Sunday, 25 September 2016

Recipe: Churros

Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off, a programme where amateur bakers compete to be crowned the Bake Off Champion.
 
The competition takes place over a number of weeks, each of which has a different theme. Topics covered include cakes, biscuits, bread, tarts and this year for the first time ever there was a ‘batter week’ during which the contestants had to make Yorkshire puddings, lacy pancakes and churros.
 
Churros are made from a dough – similar to choux pastry – which is piped into long fingers or into spirals before being deep-fried  and then tossed in cinnamon sugar whilst still hot. They are popular in Spain, Portugal and Latin America where they are often eaten for breakfast with a strong cup of coffee. I love to eat them with a chocolate dipping sauce, but they are also fabulous on their own.
 
This churro dough is incredibly easy to make but as it is quite stiff, some strength is needed when piping the individual churros. Some recipes advocate piping them straight into the hot oil but I find it easier to pipe then out onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper first. Also, although I love the convenience of plastic disposable piping bags, I find that fabric piping bags work best when making churros as they are stronger. Use a scissors to snip each churro once it is the required length.

INGREDIENTS:
250g plain flour, sifted
50g butter
200ml water
1tsp of vanilla extract
 
Chocolate Dipping Sauce:
125g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
250ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
 
To finish:
100g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
350ml vegetable oil
 
METHOD:
 
To make the churros:

  1. Place the flour into a mixing bowl. Separately, place the butter, water and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat and pour into the flour, mixing well with a wooden spoon so that there are no pockets of flour remaining.
  2. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes and then place in a fabric piping bag fitted a large star shaped nozzle. Pipe 15cms lengths of the mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper until all the mixture has been piped. Place the tray in the fridge for 30 minutes as the churros will hold their shape better when they are deep-fried.
 
Chocolate dipping sauce:
  1. Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and heat together over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly to create a smooth sauce. Serve warm alongside the finished churros in a small bowl.
 
To fry the churros:
  1. Mix the caster sugar and cinnamon together and place on a large flat bowl.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil to approximately 160C in a large heavy-based saucepan and then fry the churros in batches, 3 or 4 at a time until golden brown all over (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper before tossing in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.  Serve warm with the chocolate sauce.
 
Makes 15-16 churros.