When I began the journey of thanksgiving, my kitchen smelled of goodness, pure and unadulterated. It embraced all that is good and right about life – peace, warmth, joy, unity and spice. And love. For without love...and faith, who are ? What are we but shells of our beings.
I sneak a tiny taste and it has all the oranges, coppers and russet tones of a New England Autumn. Of an orange leaf mountain. It eats like a warm, tartan blanket and a bowl of soup on a cold fall evening. It is full of thanksgiving. And perfect with melted chocolate.
May you have reason to be full of thanksgiving my friends. Eating churros. On Thanksgiving morning. Sitting with friends and family. Basking in love. Sugared fried dough and warm, runny chocolate. Thanksgiving in full.
- Makes about 30 churro rings or sticks
Flavourings for the sugar: grated orange/tangerine zest, cinnamon powder
300 - 400g milk or dark chocolate callets or bar, roughly chopped
1/4 - 1/2 cup of fresh milk (or half and half....decandent way)
3/4 cup water
1/4 heaped cup pumpkin puree
2/3rds of a stick/75g unsalted butter
2 loose cups of plain/all-purpose flour sifted with 1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
1 heaped teaspoon pumpkin spice or a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder, 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder, 1/4 teaspoon cloves/grated tonka beans and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, Rice bran oil, Groundnut oil, to deep fry
- Making the Dipping chocolate: set a pot on low heat and add most of the chocolate chips and the some of the milk. Let it melt, stirring often. Once melted, adjust consistency with more milk or more chocolate. Add sugar to sweeten if desired. Pour/scoop into small containers and serve with the churros. Note you can make this ahead and reheat when ready to use
- Making the flavoured sugars. To make cinnamon sugar, combine 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder with 4 tablespoons of caster sugar and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. Set aside in a ziploc bag. To make citrus sugar, combine 1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon of citrus (orange or lemon) zest with 4 tablespoons of sugar, rubbing the zest into the sugar till oils and flavours are released. The delicious fragrance will let you know when to stop. Add 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar to the mixture. Set aside in a ziploc bag
- To make the churros: Combine water, pumpkin puree, butter, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Stir so the pumpkin puree mixes with the water and turn on the heat. Melt the butter slowly, without stirring so it emulsifies in the water. If you notice bubbling, remove the saucepan from the heat, letting the butter melt with the residual heat. And then return to the heat till the butter is melted. Then bring to the boil – at this point, you should begin to smell the golden goodness of the butter. Once it boils, remove from the heat and add all the flour to the pan in one go.
- Stir slowly but continuously with a wooden spoon to combine.Place mixture back on heat and stir until the batter releases from the sides, approximately one to two minutes. The resulting dough should be smooth and translucent with a ‘cooked’ mashed potato look about it. Let cool for about 10 minutes before proceeding to the next step of adding the eggs otherwise the eggs will ‘cook’ on contact with the hot dough.
- In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and the pumpkin spice or other spice combination. You can do the rest of this step by hand or with the mixer - put the cooked paste into your mixer on low speed and then add the eggs. Let mix till incorporated or, by hand, add the eggs, then using all the effort you can muster (aka elbow grease), turn the wooden spoon round with circular motions, till the eggs are incorporated.
- Put the batter in the churrera or a large piping bag fitted with a star nozzle (and fill ¾ of the way full). I pipe my batter onto cookie sheets lined with grease-proof as I usually freeze a batch. This time I piped the dough into rings to make 'donuts', and lengths which reminded me of christmas trees. I even made pretzel shapes!
- Heat up a deep pan with 2-3cm of oil /use a deep fryer set to 350 degrees F. Let heat up on medium heat - test its readiness by dropping a piece of churro batter in. The oil is ready if the churro floats up in 10 - 15 seconds. Fry the churros a few at a time, for 3-4 minutes till golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain for 30 seconds - 1 minute on kitchen paper before tossing in the bag of flavoured sugars. (If the churros stay too long before being tossed in sugar, the sugar grains don't adhere to the fried dough!)
- Serve with little verrines/glasses of warm melted chocolate. And black coffees. White teas and brown steaming mugs of cocoa