Sunday, February 6, 2011

Churros Con Chocolate

Now I'm going to start this post with a bit of a disclaimer. I really had forgotten that I would be photographing this until I had already made them and was about to let the boys loose therefore the photos are a bit haphazard. 

One of the best desserts I have had is at a place called 'The Engine Room' which is a little bistro-type of place in suburban Northcote. The food is fantastic and this dessert has been on the menu ever since it opened. After dinner it can be a hard thing to get through this as it is very sweet and very rich...perfect even if it is such a hardship to eat! Their version comes with little round doughnuts dredged in cinnamon sugar and served with a glass of very thick chocolate mixture topped with cream to dunk the doughnuts into. Now I know that traditional churros are pushed through a piping bag with a large star tip but as they serve theirs like this is saw no point in sweating the small stuff about the shape of the doughnuts. As well as this I have quite a few recipes for churros but remembered about this one I had seen in a long ago Delicious magazine I had bought (August 2006 to be precise). When I went back and found it I could hardly believe that the recipe is actually the one from The Engine lucky is that! Next weekend we have my best friend and her family over for dinner and I know she loves this dish too so I thought, at the last minute, that I would trial it before making it when they come over. 

The chocolate mixture for The Engine Room version is made a few hours before you need it so it sets to a light pudding texture and as I didn't have that sort of time I used the chocolate mixture from Nici Wickes book 'World Kitchen', (I wasn't keen on her churros recipe as it was more like a choux pastry) which is more like a thick hot chocolate. The chocolate mixture was fantastic and very easy to make. The churros recipe was also very easy to make. I don't ever deep fry so am not all that onto it (not that it is hard). I had just bought a candy/deep frying thermometer but when I put it into the oil as it was heating the silly thing broke...on it's first use, (you clearly get what you pay for)! So I used the fry-a-piece-of-bread technique where if a cube of bread browns in 30 secs then it's ready). However the first batch I made too big and they browned too fast before cooking through properly. I put them back into the oil but they had some sugar on them and that explains the black bits you can see on the doughnuts. Yes I should have known better but these things happen when your deep frying in temperatures of around 30 C with massive humidity. The rest of them I made smaller and turned the heat down and they came out just like the photo. 

The boys LOVED these! They especially loved having their own little dish of chocolate sauce to dunk the doughnuts into. Despite how it looks the photo of the dunked doughnut was not a case of double dipping, it had been cut in half then dunked for a last minute photo. Give these a go and learn from my errors, ie don't refry with sugar on the outside, and get your temperature and doughnut size not too big.

Churros Con Chocolate

1/2 c caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
20 gm butter, melted
1/2 c milk
1 1/4 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
canola oil for deep frying

Whisk the sugar, vanilla, egg, butter and milk in a bowl. Add combined flour, baking powder and salt and stir until smooth, adding extra flour (I needed another 1/4 c), to form a thick batter. Stand for an hour.

Half-fill a heavy based pot with oil until it reaches 180 C. Fry teasppons of the batter for 2-3 mins until golden (mine, and theirs, is more like well browned I think). Drain and toss in some cinnamon sugar made with 1 c sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg.

Cinnamon-Scented Liquid Chocolate
300 mls milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
300 gm dark chocolate (I used 62%)
3 Tbsp condensed milk
Put the milk and cinnamon into a pot over a low heat and heat until it is just about to boil. Add the chocolate pieces and stir until it melts then add the condensed milk. Serve in little bowls alongside the churros.

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