Pasteis de Santa Clara
August 11: Feast Day of St. Clare
The Franciscans have had an enduring presence in our lives. Capuchin friars used to administer at Islander’s family parish in Hawaii for many years. In fact, a Franciscan priest officiated at our engagement blessing at a special mass. We also currently attend St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Texas.
St. Clare, a 13th century Franciscan nun, is known as the feminine counterpart of St. Francis of Assisi. She was born into nobility but vowed a monastic life of poverty. We honor St. Clare on her feast day with an adaptation of a recipe for pasteis de Santa Clara (St. Clare turnovers) from a monastery in Portugal.
(Adapted from Cooking with the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf)
For the pastry dough
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, chilled
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- 2 tablespoons ice water
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
In a mixing bowl, cut in the butter with the flour and water. Knead until a pliable dough is formed. Cover with a plastic film wrap and refrigerate while making the filling.
For the filling
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon water
- ½ cup almonds, ground
- 4 egg yolks
In a saucepan, melt the sugar with the water and stir until dissolved. Bring to a boil until thickened. Add the ground almonds and egg yolks, stirring constantly until the filling is thick and well blended.
Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut a three-inch diameter. Place a teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the circle. Fold over and seal the edges with water. Continue making the rest of the turnovers.
Brush the tops with the beaten egg. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven. While they are still hot, dredge in sugar. Cool over a wire rack. Yield: 24 turnovers.
- We used almond meal/flour for the filling ingredient in this recipe. Thanks to Lisa L., our generous friend in Germany, for sending us the package of pulverized nuts for the pasteis de Santa Clara.