Celebrating cultures, one recipe at a time

March 2021

This season’s Round Table recipe brings us to the Caribbean island of Aruba, where Astaria Croes learned how to cook Pastechi from her Godmother’s mother, Julia Werleman Vrolijk. Pastechi is the perfect grab-and-go snack food, excellent for breakfast or an appetizer. It can be bought at many restaurants and snack trucks in Aruba, but like many recipes, nothing beats homemade.

Astaria has many fond memories of visiting Julia’s home and the smells that greeted her every time she walked into her kitchen. “They made me feel like I was part of their family,” Astaria says with a grin. “I spent many days in the kitchen, watching and learning, but more importantly, feeling their affection and love. It made my childhood wonderful.” Now that Astaria is in Thunder Bay, it has become very important that she continue the tradition in making Pastechi with her children.

For Astaria’s daughter, Nicole, Pastechi reminds her of the early mornings in Aruba when they stopped at a snack truck or store and grabbed a fresh Pastechi and a cold Malta drink (a non-alcoholic beverage brewed from barley, caramel, cane sugar, and hops) before her mom dropped her and her brother, Leam, off at school. There were many small snack trucks all around the island that sold Pastechi, along with other delicious and tasty snacks such as Croquette, Deditos, and the more famous Johnny Cakes.

The recipe is easy to prepare and the fillings can include everything from meat and cheese, to the more popular Aruban salt fish. Astaria enjoys making a Thunder Bay style filling with beef or ham, paired with gouda cheese from the Thunder Oak Cheese Farm. Tuna can also be substituted for salt fish.


  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lard


Mix flour, sugar, and salt together in bowl. Cut in lard and then add water. Mix and knead until the pastry is no longer sticky. Add more flour if desired.

Beef Filling

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup dried currants (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon capers (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon curry
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot sauce (optional)

Sauté ground beef in frying pan with onion until brown. Add currants, capers, curry, salt and pepper and hot sauce. Simmer. Place in centre of pastry circle, pinch closed and use a fork to seal. Heat oil in pan and add the Pastechi when oil is hot. Cook each side until golden brown for approximately 4 minutes.

Donna White is an accomplished author and Jubilee Medal winner for her volunteer work with World Vision. Visit her website at www.DonnaWhiteBooks.com

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