I’ve been meaning to make these for what seems like forever. The recipe for them is pretty standard whereever you look so there’s no tom foolery with the basics here. They’re easy to do, and I’ve added in my usual hints and tips (the bits the books leave out!)
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
20g caster sugar
A little extra caster sugar for dusting.
1 litre sunflower oil for frying (or the use of a deep fat fryer)
I bought a deep fat fryer with doughnuts in mind, one of those cheapy ones from the supermarket. Turns out it was a bit of a death trap, with a dodgy electrical connection. Very quickly the fryer was resigned to the bin, turns out it was actually safer to use a pan and the hob – I didn’t want ‘real’ chips anyway! I have digressed, in true Pink Whisk style, back to the recipe.
150ml double cream
100g milk chocolate, chopped (use dark chocolate if you prefer)
Start by making the chocolate dip.
Place the cream in a pan and chop the chocolate into small pieces.
Heat the cream till just below boiling.
Tip in the chocolate and let it stand for two minutes.
Mix to a smooth glossy ganache and pour into a ramekin or small bowl and allow to cool.
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl and mix it up, a whisk is good.
Add the water and butter to a pan and heat gently until the butter melts.
Bring to the boil and boil for 1 minute.
(Note to self: don’t walk off forgetting about it and boiling for ten minutes, you have to start again)
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients in the bowl and pour in the liquid.
Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
The batter is more of a soft squishy dough, with a consistency of a really thick choux pastry. If yours is very dry and you don’t think it will squeeze from a piping bag add some extra water a tablespoon at a time, beating it in well.
Add the batter to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle – it needs to be a wide nozzle – at least 1.5cm wide at the opening.
You can make the batter and fill the piping bag in advance of when you want to fry it. Squeeze the batter down so it reaches the end of the nozzle and tie a knot in the loose end of the bag. Wrap the tip well in clingilm to stop the air getting to it. Keep at room temperature until you’re ready to fry!
Put the oil in a large pan – make sure it’s big enough, you only want the oil to come one third of the way up.
Heat over a medium heat to 170c. I’m using my thermometer to get to the right temp, if you have a (working) deep fat fryer you can set the thermostat. Without a thermometer you can test for the right temp by adding a drop of batter and it should sizzle.
Please be careful, pans of hot oil need your full concentration.
Now you will need a slotted metal spoon, scissors and a plate lined with kitchen paper.
Holding the piping bag above the pan squeeze out a length of batter. When it gets to about 5″ long snip it off with the scissors and let it drop carefully into the pan.
The batter will shrink a little in length when fried but you can also make much longer ones if you’d prefer – just remember not to overload the pan.
The batter will drop to the bottom of the oil and rest on the base of the pan.
Squeeze two or three more churros into the hot oil, trying to place them away from each other otherwise you’ll end up with one huge one in the bottom of the pan.
Let them fry for a minute before using the slotted spoon to release them from the bottom of the pan so that they float on the surface.
Fry for three to four minutes until lightly golden brown, remove them from the oil with the slotted spoon and place them to drain on the kitchen paper. Sprinkle them with a little caster sugar.
Repeat the frying until you’ve used up all the batter.
Serve straight away with the chocolate dip!
Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire