How to make quesadillas

Although this blog is primarily about screen printing and paper cutting, I thought a little culinary digression would be justified since our “about us” page describes us as “quesadilla scoffers”. Plus, a friend in the park asked me how to make tortillas (one of two ingredients in a quesadilla, the other being cheese, “queso”) and I realised this is hard to describe without visual aides.

So, first, the flour. Maseca corn flour. Made in Mexico and now available on Amazon.
Maseca corn flour
Maseca corn flour
Put 2 cups of maseca into a big mixing bowl. Add cold water and mix with your hand. It’s hard to be precise with measurements: I add it straight from the tap and stop when I reach a soft dough consistency. Knead it a bit with your hands. It is now called “masa” (dough).
Take a golf-ball sized amount of the masa and roll between your two cupped hands into a round ball. It’s probably a good idea to decline offers of help from anyone under five, but since I had to work the camera as well I capitulated.
Making the dough
Next, flatten the ball between two sheets of cling film. I have a nifty tortilla press, available from several websites for about £15, but you can use a rolling pin just as well. My grandmother on my father’s side claps them flat between her hands, but she’s had many years of practise. She’s ninety.
Flattening the Masa
The next step is the tricky one. Carefully remove the top layer of clingflim. Then carefully rest the tortilla exposed-side down onto the palm of your hand. Then unpeel the second piece of cling. Then carefully lay it onto a hot dry pan. (Iris is pretty good at this, see below.)
Unpeeling the tortilla
Cook for one to two minutes on each side. The edges will lift slightly when it’s ready to turn.
asbestos hands required
After the second turn (the tortilla is now back on the original side), use your fingertips to press down quickly on the tortilla. (Asbestos hands definitely help in Mexican cuisine –the flipping and pressing is traditionally done by hand though I guess you could use a spatula). The tortilla should puff up. Leave for half a minute to make sure it’s fully cooked and then it’s done!
cheese on toast, mexican style
A quesadilla is essentially Mexican cheese-on-toast. Just fold the tortilla in half around your piece of cheese and melt on a hot dry pan. We ate hundreds of these as we were developing Iris and Dora Designs. We are definitely more productive screen printers since we moved our operation out of the kitchen and into a studio.