Virgin Islands Pates Recipe

The Virgin Islands Pates, a beloved classic in the Caribbean, is a combination of flaky crust and a hearty filling. It's a versatile and delightful snack or meal, typically made with a variety of meats and simple spices. This recipe captures the essence of the Islands in every bite.

Virgin Islands Pates Recipe
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Scotch Bonnet Pepper, the ingredient you might not find in your pantry, is a staple in Caribbean cuisine. It adds a unique kick to the Virgin Islands Pates filling. Remember, this pepper is quite hot! So, adjust the quantity as per your taste preference. Also, the shortening used in making pastry dough is another essential ingredient that generally isn't used in everyday cooking. It provides the dough its distinctive flaky texture.

Key Ingredients for the Virgin Islands Pates

Flour: This is the base of your pastry, giving it structure.

Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the pastry and filling.

Sugar: Balances the savory notes in the pastry dough.

Baking powder: Helps the dough rise and become light.

Shortening: Gives the pastry dough its flaky texture.

Water: Brings the dough together.

Onion: Adds a sweet and aromatic flavor to the filling.

Bell pepper: Gives a sweet and slightly tangy taste to the filling.

Celery: Contributes a crisp texture and savory notes to the filling.

Garlic: Infuses the filling with a robust, aromatic flavor.

Oregano: Adds an earthy, mild flavor to the filling.

Parsley: Lends a fresh, slightly bitter taste to the filling.

Thyme: Infuses the filling with a subtle, earthy flavor.

Tomato paste: Provides a deep, rich taste to the filling.

Scotch bonnet pepper: Gives the filling its characteristic spicy kick.

Lean ground beef: The main component of the filling, providing a hearty, savory flavor.

Oil: Used for frying the pates, giving them a crispy, golden exterior.

One reader, Alphonso Dickinson says:

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This Virgin Islands pates recipe is a game-changer! The flaky, golden crust and savory beef filling are a match made in heaven. The blend of spices adds a burst of flavor, and the frying technique creates the perfect crunch. It's a taste of the islands in every bite!

Alphonso Dickinson

Techniques Required for Making Virgin Islands Pates

How to prepare the dough: Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. Add the cold shortening and water, and knead until the dough comes together. Let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

How to prepare the filling: Cook the onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried parsley, dried thyme, and scotch bonnet pepper until soft and slightly caramelized. Add the tomato paste and cook until aromatic. Then, add the ground beef and cook until browned.

How to assemble the pates: Roll out the rested dough and cut out circles. Place the filling in the center of each circle, fold the dough over the filling, press the edges together to form a half-moon shape, and seal the pastry completely.

How to fry the pates: Preheat fryer oil to 350 degrees F. Place the pates into the heated deep fryer, one at a time, and fry for about 5 minutes or until they puff up and turn golden brown.

How to serve: Remove the pates from the fryer and let them drain on a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate before serving.

How To Make Virgin Islands Pates

This pates recipe is basically a delicious fried pastry filled with ground meat, lots of vegetables, and spices inspired by flavors of the Virgin Islands.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
Rest Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 55 minutes



  • 4cupsflour
  • 2tspsalt
  • 2tspsugar
  • 2tspbaking powder
  • ½cupshortening,cold
  • 1cupcold water,plus 2 tbsp, divided
  • 1onion,chopped
  • 1bell pepper,chopped
  • 1stalkcelery,chopped
  • 5clovesgarlic,minced
  • salt and pepper,to taste
  • 1tsporegano,dried
  • 1tspparsley,dried
  • 1tspthyme,dried
  • 2tbsptomato paste
  • ½Scotch bonnet pepper,minced
  • 1lblean ground beef
  • 4cupsoil,for frying


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.

  2. Add the cold shortening and water, and mix until evenly incorporated, but still crumbly.

  3. Transfer the dough onto a work surface and knead for about 1 minute until the dough just comes together.

  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

  5. Heat a skillet on medium high with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

  6. Add the onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried parsley, dried thyme, and the scotch bonnet pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes until all the vegetables are soft and slightly caramelized.

  7. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes until aromatic and slightly caramelized.

  8. Add the ground beef. Cook for about 15 minutes until the meat is browned.

  9. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  10. Unwrap the rested dough and roll it out on a work surface until ⅛-inch in thickness.

  11. Using an inverted 6-inch wide bowl, cut out circles of the dough to set aside. Remove the excess and re-roll it to cut out more dough circles.

  12. Take a dough circle and place ½ cup of the filling into the center of the circle, leaving about 1½-inches of room around the edges.

  13. Dip a finger in water and brush the edge of the dough. Fold the dough over the filling to meet the opposite end, and press the dough ends together to form a half-moon shape.

  14. Firmly press down the two edges to become one, and decorate the new crust with the prongs of a fork. Make sure the pastry is completely sealed.

  15. Preheat fryer oil in a large pot on high heat to 350 degrees F.

  16. Place the pates into the heated deep fryer, one at a time, and fry for about 5 minutes or until they puff up and the outside turns golden brown.

  17. Remove from the fryer and let them drain on a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate.

  18. Enjoy!


  • Calories: 1964.96kcal
  • Fat: 178.53g
  • Saturated Fat: 20.88g
  • Trans Fat: 3.71g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 105.78g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 46.49g
  • Carbohydrates: 71.54g
  • Fiber: 3.84g
  • Sugar: 4.14g
  • Protein: 22.62g
  • Cholesterol: 53.68mg
  • Sodium: 979.56mg
  • Calcium: 165.30mg
  • Potassium: 469.69mg
  • Iron: 3.20mg
  • Vitamin A: 41.60µg
  • Vitamin C: 29.75mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Perfect Virgin Islands Pates

When preparing the dough for the pates, it's crucial to not overwork it. Over-kneading can lead to a tough and dense pastry, which is not desirable for this recipe. Instead, knead just until the dough comes together. This will ensure a tender and flaky crust. Additionally, when sealing the pates, make sure they are completely sealed to prevent the filling from leaking out during frying. You can use the tines of a fork to create a decorative edge while also ensuring a tight seal.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Pates

Prepare the filling: To save time, consider preparing the filling in advance and storing it in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the pates.

Uniform shape: Use a round cutter to ensure uniform shapes for the dough, which can help streamline the assembly process and create a consistent final product.

Batch cooking: Consider making a larger quantity of pates and freezing the extras for future use, allowing you to have a convenient meal or snack on hand.

Organized workspace: Before you begin, organize your workspace and gather all the necessary ingredients and tools to streamline the cooking process.

Pre-made dough: If you're short on time, consider using pre-made dough to expedite the preparation process without compromising on flavor.

Collaborative cooking: Enlist the help of family or friends to make the process more efficient and enjoyable, turning it into a fun group activity.

Substitute Ingredients For Virgin Islands Pates Recipe

  • flour - Substitute with all-purpose gluten-free flour: This can be used for a gluten-free option for those with dietary restrictions.

  • shortening - Substitute with butter: Butter can be used as a substitute for shortening to add a rich flavor to the dish.

  • cold water - Substitute with ice water: Ice water can help keep the dough cold and prevent the fat from melting, resulting in a flakier crust.

  • lean ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner alternative to ground beef and can be used as a healthier option.

  • oil - Substitute with vegetable oil: Vegetable oil can be used as a substitute for frying the pates, as it has a high smoke point and neutral flavor.

Best Way to Present Virgin Islands Pates

  1. Elevate the dough: Roll out the dough to an even thickness, ensuring it is smooth and free of cracks or tears.

  2. Perfect the filling: Ensure the filling is evenly distributed and neatly encased within the dough, with no spillage or excess.

  3. Fry to perfection: Deep fry the pates until they are golden brown and crispy, ensuring they are cooked through and have a beautiful exterior texture.

  4. Garnish with finesse: Add a final touch of garnish, such as a sprinkle of fresh herbs or a drizzle of sauce, to enhance the visual appeal and flavor of the dish.

