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Pasteis de Massa Tenra ❦ Portuguese Deep Fried Turnovers

These beautiful and tasty turnovers can be made savoury or sweet with your choice of fillings. I personally love them savoury, but my mom would sometimes fill them with pumpkin or tomato jam. I like mine with beef filling, but these pictured are chicken, as I had leftovers from dinner. They really are fast to make and a great solution for leftovers. You can fill them with whatever you have to hand. When my kids were little, I would fill them with scrambled eggs and bacon, making them a super, handheld, on the go breakfast. They just adored dipping them in ketchup. You can also freeze them, once assembled, and cook them from frozen.

Pasteis de Massa Tenra ❦ Portuguese Deep Fried Turnovers

45 minutes (30 minutes prep and rest)

Makes about 12

Recipe doubles beautifully


300 g. Plain flour

100-125 ml. Warm water

40 g. Lard

1 tsp. Salt


Cooked filling of your choice, ground beef, chicken, or veggies, cold and not too wet.


  1. In a large mixing bowl, add flour and make a well in the centre.

  2. In a smaller bowl, add warm water and salt. Stir to dissolve. Add lard.

  3. Pour into centre of flour, and start working the flour into the centre from the sides, with your fingers.

  4. Keep working the dough until it becomes elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

  5. If too wet add a bit more flour and if too dry, ie: crumbly, add water a tablespoon at a time, until a nice dough ball forms.

  6. Dust worktop with a bit of flour and tip dough ball onto it. Using your hands, knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes. Form into a ball and let rest on counter for 30 minutes.

  7. After 30 minutes, roll dough out thinly and working from end closest to you, place the filling by the spoonful a few inches in from edge, leaving a space in between. I like to cut my dough in half, as my work surface in small, but feel free to roll out entire dough ball in one go.

  8. Now take dough and fold over the filling using your fingers to gently press dough halves together and in between each mound. Using a large enough cup, cut out little half moon parcels. Keep scraps to add back to dough ball and roll out again. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

  9. Use the tynes of of a fork to crimp edges of each turnover.

  10. Heat 1 litre of oil in a deep pan*. Once oil is hot, add the turnovers, about 4 at a time, and fry until golden brown, turning halfway to ensure even on both sides. The dough should blister beautifully.

  11. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

  12. Serve with your choice of sauce.

  13. Here I served mine with a homemade honey mustard as my filling was chicken.

*Oil is ready when you dip the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil and it starts to bubble around it.

If using an electric fryer, set the temperature to 180ºC (356°F) an fry with lid open so you can monitor colour. Fry until golden.
































Crawley,West Sussex UK

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