In Mexico City, gorditas de nata refer to two things. They can be round, lightly sweet English-muffin type breads, sold at the markets in plastic bags. Or they’re dense, almost creamy cakes, served warm off the comal. “Nata” means clotted cream — it’s what rises to the top when fresh milk is boiled.
I prefer the comal version of gorditas de nata, but it’s not easy to find them in DF, at least not in my neighborhood. I saw a few stands pop up after midnight on Independence Day here and the smell was enough to make me want to buy a dozen right then and there. The aroma is strong and sweet, almost like yellow cake.
Nata is easy to find locally — the Friday Condesa tianguis sells it, and so do the Productos Oaxaqueños trucks. So last Friday I bought some, envisioning myself standing in front of my own hot comal studded with golden-brown gorditas.
I wanted to make my own recipe, but I wasn’t sure which ratios I should use. Was this a type of thick pancake? A biscuit? In the end, I used a recipe I found from Ana Paula Garcia. I liked that she included condensed milk. It made the gorditas sound rich.
The gorditas didn’t take long — I mixed my dough in the KitchenAid, rolled it out, and cut it into circles with a biscuit cutter. (Because we’re only two people in this house, and I’ve eaten way more sugar than I should lately, I made these smaller than what’s sold on the street.)
I grilled the discs on the comal until they were crisp, which took less than five minutes. One bite was exactly what I’d wanted: sweet, creamy, almost doughy.
A little bit of butter and a drizzle of honey, and Crayton and I were both licking our fingers. These would be great for breakfast. Or an afternoon snack with tea.
Nata refers to a thick, clotted-style cream. Using whipped cream won’t produce the same results. Some gordita de nata recipes call for both Mexican crema and nata — you could try crema alone if you can’t find nata.
Make sure you cook the gorditas on low heat. Mine was at medium-high, and I almost burned the living daylights out of the things. Whoops. You want a nice, even golden-brown crust. They’re also best eaten warm. You can reheat them in the toaster oven or in a dry skillet. (They’re almost better when reheated, because the crust gets a bit crunchier.)
I really wanted to add butter to this dough, but I’m glad I didn’t. It was rich enough with the nata and condensed milk.
A note on how thick to roll out the dough: the gorditas will puff up a little bit as they cook, but not a whole lot. (Don’t expect them to double in size.) I rolled out my dough both thin and thick, and I liked the thick version better — it was a bit more decadent. My “thick” dough was just a smidge under 1/2-inch thick.
1/2 small can condensed milk (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup nata (see note)
2 heaping cups flour (about 300 grams)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Sift flour and baking powder together. Using an electric mixer, or a whisk, mix nata and condensed milk together until well-blended. Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, until you’ve got a cohesive dough. (You don’t want it too dry.) Roll dough out on a floured work surface to perhaps a half-inch thick. Cut out circles with a biscuit cutter, or cutter of your choice. Place the rounds on a comal or dry, non-stick skillet on low heat. Grill until golden brown on both sides. Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack, and serve warm.