Christmas in PR is lively and religious with either going to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve or Midnight Mass (Misa de Gallo). It also includes family get-togethers with good food and one of the most traditional foods is Pasteles. It is a tradition for family members to get together earlier in the week to put all the ingredientes together, so my sister, my niece, her husband, and I did just that this afternoon. We gathered around a table and started the assembly line. At the head of the table was the wax paper, with a seared plantain leaf on top, then you have to spoon some oil melded with achiote (annatto), next la masa or finely grated green banana mix with chicken broth (you can purchase this mix pre-grated at many grocery stores), then add garbanzos, olives, a raisin or two, and a strand of red pepper.
The last person in the assembly line folds the paper with the mix inside making a neatly folded rectangle which is tied with a bit of string like a neat little package. You can place the pasteles in the freezer and have them ready for a party, family get together, or simply for when you are hungry and don't want to cook.
It is a treat!