We are inspired by a recent Jacques Pépin Celebrates episode to use metal brioche molds as frying containers. He used small molds to shape crèpes for a side dish, but we use two 7-inch molds here to shape tortillas for fried tortilla shells. It works very nicely and is easy, although it does require a large amount of oil to cook.
mix of peanut and canola
We start by measuring how much oil we will need in our pot to submerge the fluted brioche molds. We fill the Dutch oven about ¾ full (it is always a good idea to leave a couple of inches of space at the top so the oil does not boil over) with a combination of peanut and canola oils. We have lots of peanut oil around from our Christmas Eve fondue
, which is why we use it (along with canola oil). We begin heating the oil over medium-high heat, with our thermometer submerged and clipped to the pot. We want the oil to reach 360° F, which takes about 15 minutes.
When the oil is about ready, we lower the heat to medium. We fit a tortilla into one of the molds and then place the other mold on top. We gently lower the sandwich of molds into the hot oil, with tongs, and then press the top mold down to keep the shape while the tortilla begins to fry. There is a lot of splattering so we stand back as best we can. When the bubbles begin to subside, after just a couple of minutes, we remove the top mold with a combination of our tongs and “spider”, and then our bottom mold, keeping as much oil in the Dutch oven as possible. We place the hot metal molds into the metal colander in our sink and then remove the fried tortilla shell and place on a paper towel lined plate. The shell is nicely shaped, crisp and lightly browned. We season with salt and get ready to fry another shell.
We carefully put another tortilla between the molds – they are very hot – and fry in the oil. We repeat for all of the shells.