  5. Present with precision: Arrange the pates on the serving platter with attention to detail, ensuring they are positioned elegantly and attractively.

Essential Tools for Making Pates

  • Mixing bowl: A large, sturdy bowl used for combining and mixing ingredients.
  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and sautéing ingredients.
  • Work surface: A clean, flat surface for rolling out dough and assembling the pates.
  • Plastic wrap: Used to wrap and cover the dough for resting.
  • Olive oil: Used for sautéing the vegetables and browning the ground beef.
  • 6-inch wide bowl: Used as a guide to cut out circles of dough for the pates.
  • Fork: Used to seal and decorate the edges of the pates.
  • Deep fryer: Equipment used for frying the pates until golden brown.
  • Large pot: Used for heating the oil for deep frying.
  • Wire rack: Used for draining the fried pates.

Storing and Freezing Homemade Pates

  • Allow the pates to cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent them from becoming soggy or losing their crispy texture.

  • To store the pates, place them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. They can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

  • If you want to freeze the pates, follow these steps:

    1. Wrap each pate individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, ensuring there are no air pockets.
    2. Place the wrapped pates in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
    3. Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy identification.
    4. Freeze the pates for up to 3 months.
  • To reheat frozen pates, you have two options:

    1. Thawing and reheating in the oven: Remove the desired number of pates from the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the thawed pates on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through and crispy.
    2. Reheating from frozen in the oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the frozen pates on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and crispy. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
  • Avoid refreezing thawed pates, as this can affect their texture and quality. Only reheat the amount you plan to consume.

How To Reheat Leftover Pates

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover virgin islands pates on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and the crust is crispy again. This method helps to restore the crispiness of the crust while evenly heating the filling.

  • For a quicker option, you can use a toaster oven. Set the toaster oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the pates on the wire rack. Heat for 5-7 minutes, or until warmed through and the crust is crispy. Keep an eye on them to prevent burning.

  • If you prefer a softer crust, wrap the pates in aluminum foil before placing them in the oven. This will help to retain moisture and prevent the crust from becoming too crispy. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.

  • For a stovetop method, place the pates in a skillet over medium-low heat. Cover the skillet with a lid and heat for 5-7 minutes, or until warmed through. Flip the pates halfway through heating to ensure even warming. This method is best for maintaining a softer crust.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can use it to reheat your virgin islands pates. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and place the pates in the basket. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until heated through and the crust is crispy. This method is quick and helps to restore the crispiness of the crust.

Interesting Fact About Virgin Islands Pates

Virgin Islands Pates are a popular snack in the Caribbean and are often enjoyed during festivals and celebrations. They are a delicious and savory hand pie filled with a flavorful mixture of ground beef, vegetables, and spices. The dough is traditionally made with a combination of flour, shortening, and water, resulting in a flaky and crispy crust when deep-fried. These tasty treats are a staple in Virgin Islands cuisine and are loved for their portability and satisfying flavors. They are a perfect option for a quick and tasty meal on the go.

Is Making Pates at Home Economical?

This recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients are simple and readily available, and the use of ground beef makes it an affordable option. The total cost for a household of 4 people would be approximately $20-$25. The flavor and satisfaction it provides make it a worthwhile investment. I would rate this recipe an 8 out of 10 for its affordability and delicious outcome.

Are Virgin Islands Pates Healthy or Unhealthy?

The Virgin Islands pates recipe, while undeniably delicious, leans more towards the unhealthy side due to several factors:

  • The use of shortening in the dough, which is high in saturated fats
  • Deep frying the pates, adding more unhealthy fats to the dish
  • The inclusion of red meat (ground beef), which is often high in saturated fats and cholesterol

However, the recipe does include a variety of vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic, which provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Replace the shortening with a healthier fat, such as olive oil or coconut oil
  • Instead of deep frying, try baking the pates in the oven or using an air fryer to reduce the amount of oil needed
  • Opt for lean ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, or even try a plant-based alternative like lentils or black beans
  • Increase the amount of vegetables in the filling to boost the nutritional value and fiber content
  • Use whole wheat flour for the dough to add more fiber and nutrients
  • Reduce the amount of salt used in the recipe to help lower sodium intake

By making these adjustments, you can enjoy the delicious flavors of Virgin Islands pates while also incorporating healthier ingredients and cooking methods.

