A gordita can be one of many small Mexican treats. This one comes from chef Fany Gerson, who was born in Mexico City and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. She has worked in kitchens worldwide, including Michelin three-star Akelare in Spain, Eleven Madison Park, and Rosa Mexicano in New York. Her Gorditas de Piloncillo are sweet and savory and the perfect side dish for a fiesta.
- 2 ounces piloncillo cheese, finely chopped
- 3 ounces queso añejo, or ricotta salada
- 1 teaspoon canela, freshly ground
- 1 pound fresh masa, or 1 2/3 cups masa harina mixed with 1 cup hot water
- 2 cups lard or vegetable oil, for frying
- Combine the piloncillo, cheese, and canela in a bowl and knead in the masa until uniformly distributed. Add a bit of water if it feels too dry or a little masa harina if it’s too sticky.
- Shape the dough into 12 even balls.
- Place enough lard in a heavy pot to reach a depth of least 3 inches and heat to about 365°F. (You can check the temperature by dipping a wooden spoon in the fat; once it steadily bubbles, it’s ready.) While this heats, flatten the masa rounds between your hands (you can dampen your hands very lightly so they don’t stick or press down on top with a piece of plastic wrap) to about 1/8- inch thick.
- Slide them into the hot fat and bathe them with a spoon so they are covered with fat at all times, and turn often, frying until they are golden on all sides and make sure not to overcrowd the pan.
- Drain on paper bags or towels and enjoy warm. (You can keep them in a warming oven for 15 minutes.)