Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I first had Churros when I was around 14, in Kathmandu, except at the time I had no clue that what I was having were in fact ‘churros’. There was an awesome Oberoi property there with a casino (of course, it was the 1990 ya!), which my dad was a patron of. So we would get this annual family visit which we always took during our Dusshehra holidays in October. On a separate note, you HAVE to see Nepal in October! While my parents enjoyed the mysterious joys of the Casino, I don’t say mysterious because we didn’t have access, we had plenty of access. That’s where I saw a 10-12 year order a ‘screwdriver’ and I don’t know if he took to back to a parent! We just weren’t allowed to gamble, so after wandering aimlessly amongst what we didn’t know were usually an assortment of affable drunks we wound up at the coffee shop. Two of my cousins, few years older and me. They ordered, we ate, then we freaked because this would end up on the bill when we leave in a couple of days ... turns out everything we ordered with our room No.’s was on the house! Damn if only we knew, I would have had a dozen delicate platters of that damn doughy, crispy, wonderful thing!
The second time I had them, I knew exactly what I was having and I was having them with the head of kitchen operations of the outlet and she had really pumped me up about them. I don’t know if it was the product promotion or the sweet memories but this time around, the whole experience broke my heart. They were bulbous, slightly overdone and I could taste the oil (sorry about the gross anomaly, but it was like, tasting the smell of hot oil!). The only salvation was the chocolate dipping sauce, exquisite! So then I figured I’m going to have to make me a batch! I tried a total of three recipes and all three were good, this particular one was great. If you have ever made authentic cheese balls, then you will be familiar with how this batter/dough is constructed. It has few panic moments but in the end it all comes together. Follow the measurements to the T, that’s essential! And the other thing is the temperature of the oil, it has to be HOT but not smoking, there’s a fine line and experience makes it clearer! I use a smaller fluted nozzle, what makes these super oily is the time they spend in the oil, if the oil is of optimum temperature, these guys need 4 minutes tops in there and for that they can’t be too thick, they won’t cook through. You don’t want churros that are gooey inside, you want them cake crusty on top and angel food cake-ish inside. The other thing none of the recipes mentioned was that after around 4 batches of 4 churros each, the oil got all bubbly and frothy (it’s the butter in the dough!) and the last batch were a tad oily ...so watch out for that! Enjoy!
Churros are essentially fried, dough pastry, quite like donuts but Spanish ones. Dusted with sugar and served with a sweet dipping sauce. These go very well with most chocolate based sauces but NOT bottled ones. Use Nutella if you don’t want to make your own chocolate sauce. Another variant I love is making a batch of the dipping sauce with 2 tbsp of either Kahlua or Baileys, delightful!
Makes: 16-18, 6” churros
250ml (1 cup) water
100g butter, most recipes say unsalted butter, which is not available locally packaged and dairies always make it very fatty. So I use regular yellow butter, my all time favourite brand is Amul and I skip the salt.
150g (1 cup) plain flour
3 eggs, lightly whisked
Vegetable oil, to deep-fry
Chocolate Dipping Sauce: this time around I committed chocolate tempering sacrilege by using the micro, I am just not a microwave friendly person and not a big fan of shortcuts either... a microwave doesn’t allow me to spend time with my cooking!
2 tbsp fine sugar, I use less sugar because we like our chocolate dark, even Ally, she likes milk chocolate bars but for other stuff like desserts and ice creams, she loves dark chocolate.
200g good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Lindt once, I had to double the sugar, that’s super dark and Ally said it was ‘sour’!!)
250ml (1 cup) milk
2 tbsp butter
Combine water and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until butter melts. Remove from heat. Add the flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined and the dough comes away from the side of the saucepan. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes or until cool. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until well combined. Spoon dough into a piping bag fitted with a 2cm-diameter fluted nozzle.
Heat the oil. Fill up your piping cone and pipe in the churros; I made them 6” inches long, keep a knife handy to help drop the churros from the cone. Deep-fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer churros to a plate lined with paper towels. Dust with fine sugar, the recipe said icing sugar but I always feel fine sugar stays better and icing sugar is a bit cornflour-y. Repeat with the remaining dough, reheating oil between batches.
For the chocolate dipping sauce, combine the chocolate, milk and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
Arrange churros on a platter and serve with chocolate dipping sauce.
Recipe Courtesy - Rodney Dunn, tested and tweaked by moi!