Tortas fritas are very cheap to make, as you need next to nothing in your pantry to whip them up. They can be served sweet or salty, and they are generally considered an excellent food for a rainy afternoon.
- 300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 60 g (2 oz/¼ cup) lard
- 185 ml (6 fl oz/¾ cup) full-cream (whole) milk
- vegetable oil, for frying
- granulated sugar, sweet jam, chocolate spread or Dulce de leche (recipe here), to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
2. Heat the lard and milk in a small saucepan over low heat until just warmed through and the lard has evenly melted into the milk.
3. With the motor running, add the milk and lard to the flour mixture and process until you have a large ball of dough.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for just a couple of minutes and form into a smooth disc. Roll the dough into a 2-mm (1⁄16 in) thick circle and, using a 10-cm (4 in) cookie cutter, cut circles from the dough and score a small cross in the centre of each. Roll out any excess dough to make at least 12 circles.
5. Pour enough oil to come half way up the side of a frying pan and heat over medium–high heat. The oil is ready when a breadcrumb dropped into the pan sizzles on contact.
6. Working in batches, add a few dough circles and cook for 3–4 minutes, turning frequently with a slotted spoon, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain and repeat with the remaining dough.
7. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the tortas fritas to lightly coat or leave plain and spread with your favourite sweet jam, chocolate spread or dulce de leche. Serve hot.
Recipe from The Food of Argentina by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz, Smith Street Books, RRP $44.99