A tortilla press is cheap and great fun to use, but a plate or pan will do for these simple, versatile tortillas
I found myself in the classroom this week. Teachers often like to introduce an element of fun in lessons in the first week after the Christmas holidays, so I helped with a session of 90 or so seven- to eight-year-olds learning about Guatemala. The teachers wanted to get the children cooking some food from the region.
Cooking with 90 children is an eye-opener. The day passed in a blur of maize flour (AKA masa harina or finely ground cornmeal) and popping corn. We bought a tortilla press for the workshop - it wasn't expensive, and the children loved squeezing the balls of dough flat into individual tortillas to be griddled by the adults.
I did a bit of a test run, cooking tortillas at home with my own children the day before. As it was breakfast time, my three ate their tortillas still warm, smudged with a bit of cream cheese and a drizzle of honey. Tortillas are easy to make and are an incredibly versatile, useful vehicle for all manner of ingredients for breakfast, lunch and supper.
(Makes about 15 small or 8 large tortilla)
125g masa harina
150ml tepid water
Pinch of salt, to taste
Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl. Slowly add the water and mix until a dough forms and you can shape it into a ball, then knead a few times with your hands.
Divide the dough into pieces and roll into balls. Place a dough ball between two pieces of parchment paper. Use a tortilla press, plate or heavy pan to flatten the ball into a circle. (You can use a rolling pin, but it might fray a bit at the edges.)
Carefully peel off the paper.
Place on a hot, non-stick or cast-iron pan. Cook for one minute, flip, and cook for another minute.
Best served warm. Alternatively, you can cool, cut into wedges and deep-fry to make homemade tortilla chips.
Corn tortillas with a drizzle of honey. Photograph: Claire Thomson/Guardian