I couldn’t decide whether to call these corn tortilla crepes or crepe-y corn tortillas. In the end, I decided on corn tortilla crepes for brevity’s sake, but really, either way, these little babies have turned out to be an enchilada game changer for me.
It all started a week or two ago when The Husband mentioned he was hungry for some enchiladas, and being totally down with that idea, I got to it. But as usually happens when I get ready to make enchiladas, I start to dread that inevitable moment when I look over at the assembled enchiladas only to see the corn tortillas beginning to tear or crack. And if that isn't frustration enough, they love to further fall apart upon serving. It’s been an on-going battle in our enchilada-loving home, but it certainly hasn’t kept me from making them.
I watched Grandma B dip her corn tortillas in hot oil to keep them from splitting and falling apart, but I’ve resisted that enterprise because of the added fat and calories. I’ve tried warming my tortillas so they’re soft and pliable before using them and this works pretty well, but certainly isn't foolproof. I’ve tried dipping my tortillas in hot enchilada sauce, which only makes them soggy, and I’ve tried spooning enchilada sauce onto my enchiladas as soon as they’re assembled to prevent the splitting.
I’m pretty sure this is why some people use flour tortillas to make their enchiladas, but that’s not gonna happen here. I’d rather eat broken down corn tortilla enchiladas, but I’m certainly not willing to settle for that!
This is a problem that I only have when I use store-bought corn tortillas. I’ve tried several different kinds with varying results. But the only sure way I’ve found to produce a perfect enchilada is to make homemade tortillas, which is what I usually do. Guaranteed perfect every time.
So why not just make your dang tortillas and be done with it?? Well, I don’t really know the answer to that question, other than this is what I do. I struggle with an issue and just see what comes up. This time what came up was the possibility of a crepe-like tortilla that would hold together beautifully, with all the flavors and textures of a corn tortilla. A tall order, indeed, but thus was born the corn tortilla crepe.
A little research turned up a couple of recipes for crepes made with a corn meal addition, but what I wanted was a corn tortilla made like a crepe, with as much corn tortilla flavor as possible. So I chose to use masa harina (the corn flour I use to make corn tortillas), only adding as much all purpose flour as I had to in order to keep them pliable, and that ratio turned out to be just a little more than 50/50 in favor of the masa.
In order to make a crepe that resembles a corn tortilla, I found that I had to use a bit more batter for each crepe than you normally would. It wound up requiring almost 1/3 cup for each crepe, which created a thicker, more tortilla-like texture and really enhanced the corn flavor.
In the end, they were just what I was hoping for and enchilada assembly was a breeze. They also held together perfectly for serving, and most importantly, they tasted amazing. The trifecta of enchilada perfection.
And not only did these crepe-y tortillas make a beautiful enchilada, we scored a huge bonus when I used them to make quesadillas. Oh yeah.
I just threw a crepe on the griddle and sprinkled one side with my quesadilla filling (cheese and green chiles in this instance), and then folded them into quarters for the most perfectly delicious little hand-held quesadilla.
So off you go, find yourself some masa harina and make some tortilla crepes. I’ve included a link to my chicken enchilada recipe and my homemade enchilada sauce. If you like making your enchiladas from scratch, it doesn’t get more scratch than this. Here’s the recipe…
Corn Tortilla Crepes
Makes 10-11 tortilla crepes
1 ½ cups milk
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons masa harina
¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
nonstick cooking spray
Place all of the crepe ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice as needed. Pour this into a liquid measuring cup or bowl and set aside for at least 30 minutes before using. Makes about 2 2/3 cup batter.
Heat an 8-inch skillet (nonstick works well here) over medium high heat. I spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray before making each crepe. Stir the batter well, and then using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop out enough batter to almost fill the measuring cup, but not quite. When your pan is quite hot, slowly pour the crepe batter into the pan, swirling it around to completely cover the bottom of the pan. With this amount of batter, it will take a few more swirls than a traditional crepe, but once the batter is no longer swirling and the top looks almost dry, set the pan back on the burner for about 30 seconds to cook the bottom. Use a spatula to loosen the edges and release the crepe. Flip it over and continue cooking for another 20 to 30 seconds.
Flip it out onto a plate and cover with a clean towel. Continue making the rest of the crepes, stacking them on top of each other, keeping them covered.