one of my coworkers is from el salvador. every now and then, she will arrive in the cafe with a bag of sweets from her favorite bakery, la espiga. even though it is a mexican bakery, they often have traditional little el salvadorian cakes called quesadilla. yes, quesadilla and no, it doesn’t have tortillas in it. these cakes are popular all over el salvador and are made with cheese-usually a freshly crumbled farmers cheese, but frequently parmesan cheese. they are wonderfully rich with a slightly cheesy aroma. and much to my surprise, even better if they sit for a day.
on a recent visit to a new mexican bakery near my house, i spied a tray of quesadillas in the showcase and added it to my tray. all of the mexican bakeries are self serve; you pick up a tray and a pair of tongs and make your selections from the cabinets and racks and then give it to the cashier.
not bad for less than $5 dollars. from the left: bolillo(i bought 2 but the other is missing…), concha, quesadilla, butter cookie(that tasted a little like coconut to me) and a cheese turnover.
the quesadilla from la conchita panaderia y pasteleria. they had a little bit of a sandy texture from what i am guessing is rice flour. the cake is sweet and even though it contains parmesan cheese, i could not detect it in the flavor.
now that i am not obsessing/stressing over pies, i decided that it might be fun to try and make some of these at home. a quick surf and off i was baking my own quesadillas. after about 5 or 6 batches, i finally settled on a recipe that isn’t too buttery but is plenty moist with a noticeable cheese aroma.
the fine, moist crumb and slightly cheesy flavor makes these good with a cup of dark roast coffee. a few notes; i tested these with rice flour, equal parts of all purpose and rice flour as well as masa harina(buy the plain stuff not the tortilla/tamale mix). every recipe i read called for either all purpose or rice flour or a combination but either will work. one recipe i read called for cake flour but i did not try that. i used buttermilk but it could be sour cream, mexican crema or just milk. and if you do not want to use parmesan, try a mexican crumbling cheese, just be sure to break it into small pieces.