Editor's Opinion on This Traditional Caribbean Dish

This Virgin Islands pates recipe is a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The dough is perfectly flaky and the filling is rich and savory, with a hint of heat from the scotch bonnet pepper. The combination of aromatic spices and ground beef creates a mouthwatering filling that is sure to satisfy. The cooking instructions are clear and easy to follow, resulting in a delicious Caribbean treat that is perfect for sharing with friends and family. Overall, this recipe is a culinary adventure that captures the essence of Virgin Islands cuisine.

Enhance Your Virgin Islands Pates Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Coconut Rice: Try serving the Virgin Islands pates with a side of creamy coconut rice, infused with the tropical flavors of coconut milk and a hint of sweetness.
Mango Salsa: Add a refreshing twist to the meal with a zesty mango salsa, featuring ripe mangoes, red onions, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice for a burst of tropical flavor.
Plantain Chips: For a crunchy and savory side, whip up some crispy plantain chips seasoned with a sprinkle of sea salt and a dash of chili powder for a delicious Caribbean-inspired snack.

Exploring Recipes Similar to Virgin Islands Pates

Caribbean Jerk Chicken: Marinate the chicken in a blend of spices, including allspice, thyme, and scotch bonnet peppers, then grill until charred and juicy. Serve with a side of coconut rice and black beans for a complete Caribbean meal.
Mango Salsa: Combine diced mango, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice for a refreshing and tropical salsa. Enjoy with tortilla chips as an appetizer or as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.
Plantain Empanadas: Make a savory filling with ground beef, onions, and bell peppers, then stuff it into a dough made with ripe plantains. Fry until golden brown and crispy for a delicious twist on traditional empanadas.

Appetizers and Desserts to Complement Virgin Islands Pates

Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal. Filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, they are sure to impress your guests.
Caprese Skewers: These colorful and refreshing caprese skewers are a delightful appetizer that combines the classic flavors of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fragrant basil. Drizzled with balsamic glaze, they are a simple yet elegant addition to any gathering.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and velvety chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth and decadent texture will leave your taste buds craving for more.
Apple Pie: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of a classic apple pie, with a flaky golden crust and a sweet cinnamon-spiced apple filling. Pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the perfect balance of flavors and textures.

Why trust this Virgin Islands Pates Recipe:

This recipe for Virgin Islands pates is a true taste of the Caribbean, incorporating authentic flavors and ingredients. The dough is made from scratch, ensuring freshness and quality. The savory filling, featuring ground beef and a medley of aromatic herbs and spices, promises a burst of traditional island flavors. The method of deep-frying yields a crispy, golden-brown crust that encapsulates the rich, savory filling. With a balance of sweet and spicy notes, this recipe captures the essence of Virgin Islands cuisine, making it a trustworthy and delightful addition to any culinary repertoire.

Share your thoughts on the Virgin Islands Pates Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section and let us know if you have any tips or variations to enhance this Caribbean delicacy!
How long does it take to make Virgin Islands pates?
The entire process, from preparing the dough to frying the pates, takes about 2 to 2.5 hours.
Can I make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it?
Yes, you can prepare the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before using it to make the pates.
Can I freeze the pates for later consumption?
Absolutely! Once the pates are fried and cooled, you can wrap them tightly and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, simply reheat them in the oven until they are warmed through.
How spicy are the pates with the scotch bonnet pepper?
The scotch bonnet pepper adds a nice kick of heat to the pates. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can adjust the amount of scotch bonnet pepper or remove the seeds to reduce the heat level.
Can I use a different type of meat for the filling?
Yes, you can customize the filling to your preference. You can use ground chicken, turkey, or even a vegetarian filling with beans and vegetables. The possibilities are endless!

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