Homemade mini-gorditas de nata

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February 14, 2011Recipes15 Comments

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.



Mini-Gorditas de Nata
Makes about three dozen 3″ gorditas
Recipe adapted from Ana Paula Garcia, translated into English, with the amount of flour adjusted

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.

Ingredients

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.

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15 Responses to “Homemade mini-gorditas de nata”
  1. gloria

    Lesley, they look and sound delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe and Happy Valentine’s Day.

  2. Obet

    It’s easy to find a stand of gorditas at the Centro any day of the week, except maybe the sunday. Smells sooo good.

    • Lesley

      Thanks Obet. Every time I’m in the Centro (mostly in the Calle Lopez area), I’ve never seen them. Perhaps I should head closer to the Zócalo?

      • Obet

        Indeed, the áreas between Zócalo – la Lagunilla are plenty of gorditas.

  3. Cristóbal Huck

    For a wonderful, nutty flavor, try substituting amaranth flour for wheat flour. More nutritious to boot!

    • Lesley

      Thanks for the great tip, Cristóbal. Need to hunt down some amaranth flour!

      • Cristóbal Huck

        It can be found in every natural foods tienda here in Oaxaca.

  4. Alicia

    Dear Lesley,

    I just stumbled about your blog, it’s great! I’m German and living in México D.F. since half a year, before I lived 1,5v ears in Puebla… I liked it better, because it was “mucho más tranquillo”. Nevertheless just want to congratulate you about your blog, I’ll start to read it and hope it’ll help me to build my friendship with the big city. (At the moment I don’t like D.F. a lot, too big, too noisy, too dirty, too insecure… ).

    Saludos,
    Alicia

  5. Don Cuevas

    Gorditas de natas are very popular here in the Pátzcuaro area. We even have the occasional Purépecha woman come up our rural street selling them and stubby, sweet tamales blancos in purple tinged hojas de maíz.

    The smell when the gorditas are baking is irresistible. For us, however, the magic of the aroma seldom carries over to the eating. Most that we’ve had are dull, tasteless stodge.

    Saludos,
    Don Cuevas

  6. anojofilo

    Lesly, you are right, the gorditas de nata that one can find in DF, taste like crumpets.
    But that is not the original taste. The problem is the lack of nata, because it is hard to find real milk in DF.
    I have found very good ones in Jalisco, with a very different consistency than the ones that taste like crumpets. They look the same, but taste absolutely different. Are made with lot of fresh nata, wheat flour, vainilla, sugar, maybe baking powder, and some milk.
    They taste to much as fresh nata. are not dry (no te atragantas, no se pegan al paladar).
    I have not found a correct recipe yet. I think they are done in a similar way than the pie crust dough, but I have not get successful results yet. Is like the nata is not really mixed with the flour. Unfortunately due to the lack of real milk it seems that the original recipe is lost.

    • Lesley

      Thanks Anojofilo. I may try to look in some of my older cookbooks and see what I can find. I know I tasted the real thing in Michoacán once — they were dense, almost creamy. Just have to try and recreate that sensation.

  7. Valle de Bravo

    Anojofilo is right!!! Those are the ingredients of the real recipe:. All purpose flour, eggs, baking powder, vanilla extract, sugar NOT condensed milk, and of course NATA!!!

  8. Valle de Bravo, Méx.

    And they’re mixed by hand, not in fancy Kitchen Aids. That’s how you get the right consistency of the dough.

    • Lesley

      I never mandated that anyone use a KitchenAid — I just said that I used mine. Trust me, I’m a purist through-and-through. Did you read about the time I peeled walnuts by hand for six hours to make the proper chile en nogada? Also, it’s hard to know the right consistency of the dough if you don’t have a context, e.g., someone who can teach me what “right” means. Unfortunately my grandmother never made these or anyone else I know, so I’m learning, patiently, as I go along.

  9. Xiutzal

    this was such a lucky find. I used to have these when I was a lil girl in Mexico City and my sister and I wanted to bake them ourselves as she goes absolutely crazy over these thank you so much an wish me luck as I will bake these very very soon thank you again and keep on bringing old traditions to the new age

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