Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Churros con Chocolate ala Dulcinea

Dulcinea Churros con Chocolate

Here I am again on a food search, trying to find some churros dipped in thick chocolate like those found in Spain or the ones from Dulcinea Restaurant in the Philippines. Whenever we go home to the Philippines, one of the first places we eat at is Dulcinea where they serve hot Churros con Chocolate that are very similar to those found in Spain. Here in Chicago, my hunt for churros produced the Mexican-style ones. The difference: the Spanish-style ones are lighter. If you compare it to Dunkin Donuts doughnuts, the Mexican-style churros are similar to old-fashion cake doughnuts while the Spanish style ones are like French crullers - without the sugar coating. The Mexican churros are normally long and straight, while the Spanish ones are served curled.

Churrera

The churro or Spanish doughnut is normally served for breakfast dipped in thick hot chocolate. They have a ridged surface as as result in being piped directly unto hot oil through a churrera, a syringe with a star shaped tip. Churros are normally sold by street vendors who make them fresh in their stand and serve them hot. Here you find them in restaurants as part of their dessert or snack offering. One of the most popular restaurants serving churros in Chicago is Rick Bayless' XOCO with a menu is based on street food in Mexico.




Alas, I could not find a place here in Chicago that serves the Spanish-style churros that I prefer. And travelling to the Philippines or Spain everytime I have a hankering for churros is not an option. So my hunt for a recipe on the internet and recipe books began in earnest. I tried several recipes and found the ingredients simple, mostly stuff you have in your pantry - flour, sugar, water, oil. After a few experiments - some successful, some not - (at one point I ended up with what looked like funnel cakes), I had a "light bulb" moment when I figured out that I can use a modified pate choux dough recipe (the one used to make cream puffs and eclairs) to make my dough. That batch came out closest to what I was looking for. The pate choux recipe I used came from my Auntie Nita who used it to make cream puffs, one of the first of many baking lessons she taught me

My first attempt at making Churros con Chocolate
Spanish-style Churros
Ingredients

1 cup water
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1/8 teaspoon salt (the basic recipe did not ask for salt but I think it enhanced the dough)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 small/medium or 3 large/extra large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
Light vegetable oil for frying

Heat oil in a deep pan to fry the churros. The oil should be about 1 1/2 inches deep and 350 to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you don't have a thermometer, you can tell if the oil is hot enough when a small piece of dough is dropped into the oil and small bubbles form around the dough as it starts to rise to the surface. If the oil is too hot, the dough will just lay there.

Heat water, salt and butter to a rolling boil in a sauce pan. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously over low heat until the mixture forms a ball (about 1 minute). Remove from heat. Beat eggs all at once until smooth and then add to saucepan stirring the mixture until smooth and shiny.

In lieu of a churrera, spoon mixture into a large pastry bag with large star tip (I used Wilton's # 21 and since I did not have a coupler large enough for the tip, so I just taped the tip to the bag). Squeeze 6-inch strips of dough, forming a small letter e or curly-q into hot oil. You might need someone with strong hands to help you out with this process as it is a little hard to squeeze the bag with this thicker dough. (At this point, I was seriously contemplating buying a churrera as it may be easier to extrude the dough. But then again, I will need to remodel the entire kitchen to find space for it or worse, dispose of some of my kitchen tools and equipment.;-() Fry 3 or 4 strips at a time until golden brown, turning once, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle sugar on the hot churros.

And now for the thick hot chocolate for dunking. This calls to mind the "tsokolate-eh" referenced in one of the most famous and beloved literary masterpieces in the Philippines, Noli Me Tangere by national hero Dr. Jose Rizal (June 19, 1861- December 30, 1896 - Happy 150th birthday!!). This book was required reading in high school all throughout the Philippines. In one of the scenes in the novel, Rizal pokes fun at the friars and their hospitality. In this particular scene, stern-faced Franciscan Padre Salvi would gives a coded order for "tsokolate-eh" and the housemaid will serve a rich and thick chocolate drink but on the other hand, if the instruction is to serve "tsokolate-ah", a diluted, watery chocolate drink would be served.

I made the chocolate while I was frying the churros so that it will be ready while the churros are nice and warm.

Churro dipped in Chocolate.
The canister of Angelina chocolate in the background.
Chocolate for Churros

Ingredients

4oz dark chocolate, chopped or powdered (I had purchased some from Angelina in Paris and it was great with the churros)
2 cups milk
1 tbsp cornstarch for thickening
4 tbsp sugar (I adjusted the sugar based on the chocolate I used for the Angelina powdered chocolate, I only used 2 tablespoons sugar)

Place the chocolate and half the milk in a pan and heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk and whisk into the chocolate with the sugar. Cook on low heat, whisking constantly, until the chocolate is thickened, Pour in cups or bowls for dunking the churros. Served warm. Dunk churro in hot chocolate and the taste will surely take you to Spain or Dulcinea in Manila. Kain na!! Ole!!!

BUEN APETITO, mi amigos y amigas!!!



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