Pastel de Choclo

Pastel de choclo (“corn cake”) is a dense, savory cake that combines the salty-sweetness of corn muffins, the density of meatloaf, and the layering of shepherd’s pie. It involves a layer of ground corn cooked over a layer of pino (seasoned ground beef), often baked in a paila, a thick earthenware bowl. A vegetarian version can be prepared by omitting the pino and cooking the ground corn as a solid cake. Pastel de choclo is indigenous to both Peru and Chile, where large-grained white choclo (Quechua for fresh white corn) is plentiful. Since it is often eaten cold and has a dense, solid consistency, it is a common “street food” sold from the stands of food vendors.