Monday, December 3, 2007

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I've been wanting to bake cookies for almost a week now, but I don't have all of the ingredients and sadly I can't afford to buy them at the moment.

I saw this recipe for homemade tortillas posted somewhere else and I really wanted to give it a shot. It wasn't as satisfying as baking something, but I was still delighted with the results. It was pretty easy too.

(Sorry for the awful picture. The batteries for my camera are dead and I don't know where I put the spares.)

Flour Tortillas (recipe from Fine Cooking magazine, no. 79, July 2006)

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for kneading and rolling
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening or lard, cut into small pieces [I used Crisco]
2/3 cup warm water

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the shortening or lard and cut it into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in 2/3 cup warm water with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and soft, 3-4 minutes, reflouring the surface as necessary.

Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and shape each piece into a ball. Cover the dough balls loosely with plastic wrap and let rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to cook the tortillas, heat a large (11-12 inch) dry cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium heat until hot. Take one ball of dough at a time out from under the plastic and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 9-10 inches in diameter.

Lay the tortilla carefully in the hot skillet and cook until it starts to bubble and puff and light brown spots appear on the underside, 45-60 seconds. Flip with a spatula and cook until the second side gets brown spots and any translucent, raw-looking areas become opaque, another 45-60 seconds. Adjust the heat if the tortillas seem to be cooking too quickly or slowly.

Remove the tortilla to a clean dishtowel and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining balls of dough. Makes eight 9-10" tortillas.

I rolled out a ball of dough while the previous one was cooking and that worked well. However I do not own a rolling pin, so I used a POM tea glass because it's tall and thin. I also didn't want to flour up my counter so I layed out a sheet of freezer paper, wax side up. The dough didn't stick to the glass. I didn't make them perfectly circular, but I guess if you were really anal about it you could trim the edges with a pizza cutter before putting it on the skillet.

When my tortillas were done, I chopped up some veggies and sliced off thin pieces of cheese from the wedge to make quesadillas. It would've been a lot better with the addition of black beans, but I'm out of those as well.

The outcome? Delicious! This is pretty cheap to make and not as time-consuming as you would think so I'll probably be making these again next time I've got a hankering for quesadillas or tacos.

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