The idea for recipe came from a recent post on Cup of Jo, detailing a two-ingredient pumpkin pasta from Cassie of the blog Wholefully. The pasta dough is made from just flour and pumpkin (basically the pumpkin works in lieu of water to provide hydration and elasticity). The pasta was gorgeous, and the recipe was perfectly simple and seasonal. Doesn’t get much better.
So a few days later when I pulled out masa harina to make homemade corn tortillas, I decided to try the same technique. (If you’ve never made homemade corn tortillas, please try it! Special equipment is not necessary, as I’ll explain below. It’s also an excellent recipe to involve your kids in the kitchen… my kids love rolling and flattening the balls; just like play-doh! A great set of instructions for classic corn tortillas can be found here. To make pumpkin tortillas, I added pumpkin puree in increments until the dough reached the same consistency that comes from my standard recipe of masa harina and water. It turns out a 1:1 ratio of pumpkin purée to masa harina is perfect. You will know you’ve used the correct ratio of pumpkin to cornmeal when the dough is almost like play-doh: pliable and tacky but not sticky.
A quick note here about the masa harina: This finely ground corn flour is available through Amazon as well as at most supermarkets. Please note that you cannot substitute cornmeal for masa harina; although both products originate from corn, masa harina is made with dried corn that is soaked in lime and water. This process changes its structure, making it soft and its nutrients more readily available. Also note that I used the Maseca brand masa harina, which absorbs more moisture than other brands that are more coarsely ground, such as Bob’s Red Mill. Both brands are delicious with their own merits, but you’ll need to be flexible here when adjusting amounts to reach the desired consistency.
The dough was a beautiful orange and the color became even more saturated after browning in the skillet. And I think the addition of pumpkin made the tortillas even more tender, less brittle, than usual.
There are so many fillings that would complement these tortillas, both in appearance and taste. This particular night, I kept things simple by balancing the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin tortilla with the earthiness of black beans, the salty tang of crumbled feta, the bite of diced red onion, and the fresh citrusy notes of cilantro. They were delicious (not to mention the fact that these basic ingredients are easy on the wallet!).
But the ideas for filling these tortillas are endless. I’d love to know what you come up with (leave your ideas in the comments below!). In the meantime, here are a few combos I plan to try soon:
White Beans + Mushrooms + Fried Sage + Parmesan
Shrimp + Curry Sauce + Sauteed Onions + Pumpkin Seeds
Butter + Sauteed Apple + Honey + Pine Nuts
Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Tortillas
The tortillas are simple and delicious: just masa harina and pureed pumpkin. Using pumpkin in lieu of water makes the tortillas more tender, less brittle, than usual. This recipe balances the subtle sweetness of the pumpkin tortilla with the earthiness of black beans, the salty tang of crumbled feta, the bite of diced red onion, and the fresh citrusy notes of cilantro.
- 1 ½ cups masa harina
- 1 ½ cups Pumpkin puree
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 cups black beans
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- 1 small red onion diced
- 2 small avocados sliced
To make the tortillas:
Mix masa harina, salt, and pumpkin puree together in bowl. Because there are variations between the absorbency of masa harina brands, and the moisture levels of pumpkin puree, you may need to adjust these amounts. But the goal is to create a dough that comes together almost like play-doh: pliable but not sticky. For best results, let rest about 10 minutes so the masa harina has a chance to fully absorb the moisture.
Roll tortilla dough into round balls about 1 inch in diameter.
Press the dough balls into tortillas about ⅛ inch thick. You have a couple of options here: I use a tortilla press and cover the dough on both sides with a square of parchment paper so that it doesn’t stick to the press. But recently I tried a suggestion from Cooks Illustrated that worked even better: cut open the sides of a large ziploc bag and place the ball in between the two sheets of plastic. Use a clear pie plate (so you can see what is happening with the dough), to press down on the round and create a tortilla shape.
Heat a skillet (I prefer using my cast iron) to medium-high. Cook tortillas until they are starting to brown in spots. As you finish a tortilla, remove from the skillet and wrap in a clean dish towel so that it continues to steam and soften (it will be fairly brittle when you first remove it from the heat).
Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container or ziploc for up to four days. You can also freeze for up to three months.
To fill tortillas:
Warm black beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Fill each tortilla with a few spoonfuls of beans. Top with avocado, feta, onion, and cilantro.