Here’s a simple recipe for a flatbread made to compliment my desert stew that’s based around using barrel cactus fruit. Cactus seeds of a number of different cactus are edible, although, I can only speak to eating the seeds of saguaro and barrel cactus, so for this recipe, I’m specifically referring to barrel cactus, and, specifically, these should be from Ferocactus wislizenii, harvested in Arizona.
The seeds are inside the cactus fruit, and are removed before dehydrating as I outline here. The seeds can be used fresh as a sprinkle, or dried. Dried, I found my seeds to be rich and aromatic, almost like roasting roots for coffee or something similar, they have a very nice, roasty-toasty flavor.
The flatbreads are meant to be dipped into goat stew, but since they’re made with some all purpose flour too, they’ll be pliable enough to make tacos, scoop up some curry or a nice braise, spread with mashed tepary beans, or used wherever you’d want a nice piece of flatbread.
Now that I think of it, you could even use them to make a desert themed pizza, not something with tomato, but I’d say more along the lines of a desert theme, maybe spread with soft, whipped goat cheese when they come off the griddle, and dressed with a salad of fresh miners lettuce.
Note that I make these with sourdough starter, as much for the flavor, as for the improved shelf life. If you don’t feel like using starter, feel free to add a tiny pinch of yeast and allow the dough to sit overnight.
Cactus Seed Flatbread
- 30 grams 1:1 sourdough starter or substitute an additional 15 grams each of flour and water
- 70 grams all purpose flour or another flour like whole wheat
- 60 grams water
- 35 grams very fine cornmeal such as flint corn
- 15 grams 2 heaping Tablespoons driedtoasted cactus seeds
- ½ teaspoon finely ground salt
- 15 grams virgin sunflower oil or another oil, like olive
- Combine all the ingredients except salt and mix to combine. Leave the mixture out for a few hours, covered, then mix in the salt. From here you could leave the mix out overnight for a stronger flavor, or refrigerate until needed.
- To cook, make balls of dough about the size of a large golf ball, then roll out on a floured surface or a tortilla press. Cook the flatbreads on high heat in an ungreased cast iron skillet, comal or flat top on one side, until slightly charred, and puffed.
- The flatbreads can be made ahead and frozen after cooling, but the aroma of the cactus seed will be the strongest when freshly made, and hot off the griddle.