Sweet Potato Pastry Turnover
with Grilled Tuna and Chile

Pastel com Diablo Dentro

Cape Verde

Serves 8

The Portuguese claimed the island of Cape Verde, and the Portuguese name of this dish means "pastry with the devil inside." The filling may be as "devilish" as you like; just vary the amount of chiles added to the filling. Fresh tuna grilled over a charcoal fire will give the best results, but you may use high-quality canned tuna in a pinch. The pastry is a blend of cooked and puréed sweet potato, mixed with fine corn flour. Mayonnaise is found all across the African continent; this spicy ver- sion is enhanced with pineapple.

Chef Notes
Other tropical fruits, especially mango, may be substituted for the pineapple. Be sure to balance the sweetness with acidity. The sweet potatoes may be boiled or microwaved, then mashed, processed, or riced to purée them.

Mayonnaise: Makes 1-1/2 cups [360 mL]

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon [3 mL] dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon [3 mL] salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon [3 mL] cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons [10 mL] fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon [5 mL] palm (dende) oil
  • 1-1/2 cups [360 mL] olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon [15 mL] fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon [5 mL] hot water
  • 1/4 cup [60 mL] minced fresh pineapple

Pastry: makes sixteen 3-inch [8-cm] circles

  • 1 large sweet potato, unpeeled, cooked until very tender,
  •      and puréed to a smooth paste
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon [15 mL] melted butter
  • 2 to 3 cups [480 to 720 mL] fine corn flour, as needed to form a dough

Filling: makes enough for 16 pastries

  • 1 tablespoon [15 mL] olive or palm (dende) oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 hot chile peppers, minced, or to taste
  • 1 pound [450 g] fresh tuna fillet or steak, grilled over charcoal
  •      to medium rare and cooled and sliced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, finely diced I teaspoon [5 mL] salt
  • Vegetable oil with a few drops of palm (dende) oil
  •      added for color, for deep-frying
  • Minced chives, for garnish

Advance Preparation

1. Place the egg yolks, mustard, salt, cayenne, and lemon juice in the work bowl of a food processor. Process the mixture to blend.

2. With the processor running, add the palm oil, then slowly add half of the olive oil. With the processor still running, add the pineapple juice and hot water, then slowly add the remaining olive oil and stir in the minced pineapple. Chill and reserve. (The mayonnaise can be made one day in advance.)

Preparation of the Pastry

3. Mix the sweet potato purée in a large bowl with the egg yolks and melted butter. Mix in enough corn flour to form a stiff dough. Add a few spoonfuls of the cooking water from the sweet potatoes if necessary.

4. Form the dough into a ball and chill for one hour.

Preparation of the Filling

5. Heat the olive or palm oil over medium heat and sauté the onion until transparent. Add the garlic and saute 30 seconds, then add the chiles and cook 2 minutes.

6. Toss with the tuna, tomatoes, and salt. Allow the mixture to cool and reserve.

Assembly Method

7. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out 1/8 inch [3 mm] thick. Cut the dough into sixteen 3-inch [8-cm] circles.

8. Place 2 teaspoons [10 mL] of the filling slightly off center of each circle and fold over to enclose the filling. Press the edges firmly to seal. Reserve, covered and refrigerated. (The turnovers can be made several hours in advance.)

Cooking Method

9. Heat the vegetable oil to 365 degrees F [185 degrees C] and fry the turnovers, in batches, 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and keep warm until service.


10. Serve each person 2 turnovers, cut in half, accompanied with the pineapple mayonnaise, garnished with minced chives.

  • from:
  • The Appetizer Atlas
  • A World of Small Bites
  • by Arthur L. Meyer and Jon M. Vann
  • Wiley 2003
  • Cloth; 624 pages; $45.00
  • ISBN: 0-471-41102-7
  • Recipe reprinted by permission.

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