The name tortas fritas translates to “fried cakes” or “fried pies”. Though they resemble Native American fry bread, tortas fritas are like fried biscuits. Unlike fry bread, this dough is prepared with more fat (usually lard), like biscuit dough. Tortas fritas are popular in Argentina and Uruguay, where it is traditional to enjoy them on a rainy afternoon with yerba mate tea. Tortas fritas are quick to make and a great treat for weekend mornings as well. In Argentina and Uruguay, tortas fritas are often served with dulce de leche or jam. They are normally fried in lard, but you can substitute vegetable shortening.
- 2¼ cups flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ tablespoons butter
- 1½ tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard
- about 1 cup milk
- vegetable shortening or lard
- Mix flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Add butter and 1½ tablespoons shortening or lard and mix into the flour with your fingers until well blended.
- Add milk gradually, stirring and then kneading gently as you go, until the mixture forms a smooth dough (add more flour if mixture becomes too wet).
- Roll dough out to about ½ cm thickness, and use a round cutter to make 9 cm circles. (Or separate dough into about 10 pieces, shape each piece into a ball, and flatten each ball into a pancake about ½ cm thick). Poke a hole in the centre of each with your finger.
- Melt enough shortening or lard in a small skillet to have a depth of about 2½ cm of fat, and heat until fat sizzles when the dough is added. Fry breads in batches until golden brown on both sides, turning them once.
- Drain tortas fritas on paper towels and sprinkle with sugar while still hot.
- Serve warm.