Sopaipillas are a traditional dessert I discovered while living in the American Southwest. I first tried them at the El Rialto Restaurant in Las Vegas, New Mexico, a few miles from where I lived.
These treats are sometimes referred to as little pillows, since they are puffed and hollow in the center. The word means ‘little bread soaked in oil.’ This is a quick version made from tortillas; the original is made from fresh dough.
Fried dough is a treat in many cultures—including donuts in America, puri in India, mandazi in East Africa, and churros in Mexico. Fried dough is sometimes dusted, dipped, or filled; other times it is served in its unadorned golden splendor.
For me, the hardest thing about frying is making sure the oil is at the correct temperature. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil by dropping in a small amount of dough. It should produce vigorous bubbles and reach a golden brown color in 60 seconds. If it browns too quickly or slowly, adjust the temperature accordingly.
4 8-inch wheat tortillas
vegetable oil (preferably canola or corn), for frying
powdered sugar or cocoa (optional)
honey, for serving (optional)
1. Heat 1/2 to 1-inch oil in a deep and small pot on medium-high heat. Let the oil heat for 5-10 minutes before testing it. The oil should be 350F.
2. Cut tortillas into wedges or strips.
3. Fry tortillas pieces in batches for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, flipping once. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
4. Dust with powered sugar or cocoa.
5. Drizzle or dip into honey to serve.