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Picadas (Crimped Masa Tartlets)

Try this recipe for Picadas (Crimped Masa Tartlets)

Picadas (Crimped Masa Tartlets)

The size of these crimped tartlets can vary. I’ve seen them as large as five inches in diameter, which is manageable at a dinner table but too messy for a passed appetizer, which is how I like to serve them. Three inches is the most useful size.

I am giving directions for briefly frying the picada shells in hot lard, the authentic Veracruzan technique. But when I serve them I often simplify things by reheating the shells on a griddle and just brushing them lightly with melted lard. This saves a lot of calories and a mess! Reduce the amount of lard to 2 to 3 tablespoons if you choose this option.

Calories Per Serving


For the picadas and frying:

  • 1 Pound masa, fresh or reconstituted by mixing 2 cups masa harina with about 1 1/8 cup water
  • 1 Teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup lard, preferably home-rendered

For the topping:

  • 2/3 Cups Salsa Verde de Aguacate (see notes for recipe)
  • 2/3 Cups Salsa Verde de Aguacate (see notes for recipe)
  • 8 Ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2 Cup Mexican crema
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped (optional)


For the picadas and frying:

With your hands, work the salt into the masa and divide into 20 to 22 walnut-sized balls. Press them into rounds about 3 inches across and 1/8 inch thick. Set them side by side (not stacked) on baking sheets as they are shaped, covering them with a damp cloth.

Lightly grease a griddle or large cast-iron skillet and place over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles on contact.  Have ready a basket lined with tea towels.  Now you must work quickly, because the masa will be supple enough to shape for only a few seconds after baking.  Place two of the prepared masa rounds on the hot griddle and bake for about 1 1/2 minutes, until the edges shrink away slightly from the pan and lose their raw look.  Turn and cook the other side for another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.   Remove to a plate or work surface; while they are still hot, quickly pinch up the edges into a slightly raised rim.  Place them in the basket and cover snugly with the towels.  Continue with the remaining masa rounds, two at a time.

In a small  saucepan, heat the lard over medium heat until hot but not quite rippling.  When ready to serve, arrange the picadas on a griddle and brush with the melted lard.  

For the topping:

Top half of the picadas with about 1 tablespoon of Salsa Verde de Aguacate and the other half with about 1 tablespoon of salsa de chile colorado. Scatter some of the cheese over the sauce in each picada and top each one with a swirl of crema and optional chopped onion.

Nutritional Facts
Calories Per Serving180
Total Fat10g15%
Vitamin A40µg4%
Vitamin B120.2µg3.4%
Vitamin B60.1mg6.6%
Vitamin C2mg3%
Vitamin D0.5µg0.1%
Vitamin E0.2mg0.8%
Vitamin K2µg3%
Folate (food)9µgN/A
Folate equivalent (total)78µg20%
Folic acid41µgN/A
Niacin (B3)3mg13%
Riboflavin (B2)0.2mg12.8%
Thiamin (B1)0.3mg23.2%