A Two-Continent Culinary Twist

Photo #837: Pouring WaterLocation Taken: Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington
Time Taken: June 2008

I wonder why more people don’t combine ingredients from multiple cultures into one meal like I do. I find such lovely combinations that way!

For instance, I’ve been making pasties lately. That’s pronounced with a long “aa” sound like father, not the short “a” of paste, mind you. It’s a traditional meat-and-potato hand pie type thing popular in a handful of spots around the world, most notably Cornwall in England, where it was invented, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a place settled by a high number of Cornish miners and where I lived for a bit as a kid. It’s a quintessential lunch food: filling, easy to pack, good warm or cold, fast to eat, and so on. I’ve been making them a lot lately for just that use.

But well, I don’t like sticking with just one recipe. I like to experiment. Sometimes with simple things, like my swapping out the traditional rutabaga for other sweeter roots, namely golden beets and parsnips. Other times more complex, like my attempts to fuse the deliciousness of pasties and enchiladas (it’s a long story).

It was in that latter experiment that I hit gold. Enchiladas are frequently made with corn tortillas, and what would you know but that I’ve also been playing with a bag of Maseca lately, a special corn flour that’s used in just about every corn tortilla out there! And I’d tried out a pizza dough recipe that uses it lately, so I knew it substituted in as easy as can be for regular wheat flour. So, in an attempt to add more Mexican flavors to the experimental pastiladas, I swapped out a third of the wheat flour for the Maseca.

And lo and behold, I ended up with a dough that was both easier to work with and tastier. That, like, never happens. You usually get one or the other. The recipe I’ve been using for the pastie dough tended towards swapping between sticky or crumbly, either clinging to the rolling pin and tearing apart or cracking at the edges when I rolled it thin enough. But adding in the Maseca made it exactly the right springy consistency where it rolled out nice and easily but stayed intact the whole way through. And the Maseca adds a marvelous extra dimension to the flavor of the dough that just works perfectly! It’s even sturdier than the plain flour dough when baked, which is perfect for anything that needs to survive a commute!

I love it when things work out. English recipe with a Mexican twist. Who’da thunk.


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