Stacked Tortilla

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! The Taste Canada Awards took place recently and I was so proud that my two of my culinary friends won top awards for their fabulous cookbooks!

Daphna Rabinovitch won Gold for The Baker in Me (Whitecap), her beloved baking bible which I wrote about here: http://www.cjnews.com/food/baker-baking-bible. Daphna was one of the first Toronto ‘foodies’ I met when I visited Canadian Living Magazine’s offices shortly before moving to Toronto from Montreal 20 years ago. Daphna was the director of their test kitchen at that time and we bonded immediately.

Nettie Cronish won Silver for Nourish (Whitecap), which she wrote with her co-author, Cara Rosenbloom, RD. See my review here: http://www.cjnews.com/food/the-shabbat-table-nourish-your-guests-for-shabbat-or-purim. I met Nettie shortly after moving to Toronto in 1997 at a meeting of Women’s Culinary Network (which has sadly ceased to exist). Nettie was so warm and welcoming. She was wearing two different colored clogs, and when I commented, she smiled and replied, “And I have a similar pair at home, except the colors are opposite!”

See last week’s recipes here: http://www.cjnews.com/food/shabbat-table-recipies-unplugged

The following recipes from these award-winning cookbook authors are ideal to serve to family and friends on a chilly fall weekend. Nettie’s Stacked Tortilla & Bean Pie would make an excellent addition to a Shabbat lunch buffet table and can be served at room temperature, which is a bonus.

And now that you’ve had such a healthy main dish, there’s no need to feel guilty when you indulge in Daphna Rabinovitch’s totally addictive Carmelita Squares! You know you want to – I certainly do! Enjoy!!

PS: Both Nourish and The Baker in Me make great gifts – don’t forget to buy a copy for yourself! 


Adapted from NOURISH: WHOLE FOOD RECIPES FEATURING SEEDS, NUTS AND BEANS by Nettie Cronish and Cara Rosenbloom (Whitecap) 

Nettie writes: “This recipe has a spectacular layered presentation and is great for a buffet table. This pie is delicious hot, cold or at room temperature, and it makes great leftovers.

4 whole grain tortillas (10 inch/25 cm each), trimmed

1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 jalapeno chile, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin

1/2 tsp (2 mL) sea salt

1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground black pepper

19 oz (560 mL) can no-added-salt pinto beans, drained

1 1/4 cups (300 mL) dark beer or water

1 cup (250 mL) frozen corn niblets

1 red pepper, diced

2 cups (500 mL) shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup (60 mL) thinly sliced fresh chives

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Using a paring knife, trim the tortillas to fit a 9-inch (23 cm) spring-form pan.
  2. In a large skillet over medium, heat the oil. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes.
  3. Add the beans and beer to the skillet, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated, about 10–12 minutes. Stir in the corn and red pepper. Remove from heat.
  4. Place tortilla in bottom of the spring-form pan. Layer with a quarter of the beans and 1/2 cup (125 mL) cheese. Repeat three more times, finishing with cheese on the top layer.
  5. Bake until cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Unmold the pie; sprinkle with chives. Let stand for 10 minutes to set. Serve sliced into 6 wedges.

Serves 6

Tip: Spring-form pans are not only for cakes! A spring-form pan is ideal for this tortilla pie as it helps to keep the layers intact without the filling falling out. Turn the bottom of the spring-form pan upside down before assembling the pie, since this side of the bottom has no lip, making it easier to slide the pie off after baking.


Adapted from THE BAKER IN ME by Daphna Rabinovitch (Whitecap)

Daphna Rabinovitch made these for a friend’s 50th birthday party and the guests virtually ignored all the other desserts on the table, devoured these treats and then promptly spent the night discussing how good they were!

Daphna writes: “I know mothers and authors are not supposed to play favourites, but if I’m perfectly honest, this is one of my very favourite bars. I love the oatiness of the base and topping, revel in the richness of the caramel filling and swoon when I think of how the chocolate melts into the amber coloured caramel. The caramel in this recipe yields about 2 cups (500 mL). Yes, of course, you can buy ready-made caramel and use it as an alternative, but the homemade version is so luxurious and sublime that I urge you to try your hand at making it. Don’t be tempted to bake these bars longer than 15 minutes, the filing should ooze ever so slightly.”


2 cups (500 mL) granulated sugar

1 Tbsp (15 mL) light corn syrup

1/2 cup (125 mL) water

3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream, at room temperature

2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter, softened (1 oz/30 g)

Crust and topping:

2 cups (500 mL) rolled oats (quick)

1 2/3 cups (410 mL) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (175 mL) packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

3/4 cup (175 mL) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (6 oz/175 g)

1 cup (250 mL) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (250 mL) chopped walnuts

Caramel: Make the caramel first. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan set over low heat, combine sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup (125 mL) water. Cook gently until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil without stirring but brushing down sides of pan with a brush dipped in cold water, until mixture turns a deep amber colour, 5–8 minutes. Averting your face (to avoid any sputtering caramel), pour cream into saucepan. Add in butter. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture stops boiling and caramel is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour or until thickened.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Lightly grease sides and bottom of a 13- × 9-inch (33× 23 cm) metal cake pan. Line with parchment paper so that bottom is covered and there is a 2-inch (5 cm) overhang on the 2 long sides.

Crust and topping: In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Pour melted butter over dry mixture, stirring with a fork until mixture is thoroughly moistened and starts to clump together. Transfer 1 heaping cup (250+ mL) of mixture to a separate bowl; set aside.

Press remainder of oat mixture evenly into base of prepared cake pan. Bake in centre of preheated oven until crust is golden, 20–25 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Spread cooled caramel over base without disturbing it too much. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and walnuts. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture over surface.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the topping is JUST starting to turn golden. Let bars cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 2 hours. Run a small paring knife around the edges of pan to loosen. Lift out using parchment paper. Cut into bars (or cut what you need, cover pan with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days).

Makes about 3 dozen bars.

Baker’s Tips:

Adding corn syrup (or some lemon juice) to the caramelizing sugar helps prevent crystallization.

This recipe is a good example of how introducing other ingredients changes the nature of caramelized sugar. Add some whipping cream and you have a caramel sauce. Add some butter and whipping cream, and you have a butterscotch sauce.

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of twelve cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at www.gourmania.com or email her at goodfood@gourmania.com


Norene Gilletz
Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and now a podcaster. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at gourmania.com..