Venezuelan Pasapalos with a Twist

Holiday table need a flavor lift? Try these Venezuelan small bites with big flavor.
    Rolled Cachitos
    Carolyng Gomes

    Every great party starts with great pasapalos, or passing sticks. Yes, I’m talking about the little nibbles that start off a soirée. And with the holidays coming up -- entertaining at an all-time high -- these three recipes might just save your life. Serve up these updated Venezuelan pasapalos, two tiny bites with a lot of big flavor.

    Traditional tequeños, fried queso blanco cheese sticks wrapped in flour dough, get a kick with the addition of jalapeño and a new shape. These updated Jalapeño Tequeño Poppers are shaped like dumplings and stuffed full of warm queso blanco and topped with a slice of jalapeño, then fried to a golden crunchy crisp.

    Looking for something with a bit more heft? The traditional cachito, usually a breakfast treat, makes a nighttime appearance. Fresh, sweet, yeast bread surrounds smoked ham and is baked into a golden crescent roll. Mini Rolled Cachitos shrink this morning staple to bite-sized proportions, for a fresh from-the-oven treat.

    For a holiday party, you can’t go wrong with a pan de jamón. A traditional dish served during Christmas in Venezuela, pan de jamón is a sweet, yeast bread filled with black forest ham, raisins and stuffed olives. The mini version, Pansitos de Jamón, adds smoked bacon and capers and punches up the raisins for a bit of sweetness, smokiness, and tang in one bite.

    A festive drink to go with all of these pasapalos is Coconut Ponche Crema. A typical Christmas drink, ponche crema is Venezuelan egg nog. Coconut Ponche Crema ditches the egg and combines equal parts coconut milk, condensed milk and evaporated milk with a few shots of rum, a touch of vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon for a tropical drink that will warm you up all night long.

    Ideal for the holidays, use these recipes to make your next bash a delicious one.

    Jalapeño Tequeño Poppers

    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/2 teasespoon salt
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 8 oz queso blanco, cut in 1 inch cubes
    • 6 fresh jalapeños, tops removed
    • Canola oil

    Get the full recipe.


    Mini Rolled Cachitos

    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teasespoon salt
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon yeast
    • 1 egg, beaten
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 lbs sliced ham, each slice rolled lengthwise and halved

    Get the full recipe.


    Pancitos de Jamón

    • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten + 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons yeast
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 3/4 cup warm milk
    • 4 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1 1/2 lbs black forest ham
    • 8 oz sliced smoked bacon
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 3/4 cup stuffed olives, halved
    • 1/4 cup capers

    Get the full recipe.


    Coconut Ponche Crema

    • 1 cup vanilla coconut milk
    • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
    • 1 cup evaporated milk
    • 1/2 - 1 cup rum
    • 3 cinnamon sticks
    • ground cinnamon for garnish

    Get the full recipe.