1 pound fresh masa or 1 3/4 cups Masa Harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening
1/4 cup flour *
Generous 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 scant teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack or mild Cheddar cheese
12 leaves epazote
* Use 1/3 cup flour if using Masa Harina.
Dough: If using Masa Harina, mix it with the hot water, cover and let stand
20 to 30 minutes. Mix the fresh masa with the lard or shortening,
flour, salt and baking powder. If necessary, correct the consistency
of the dough. Divide into 12 balls and cover with plastic wrap.
Filling: Divide the filling into 12 portions. Press each portion into a flat
oval, about 2 x 2 1/2 inches. Using a tortilla press, flatten a
ball of the dough between sheets of plastic to make a 5-inch rather
thick tortilla. Remove the top piece of the plastic. Lay one portion
of filling across half the uncovered tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch
border around the edge. Top with a leaf of epazote. Slip your hand
under the plastic beneath the uncovered side of the tortilla, then
carefully fold the tortilla over the filling. Press the edges together
Peel the plastic off the top of the turnover, then flip the turnover
onto one hand, uncovered side down, and peel the plastic off the
bottom. Lay on plastic wrap on the counter. Continue making the
remaining masa balls into turnovers and lay each one apart from
the next to ensure easy retrieval. Cover with plastic.
Heat oil to 375 degrees F, then fry the turnovers 2 at a time, until
browned, about 2 minutes per side.
Drain on paper towels and keep
warm in a slow oven until all are ready.