I haven’t been shy about my love of Brazilian food (and yes, I realize this may sound like a strange way to start a post with “wontons” in the title…). One of my favorite street foods in Brazil is something called a pastel. It’s a scrumptious little pastry filled with savory things like cheese and/or meat, or sweet, filled with things like chocolate, bananas, or jelly. They’re similar in theory to an empanada, or these meat pies, but the dough is entirely different and not nearly as thick. The first time I tasted a pastel I had an out of body experience, and they quickly became my favorite little guilty pleasure while living in Brazil. Although these little fried wonton pillows aren’t exactly the same, they’re somewhat similar in taste and texture so that’s why I love to make them so much! If you happen to have a Brazilian or Latin market nearby, you may be able to find actual pastel dough. Wontons tend to be a bit crispier than traditional pasteis, but they still taste yummy.
I often have leftover wonton wrappers when I’m making a recipe that calls for them (like this Wonton Salad or these Potstickers). Or if not, then I make sure to save a few to make this little treat. I’ve mentioned before that I rarely fry things at home, but every once and a while it’s a fun thing to do. My kids think these are so cool.
This isn’t rocket science, you can use a spoonful of nutella, a little peanut butter and a few chocolate chips, a slice of banana and some cininamon sugar, etc. What I did is take a big scoop of cream cheese and microwave it until it was easy to stir. I added a couple spoonfuls of powdered sugar and a few drops of almond extract. In each wonton I put in about a teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture and a little dollop of raspberry jam.
Fry in a pan with vegetable oil according to package directions. It’s usually about 375 degrees. You can test it by dipping the edge of the wonton in and seeing if it bubbles up quickly. After they are golden brown (it just takes a few seconds on each side) remove from oil, letting the excess drip off into the pan, and then immediately place in a bowl of cinnamon sugar and coat on all sides.
For an equally delicious savory option, fill with mozzarella cheese and dip in marinara sauce. And if you want something authentically Brazilian to wash it down with, try this lemonade!