Pastelon recipe


This is a very traditional version of pastelón. There are easier versions that use cooked and mashed plantains in place of the sliced and browned plantains, but I figure that if you’re going to go, you may as well go all the way. There is one little shortcut I found that doesn’t compromise the quality: baking the slices to a golden brown rather than panfrying them, which is usually how it’s done. While the plantains are baking, you’re free to put the picadillo filling together and let it cool. Even so, pastelón is still an undertaking, make no mistake about it. And it isn’t exactly light. But, then again, this isn’t everyday food it’s a dish for very special occasions.

  • Yield: 12 Servings Buffet
  • Preparation Time: 2 Minutes
  • Cooking Time: 1 Hour


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 9 fully ripe plantains
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 12 extra-large eggs, well beaten
For the Picadillo
  • 1½ pounds ground beef, pork, or turkey
  • 1 cup Sofrito
  • ¼ cup alcaparrado or coarsely
  • chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground cloves (if using beef or pork)
  • Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup raisins (optional)
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray the paper with cooking spray.
  2. Peel the plantains and cut them on a sharp diagonal into ½-inch slices. The slices should be about 3 inches long (they’ll be shorter near the ends). Line up as many of the plantain slices as will fit in a single layer side by side on the prepared baking sheets and spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake until well browned on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Pile the plantain slices up on a plate to cool. Repeat as necessary with the remaining plantains.
  3. While the plantains are baking, make the picadillo: Spray a large deep skillet with cooking spray and set over high heat. Crumble the ground beef into it and cook, stirring, until all traces of pink are gone, about 4 minutes. Add the sofrito and cook, stirring, until the liquid from the meat and sofrito has evaporated and the mixture is sizzling, about 6 minutes. Add the alcaparrado, tomato paste, cumin, cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat so the tomato paste doesn’t stick to the pan and burn, and cook, stirring, until the tomato paste changes color, a minute or two.
  4. If necessary, spoon off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup water, raise the heat to medium, and bring to a boil. Stir in the raisins if using, and add salt and pepper if you think they’re needed. Remember, you want a well-seasoned picadillo to balance the sweetness of the plantains. Set aside to cool.
  5. Assemble the Pastelon
  6. Grease the bottom and sides of a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with the butter, then pour the oil over the butter. Using half the plantains, cover the bottom of the pan with concentric circles of overlapping plantain slices (see photos, opposite). Spoon the picadillo over the plantains and smooth into an even layer. Using the remaining plantains, cover the picadillo (as you covered the bottom of the pan) with concentric circles of overlapping plantain slices. The pastelón can be assembled up to an hour in advance and kept at room temperature covered with a damp kitchen towel or several thicknesses of damp paper towels.
  7. Heat the skillet over medium-low heat just until you can hear sizzling. Reduce the heat to low and very slowly pour the beaten eggs around the edges of the pan and over the top of the pastelón pour in as much of the eggs as you can without overfilling the pan. Run a heat-resistant spatula around the edges of the pan, separating the plantains and picadillo from the sides of the pan and letting the eggs from the top seep in, making room for more eggs. Add the remaining eggs while continuing to run the spatula around the edges of the pan until the pastelón has “drunk up” the rest of the eggs.
  8. Set the skillet in the oven and bake until the pastelón is bubbling around the edges and the center is set, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. If left in the pan, the pastelón will stay warm enough to serve for up to an hour. Unmold it just before serving.
  9. To serve, run a thin knife around the edges of the pan to make sure the pastelón isn’t sticking to the pan. The pastelón can be served directly from the pan, which is easiest to do with an offset spatula. Or for a more dramatic presentation, invert the pastelón onto a serving platter: Choose a large round serving platter if it has a rim, the “well” of the plate should be at least an inch or two wider than the pan. Put the platter upside down over the pastelón. With pot holders or oven mitts, grasp the pan handle with one hand and use the other hand to clamp the platter in place over the pastelón. Invert the pan and the platter be brave, and use one quick motion. Leave the pan in place for a few minutes, then gently lift it off. If any of the plantains have stuck to the pan, simply scrape them off and replace them on top of the pastelón. Cut into wedges using a very sharp knife and a gentle sawing motion.

Leave A Reply

%d bloggers like this: