One of my very favorite Christmas stories for children is Nine Days to Christmas
The little girl, Ceci, eagerly awaits her very first posada and with it, perhaps her very own pinata! One day, while waiting, Ceci tags along with the servant, Maria, to where two old women are selling tortillas. The author writes:
“The women were slapping the dough between their hands and throwing the cakes on a sheet of hot iron to bake. Other servant girls were buying tortillas already made, but Maria just bought some dough. Maria knew how to slap the pancakes herself.”
I don’t know how to slap tortillas by hand and I’m short a sheet of hot iron but I have figured out a fairly decent method using parchment paper, a rolling pin, and a cast iron frying pan.
For tortillas you will need Masa Harina (simply called Masa), warm water or stock of any kind – (maybe not fish stock, though) and, optionally, salt and a fat of some sort.
By the way, Masa is corn flour, not to be confused with corn meal.
There is a little prep work to be done. You’ll need some parchment paper and something big and round to trace
Cut out two circles of parchment paper
Set these aside. You will use these same two circles for the whole batch.
Start heating a large cast iron frying pan or a griddle on medium to high heat. You be the judge here. The pan has to be HOT but you want to be safe.
Now make the tortilla dough.
For six to eight tortillas, use:
- one cup masa
- salt is optional – 1/2 tsp is good
- and so is butter – about 1 TBS- make sure it is very soft
- warm water
Put the masa, salt, and butter in a bowl
and add 3/4 cup of warm water.
The water should be warm, not hot. I don’t know why but the hot water does something funny to the texture of the dough.
Mix it all up with a spoon. If the dough looks too loose, like this
add masa one tablespoon at a time until it looks like this
Form six to eight balls of dough.
Place one ball on one piece of parchment paper
and cover it with the other piece of parchment paper. Roll the dough into a circle about an eighth of an inch thick,
peel back the top piece of paper
and be proud of your handiwork.
Now lift up the parchment paper with the tortilla still on it and flip it upside down onto the hot pan.
Wait a few seconds for the tortilla to grab the hot pan and then peel the parchment paper away.
Flip the tortilla when it it gets little brown spots on the pan side of the cake. It doesn’t take long, so don’t walk away from it.
There you have it. Fill these great (gluten free b.t.w) wraps with anything your little heart desires.