Gorditas de Queso con Piloncillo
1/4 cup lard or shortening
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 ounces piloncillo, coarsely grated, or dark brown sugar (see introduction of Calabaza en Tacha recipe)
4 ounces grated queso anejo or ricotta salata
1 cinnamon stick, freshly ground, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 ounces butter, softened
-- Honey, to serve
For the dough: In a medium bowl, combine the lard with 3/4 cup hot water. Stir until lard is completely melted.
In a large bowl, sift together salt and flour. Make a loose mound with a well in the middle and pour the hot lard mixture into it. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough comes together, then knead with hands until dough is smooth.
For the gorditas: In a medium bowl, mix together the piloncillo, cheese and ground cinnamon. Add this mixture to the dough along with 3 ounces of butter. Knead until well incorporated and dough is soft, about 3 minutes.
Form dough into a disk and cut into eighths. Form each piece into a patty about 1/2-inch thick. Heat remaining butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add patties and fry until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes per side. Serve warm with honey.
Variation: This recipe can also easily be converted to empanadas. Combine the piloncillo, cheese, cinnamon and 3 ounces butter and set aside. Cut the tortilla dough into 8 portions, roll out to thin rounds, place 1/8 of the piloncillo mixture on one side of the round, fold over and pinch closed to form half moons. Fry on medium-low heat in remaining butter until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes per side. Serve warm