Traditionally speaking, pastels have pastry crusts. While many countries have things they call pastel, based on the (inverted) name alone, I’d guess this was inspired by Portugese pastels?
From a box sold in Columbiaville, Michigan.
Pastel de Carne
(Little meat pies)
2 T. margarine
1 lb. hamburger
1/3 c. chopped onion
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt
4 pkg. crescent dinner rolls
Saute meat and onions in margarine. Add seasonings. Unroll 1/2 of the roll packages. Do not cut on lines. Cut into 4 squares.
Place 1 T. filling on each square. Fold in half. Crimp edges with fork. Deep fat fry at 400 deg. turning once until golden.