Several baking recipes are very difficult to perfect when you are an inexperienced baker. I love cooking and baking, but making dough is truly an art that is not for me. It takes motivation and lots and lots of patience to make puff pastries for Haitian Patties.
Why the title of the recipe is different?
A reader asked me for a Haitian Patties recipe months ago. I declined, hoping to master puff pastry first. I planned to build up my muscles to roll out the dough, but never did. LOL! I didn’t realize how impatient and unmotivated I would be to perfect my dough-making skills. I don’t mean to complain, but I’m baffled at how effortlessly bakers make and roll dough. Kudos to all the bakers out there!
I decided to call this post “Making Haitian Patties from scratch ” my misadventure for two reasons. Reason number one: After testing several dough recipes from American and Haitian Cookbooks, I realized I could not learn to make the dough by reading a book. I was more frustrated than willing to understand what I was reading because the instructions were not straightforward. Dough-making from a book is not for me! And reason number two: who in the world has time to keep adding butter or vegetable shortening to the dough, placing it, and removing it from the refrigerator? I must have seen the inside of my refrigerator more in a couple of hours than in one day.
The first time I tried making the puff pastry for the patties, I followed a recipe found in one of my baking books. The recipe seemed simple enough, with step-by-step instructions. Wrong! It was challenging to roll out the dough to make it the same shape and thickness. Instead of vegetable shortening, this recipe required butter.
I must have placed the dough in the refrigerator as needed at least 20 times and rolled it out a dozen times before realizing that my countertop was getting hot because I had both the dishwasher and the oven on. I knew that dough making was better on a marble stone countertop or wooden top because of the temperature, but I totally forgot about the combination of the weather outside and the temperature in the kitchen. That experience did not last long. I was discouraged and left the dough alone. What a waste of flour and butter!
The second misadventure, I followed a recipe from a Haitian Cookbook – the measurements were somewhat wrong. The recipe asked for 2 cups of flour, 1 cup vegetable shortening, and 1 cup of water. Well! That one turned out to be like a creamy porridge. What a ding-dong I was not to realize it in the beginning.
The third misadventure that almost became successful. I re-tried the same recipe previously, and instead of 2 cups of flour, I used 4 cups. The method worked. But because I was discouraged from the last two failed experiences, I did not roll out the dough to the thickness required so it could be “puff pastry-like.”
The fourth time, I tried my best to roll out the dough. It was not perfect, but at least I tried. I was not able to make perfect squares or rectangles, but at least it worked this time. The dough was decent to me, but I am not a professional, so I cannot make the perfect puff pastry recipe. Not yet! I still have time to build some muscles!
I’ll stick with store-bought puff pastry for these patties. It’s so much simpler and less stressful, in my opinion. Just roll it out, cut it, shape it, add the filling, and voila!
Tips and Notes for Haitian Patties
- You can find Haitian patties for sale at any Haitian Bakery.
- Make patties with store-bought dough. It is easier and stress-free.
- Pastry dough is sold in local supermarkets and online marketplaces.
- Be adventurous with the filling for the patties. Make patties with well-seasoned and cooked ground beef, ground chicken, codfish, and spinach.
- You can also make the patties with well-seasoned ground lamb, ground turkey, etc.
- Make sure that the texture of the cooked meat or poultry filling is smooth and slightly grainy.
Best seasoning for Haitian Patties
Haitian Patties filling is usually made with chicken, beef, and codfish. I find it best to thinly shred the filling in a food processor after cooking to avoid chunks of meat or fish.
So here is my updated version taken from “A Taste of Haiti” by Mirta Yurnet-Thomas and The Thomas Family. It is a long recipe, so please don’t get discouraged. It may work for you! Or, buy store-bought puff pastry and make Haitian Patties.
To Make Puff Pastry:
- In a large mixing bowl or on a board, mix flour and baking powder. Add 1 cup of shortening and slowly incorporate it with the flour mixture by using your hands or a pastry blender, until you do not feel or see the eggs. The flour should have a flaky consistency.
- Mix 1 cup of water and the salt in a cup. Create a hole in the center of the dough and add ¼ cup of the salt water to the center of the flour mix at a time, while kneading the dough, with your hands, by flattening the dough with the palm of your hands, then bringing it all together into a ball. Repeat this process over and over again for 10 minutes. Create a ball with the dough, place in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 15 minutes.
- Flour your board, rolling pun, and dough. Take dough and roll from the center outward in every direction until you create a 1 inch thin rectangle that measures 12 x 15 inches. Spread 1 cup of vegetable shortening over the top of the entire dough. Fold in thirds (envelope style) and then fold in thirds again. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 15 minutes. Once again flour your board, rolling pin and dough dough. Repeat the rolling, shortening, folding, and resting.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut dough in 3 inches squares or cut in rectangles or the shape you want. Place 1 – 2 tablespoon of the filling of your choice in the center each of the square or rectangle shape dough and slightly spread. Pat the edges with water and fold dough into the desired shape. Squeeze the edges closed. Repeat process of each square of rectangle cuts of dough.
- Place on baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush top of each patty with the remaining beaten egg. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- 1 pound boneless salted codfish, desalted and shredded
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter or 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of Pikliz
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup water
- Take desalted codfish, shred into very small pieces, making sure that there aren’t any bones. Add butter or oil into pan, followed by codfish, cook for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and let cook on low heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until water evaporates completely. Let cool before using as filling for patties.
Beef Filling/Chicken Filling:
- 1 pound ground beef/ground chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ? teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Pikliz with vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced parsley
- 1 shallot, minced
- ½ onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup water
- In a pan, add oil, beef or chicken. Stir fry meat until it starts to cook. Add all remaining ingredients with water last, while stirring. Let cook on low heat for about 10 – 15 minutes or until water evaporates.
- Let beef or chicken cool then add to food processor to shred very thin. Add beef/chicken to pan again and let cook 5 minutes while stirring. Let cool before adding to cut dough for patties
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.
Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.
Always choose ingredients without corn or corn derivatives.
Originally published on July 30, 2014. Revised and updated.