individual small pies use the suffix indicating smallness. Think of Pastelicos as meat-and-rice filled borekas. Other Sephardim make similar pastries such as meat Sambusak. Unlike cheese borekas, which are half moon shaped, pastelicos are triangular or round with little caps.

Be sure to plan to serve more than one per person. The filling amount in this recipe is for two batches of dough. Make one batch of dough, fill and bake the Pastelicos, and then make the second batch of dough to use up the filling. Filling (gomo) is best made the night before and refrigerated. 

Some communities add additional flavorings to their Pastelicos, my Nona liked lots of black pepper and parsley but you could try, cinnamon, allspice, Baharat, or cumin.   

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 90Servings


Dough: (double the amounts for 2 batches)

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ice water
  • 3/4 cup safflower oil


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 pounds ground chuck meat
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup long-grain white rice


  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/ 2 cup sesame seeds (regular white, not toasted)


1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. When hot, add oil to pan and then add onions. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon, sautéing until the onions turn golden. Season the onions with salt, pepper to taste. Push the onions aside in the pan, turn heat up to high, add ground chuck and sauté until browned and starting to stick. As you stir onions and chuck meat, break the meat up with your spoon so it forms small crumbles. Adjust seasoning if needed.   

2. Stir parsley and rice into meat mixture. Add 1 cup of water to cover the meat and rice; cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low, and let steam until water is absorbed and rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool the filling before using.

Refrigerate overnight in a covered bowl.   

3. Place flour in a medium bowl and add salt. In a two-cup glass measuring cup with spout, whisk together ice water and oil to emulsify. Slowly pour the liquid into flour, stirring with a fork. When dough holds together, use your hands to gather the dough into a ball. The dough should be soft and pliable.

4. Divide dough into 42-48 walnut-size pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a smooth ball. When all are rolled, use a rolling pin to roll each ball into a circle, no larger than 3-inches in diameter, taking care not to roll over edges of circles, or the edges will be thin and the centers thick.

5. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with Silpats or parchment paper. Place about two teaspoons of filling in each circle. Close the filled circles by folding dough in a triangle shape or pinching the edges into a triangle with a rope edge (repulgo). Place Pastelicos on baking sheets. Brush all Pastelicos with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until golden and crispy, about 15-17 minutes. Repeat with second batch of the dough to use the remaining filling.

After Pastelicos cool, they keep well for two days in the refrigerator. Or freeze them in airtight containers or freezer bags. Reheat in a 300° F oven for ten to fifteen minutes to recrisp.

Recipe posted with permission from Sephardic Baking from Nona and More Favorites: A Collection of Recipes For Baking Desayuno And More.