I strongly believe that memories are the best treasure we can accumulate. And when it comes to food, memories of aromas, textures and tastes form a very important part of our family, culture and our own past and life.What will we do without those delicious memories? One of my favorite food memories is the smell and taste of gorditas de piloncillo.
In Mexico gorditas are generally stuffed and fried thick tortillas (not to mention the rough translation chubby girl), but gorditas de piloncillo are something very different. They are originally from the Mexican state of Veracruz (or so I have always believed) My mom learned how to make them from a cousin of hers who lives in that state.
I googled gorditas de piloncillo but didn’t find any mention of them as my mom used to make them. They might be the best-kept secret of Mexican gastronomy. Even in Mexico City they are seldom known.
Piloncillo are blocks, generally in the form of cones, of pressed unrefined brown sugar. There are two kinds, one lighter and one darker, and the cones come in several sizes. It is used to prepare several authentic Mexican desserts like capirotada and flan and it can be purchased in most Mexican stores and even online.
These gorditas bring me so many good memories because it was only in special occasions that my mom made them. I knew she was going to make them the moment she gave me a round yellow Tupperware container, a couple of coins and asked me to get masa (tortilla dough) at the closest tortilleria (tortilla shop) By the time I got back the whole house was filled with the sweet aroma of melted piloncillo. I stood next to her during the whole process and when we sat at the table to eat breakfast I could eat at least half a dozen of them. Sweet, filling memories, is there anything better than that?
- •2 cups corn flour or masa harina
- •1 ½ cups water
- •1 4oz (150 gr) block of piloncillo
- •2 cups refried beans (remember Jerry’s recipe)
- •vegetable oil
- •sour cream
- Mix water and flour in a large bowl and mix with your hands until you get a firm dough that doesn’t break when you make balls with it.
- Add the melted piloncillo and mix well until the dough takes a golden color. You may have to add more flour because the liquid sugar may make the dough too moist.
- Cut two circles out of a clean grocery bag.
- Put a ball of dough between the 2 circles of plastic and press it with a tortilla presser. Or press it with a heavy skillet to make thin tortilla-like shells.
- Fry the gorditas in vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet. Oil should be very hot before frying the first gordita. Fry each side of the gordita for about 1 minute. Frying times will depend on the thickness of the gorditas, these are thin gorditas so it doesn’t take very long to cook them.
- In a different skillet or pot warm up refried beans. I use about ¼ cup of water or milk to reduce thickness so it is easier to work with them. I also add some milk to the sour cream for the same reason.
- Serve gorditas with refried beans, sour cream and salsa on top.
This is the salsa I used: Blend 1/8 of a medium-sized onion, 1 garlic clove, ½ cup of tomatoes and 1 chipotle adobado pepper. Be careful, this salsa is hot!
About this recipe: I really love this dish so I encourage you to try it. If you can’t find piloncillo where you live you can substitute it with brown sugar and the corn flour may be substituted with wheat flour, the taste will not be the same, though. My mom used to serve this dish as breakfast. The greasy, oily, fried factor wasn’t an issue because she only made them in special occasions. But if you worry about the fry part of it, you may try baking the gorditas, I personally have never try it that way (it would lose it’s flavor for me), but I think it could work. I did find other version of this gorditas made in the state of Nuevo Leon. I will have to try them some other time and blog about them. But for now enjoy this sweet/savory/spicy breakfast from my childhood.