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The Heart of Ardent: How to Make Corn Tortillas

The Heart of Ardent

The Heart of Ardent: How to Make Corn Tortillas

With all the Mexican and Yucatecan recipes I’ve been sharing, it suddenly seemed silly to not post a recipe for the essential in so many dishes; the tortilla. This is corn, not flour, and while good tortillas are available out there at Latin markets and Tortillerias, why not try to make your own?

Many people use a tortilla press to shape them, but of course, there are ladies all over Mexico that still shape them by hand and cook over a fire…

Makes 10 to 12 tortillas (6 to 7 inch)

2 cups Maseca Corn Masa Mix
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cup boiled water plus 2 to 3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon shortening

Mix the masa harina and salt in a medium bowl. Measure 1 1/4 cups of boiling water and the shortening into a separate pan / bowl.
Stir until the shortening is melted. Note: this is corn flour, NOT corn meal.

Pour water / shortening mix into bowl of corn flour and mix with a fork.
When mixture is cool enough to touch (just takes a couple of minutes) mix the dough with your hands. The dough will likely be a touch dry. Add hot water one teaspoon at a time until the dough stays together without crumbling.

Knead the dough for one or two minutes. Play with the consistency by adding more water if needed. What you want is dough that is moist enough to hold together but not sticky.

Words About A Tortilla Press…

Designed to help you create perfect corn tortillas fast…Corn tortillas can be made without one of course, they are all the time, but people do love presses.
If you don’t have one, just roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Just cover the dough with plastic, as below.

Pinch off some dough and roll into small, smooth round balls (golf ball-ish size). Don’t worry about “over” handling it.
If you cover the dough you’re not working with, with plastic wrap or a bag, or damp paper towels, it keeps the dough from drying while you work.

Flatten the ball a bit in the palm of your hand.

Now is a good time to pre-heat a cast iron pan over medium high to high heat. Do NOT put anything in the pan like shortening / oil. Not required.


If you use a press, first get a Ziploc style plastic bag. It helps that this type of plastic is a bit heavier. NOTE: parchment paper can also work.

Cut the bag in half so you have two pieces of plastic. Lay one on press and put the slightly flattened dough on top, a bit closer to the hinge of the lid side of press.
Cover dough with second piece of plastic / paper and close the lid to flatten dough.

Carefully peel the top piece of plastic from the tortilla. Lift the tortilla and the bottom piece of plastic from press and place in hand, dough side down. Peel bottom piece of plastic from tortilla.

If your dough is too wet or sticky, add a sprinkle of corn flour and knead dough a bit.


Place tortilla in preheated cast iron pan and cook for 45 seconds to a minute then turn over and cook for another 45 seconds or longer.

Place cooked tortillas in foil and cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.
Tortillas keep in a Ziploc type bag in the fridge for several days very well.

Now you have homemade tortillas for your Mexican dishes.


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