This week's Test it Tuesday subject is the Perfect Tortilla pan. The culinary department at Pierpont Community and Technical College helped me test it out.
The Perfect Tortilla commercials claim to let you create perfect tortilla bowls in five minutes, without the fat of fried tortilla bows you can buy at a restaurant.
Culinary student Theresa Hill prepared different versions, using different sizes of corn and flour tortillas, using butter or oil on some and doubling the pans while they cooked.
We test how quickly the tortillas will cook with two ten inch four tortillas. Hill butters one and leaves the other plain before putting them in a conventional oven at the recommended 400 degrees.
The directions say the larger tortillas should take no more than ten minutes to cook. At five minutes, Hill said they are not done.
"They're still soft in the middle, they're still raw," Hill said. "The tops are starting to get brown but it's going to take much longer than five minutes."
The tortillas will cook completely in about six or seven minutes in a convection oven, Hill said, but you may need to lower the temperature to keep the edges from burning.
At ten minutes, the tortilla bowls are in much better shape, but both are still soft and doughy.
"They need more than ten minutes, if you're going to use a conventional oven," Hill said.
Next, we wanted to see if the bowls would conveniently hold a dish like a taco salad or a dessert.
"We had some good results with them," Chef Jay Mahoney said. "First of all, as far as healthy concerns, it does a great job in that area because you don't really need to add any oil to it to crisp it up. Maybe a little bit of flavor sacrifice from the loss of that fat, but not much and if you add the right ingredients you're going to get plenty of flavor from those ingredients."
Mahoney added a taco salad with pork in a plain tortilla, and added a scoop of ice cream and a sauce to a tortilla baked with cinnamon.
"We found out that to really get a nice open bowl, it was necessary to use two of the tortilla pans to hold it open to really give it a nice beautiful shape around the edge," Mahoney said. "If you just throw it in the oven, in just the one pan, it tends to pull in."
Both bowls held up, and though the bottoms were not exactly flat, the tortilla bowl did not tip over.
The product works well with most tortillas.
"The biggest issue we found is if you do the small ones, they will not stay in the shell," Hill said. "You have to double the containers over each other to actually hold them in there and they crack. Whether you oil them or not, they crack."
You may need to adjust the cooking time or temperature based on your oven for truly "perfect" tortillas.
"The overall product is great," Hill said. "I'm keeping mine!"