Monday, November 29, 2010

Flour Tortillas

I just want to lay on my couch all afternoon eating cheese quesadillas and watching Desperate Housewives rereuns. Is that too much to ask?

Oh, and I want my quesadillas made with these flour tortillas, please. Thanks.

They're soooo much better than store bought ones. More work for sure but again, soooo much better. I just can't emphasize so enough.

These and cheese (hey! that rhymes) are my comfort food.

So if anyone needs me, you know where I'll be.

Homemade Flour Tortillas
Makes: about 16

2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
½ cup + 2 tbsps lard or vegetable shortening
1 cup very hot water


1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large wooden bowl. Stir together.
2. Add spoonfuls of lard or shortening (use 1/2 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons), then use a pastry cutter to combine the ingredients. Cut mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
3. Slowly pour in hot water, stirring to bring mixture together. Lightly knead dough 30 to 40 times, or until it becomes a cohesive ball of dough and is less sticky. Cover with a tea towel and allow dough to rest for at least an hour.
4. Roll into ping pong size balls, place on a tray, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rest for another 20 to 30 minutes.
5. When you’re ready to make the tortillas, heat a dark or cast iron griddle to medium/medium-high heat. One by one, roll out balls of dough until very, very thin. Throw tortillas (one by one) onto the griddle. Cook on each side for 20 to 30 seconds, removing while tortillas are still soft but slightly brown in spots. Remove and stack tortillas, and cover with a towel to keep warm. Serve immediately or allow to cool before storing tortillas in a container. To warm, nuke tortillas in the microwave, or wrap in foil and warm in the oven.
Helpful tips:
* Make sure the water you pour in is very warm.
* Allow the dough to rest, both after kneading and after forming into balls.
* Roll out very thin.
* Get the heat right on your stove: Too hot, and the tortilla will burn in spots. Not hot enough, and the tortilla will begin to crisp before you can get it to brown. I get my stove between medium and medium high heat; that seems to do the trick.
* Use a dark griddle or cast iron skillet to brown the tortillas.
* Cook just long enough to lightly brown the tortilla in spots; don’t cook too long or tortillas will crisp. You want them to be soft and pliable when you serve them.
* Finally: Have fun! And enjoy them. They’re absolutely scrumptious.

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