We spent a week in Barcelona recently, and walking around the city, you notice little bars and cafes everywhere selling hot chocolate with long, piped doughnuts, ribbons of fried batter coated in sugar and sold in cones or paper bags.
Ethan latched onto the idea, as kids do, that he wanted to try churros, but for one reason or another, we were never near a suitable place to buy some when the craving struck. We made a determined effort one day to actually go out and find churros, before realising that Sunday afternoon wasn’t the best time to go looking…
So here’s a recipe for home-made churros, cooked almost entirely to stop Ethan moaning on about going all the way to Spain and not getting any churros.
Bring 250ml of water to the boil and add 75g of unsalted butter, cut into inexact cubes. The butter will melt quickly, and when it has, take the water off the heat and let it cool for a minute.
Mix half a teaspoon of baking powder and a good pinch of salt into 200g of plain flour and add this to the water and butter a spoon at a time, stirring each spoonful in until you get a smooth, very thick batter, the type that you could take a chunk out of with a spoon. You may need to adjust the amount of flour or water to get the right consistency…my mixture was far too thick, and adding more water made the whole thing look distinctly unpromising. A lot of stirring and mixing got things back on track, so do persevere even if you think you’ve made a hash of things.
Let the batter cool for a minute or two and then add a large egg and stir until it’s completely amalgamated.
The finished batter should be quite thick, more like a very loose dough.
Heat enough vegetable oil to deep fry in a sturdy pan, or better still, use a proper fryer. The oil needs to be about 180c.
The usual warnings about deep frying apply – no kids anywhere close, never leave the oil unattended, make sure the pan is stable, watch it like a hawk. The motto of all deep frying should be ‘extreme care needed’.
Fry big teaspoonfuls of the batter about ten at a time for two or three minutes until they’re golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper before sprinkling generously with cinnamon and caster sugar and serving straight away.
Churros are traditionally eaten with hot chocolate, and the combination is an obvious winner. This particular recipe is from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s America, and it’s presented as a Mexican recipe. Jamie’s hot chocolate has a lot of chilli in it…
This version differs from the Spanish street version only in that the batter isn’t piped into the oil. Spooning the batter in and making little, round churros is far easier for small batches made at home.
So, after all that, what did Ethan make of them?
Well, he said they were “OK, but not brilliant“.
Too much cinnamon, apparently.