You know how when you get a new cookbook and you just can’t wait to try the first recipe? This was the case with this recipe for Gorditas de Pilocillo. This recipe was adapted from the cookbook “My Sweet Mexico”. There are so many delicious recipes that remind me of home and trips to Monterrey, Mexico. And more than the pictures of the food are the stories behind the foods that inspire us.
3 oz. grated piloncillo or brown sugar
4 oz. grated jack cheese
1 tablespoon freshly grated cinnamon
1 pound fresh masa, or 1 2/3 cups masa harina mixed with 1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups canola or vegetable shortening, for frying
1. Combine the piloncillo, cheese and canela (cinnamon) in a bowl and knead in the masa until well distributed. Add a bit of water if it feels too dry or a little masa harina if it’s too sticky.
2. Shape the dough into 12 even balls. Place enough oil, or shortening in a heavy pot to reach a depth of at least 2 inches and heat to about 365ºF.
3. While the oil heats up, cut the sides and top off of a heavy plastic storage bag. Lay the bag on a flat surface, flatten the dough ball inside of plastic, with your hand, to about 2½ to 3 inches across. Slide them into the hot oil and bathe them with a stainless steel spoon, so they are covered with oil at all times. Turn and cook until both sides are golden and make sure not to overcrowd the pan. Drain on paper towels, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy warm.
Tips: You can keep them warm for 20 minutes (before powdered sugar) in a 250-degree oven. Masa cakes must be eaten soon after made, otherwise they will get soggy and lose their crispy texture.
Quick Mexican Chocolate Sauce:
3-oz disc Mexican chocolate (I use Abuelita brand)
¼ cup milk
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a microwave-safe bowl, soften the chocolate disc in the microwave for 1 minute. Remove from microwave, add the milk, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk until smooth. The Mexican chocolate has a coarse texture compared to American chocolate.