Street Food Series: Churros w/ Chocolate Ginger Fudge Sauce

 

Churros are proof, if you ever needed it, that Pretzels are best served hot!

Most of us have done this: you spot Mr Pretzel man with his red uniform 50 yards away, standing like an awkwardly enticing Butler (because Butler’s aren’t generally enticing), holding a silver platter filled with freshly baked warm Pretzels tossed in cinnamon sugar and roughly chopped into pieces. And like a Magpie, you swoop in to take the biggest piece of bread you can find, scooping up as much sugary dust as you can. I love their warm fluffy texture and the gritty sweet feel of the sugar and cinnamon against my teeth. But at £4 a piece, I knew I had to find a cheaper snack which gave me the same satisfaction.

So in walks Ms Churros – a Spanish ‘pretzel stick’ if you will, which is popular on the streets of Latin America, France and Portugal,  and has finally made its way across the English Channel to the cobbled streets of London. Unlike Pretzels, which tend to be a lot bigger and denser, Churros are a lot crisper and lighter. They are also noticeably spirally twisted in shape, kind of like the horn of a unicorn, making it all the more easier to dip into the dark bitter chocolate sauce it is traditionally served with.

Churros are fried at a very high temperature until golden and crisp on the outside. The surface of a churro is ridged due to having been piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle.  The curly umbrella hook shape of the Churro is a result of the free-style way in which the dough hits the hot oil when frying so now the pressure is off to create the perfect Churro stick!

The silky, fudge like chocolate sauce I made works perfectly with this snack: Green and Blacks has a wide selection dark chocolate flavours which is what I used for this simple sauce. You will have perfect bitter-sweet dipping fudge chocolate in seconds!

 

Churros with Chocolate Ginger Sauce

  • Servings: 10-12 sticks
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the Churros

1 cup water

3 eggs

1 tbsp Bob Red Mill’s Masa Harina (Corn Flour not starch) – optional

1 cup of Plain Flour

1/2 cup  unsalted butter (soft)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

1/2 tsp almond essence

1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar

Canola Oil (fry)

 

For the Coating

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder

 

 

For the Chocolate Ginger Sauce

100g  Dark Chocolate

1-2 cubes of crystalized ginger

1 cup Double Cream

 

Method:

For the Churro

1. In a deep pot combine water, butter until completely melted over a medium to low heat

2. Add the flour and corn flour stirring continuously. Keep stirring over the heat until the mixture thickens and clumps together into a smooth ‘ball’ .

3. Remove from the heat and briskly stir in the eggs one at a time.

4.Add the vanilla, almond and sugar and mix well

5. Transfer mix to a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle or the ‘churrera’  mentioned above on the smallest nozzle.

5. Heat the oil to 182°C (359.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Pipe churros batter straight into the hot oil. Use your fingers or a knife to break off the batter to the desired length. Once the churros are browned lift out and put onto a plate covered with some paper towel to drain.

6. Roll the churros through the cinnamon sugar in a separate tray.

 

The Chocolate Ginger Sauce

1. Break the chocolate into small cubes and place in a glass jug or bowl with the cubes of ginger.

2. In a saucepan, warm the cream (not to boiling point), then pour half of the cream into the glass bowl with the chocolate and stir. Then slowly add the remaining cream into the bowl and stir well.

3. Remove the ginger cubes when you have the desired intensity of the ginger in the sauce  before serving.

Caribbean Pumpkin Fritters

This is what you could call a golden oldie. I love the bright yellow hue that the pancake mixture has when you mix all the ingredients together. And the smell of the warm pumpkin spices could have you licking from the bowl. Again I was left with the issue of what to do with the abandoned piece of pumpkin I had left over from the first dish I made. And soon realised that I hadn’t made anything sweet with any of the gourds I had bought. I wasn’t in the mood for a cake, I wanted something really quick but could still fit into the dessert category. And then I remembered pumpkin fritters, made effectively the same way that banana fritters are made and served with a hearty savoury main meal or on its own with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. The key to this recipe is the roasting on the pumpkin. It really doesn’t take any more than 30 minutes and in the meantime you can get all the other ingredients ready so that all you have to do once the pumpkin has cooked and cooled down is mix and fry. One way to avoid the heavy use of sugar in the dish, is to substitute the sugar with half a ripe banana, that way you get the sweet and creaminess of the banana as well as its health benefits.

Caribbean Pumpkin Fritters

  • Servings: 15-20 fritters
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
500g pumpkin (Calabaza or Kabocha pumpkin)
120g flour ½ tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp grated nutmeg 2 tsp baking powder
1/2 very ripe banana mashed (optional)
1 tbsp brown sugar
vegetable oil for frying

cinnamon sugar for dusting (cinnamon and icing sugar)

Method

Cut the pumpkin into chunks (with skin on) and roast in a preheated oven on gas mark 9 until the pumpkin is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.IMG_7367

Peel and mash the pumpkin and mix with all the other ingredients. Heat oil in a saucepan enough to cover the base on the pan by 1/2 inch, drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil.
Turn the fritters over after 30 – 1 minute or until the fritters are golden brown. Blot with kitchen paper.
Dust with cinnamon sugar and serve

Crispy Cornbread Waffles

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When I was growing up, we had a large, cold, cupboard where we used to store dried peas, flour and rice, as these were stables in most of our cooking. Sometimes my mum would call me out of my day dreaming and ask me to go and fetch her the jar of Cornmeal which was stored in a large glass jar in this cupboard. In most cases it was to make cornmeal porridge which she’d mix with warm spices, a bay leaf and split with fresh milk for breakfast at the weekend. Oftentimes it formed cornmeal dumplings to add to the soup we traditionally shared as a family of six on Friday’s.

Nowadays I use cornmeal for a variety of things: sometimes to add a crunchy texture to homemade burgers or breads. I also absolutely love it in Coo-coo (a dish I have yet to share on the blog…in time); as well as to make straight forward cornbread. Cornmeal flour comes in many textures, I tend to use the fine texture which still has a grittiness to it but can be moulded into a dough when water is added to it. There are finer textures than this (“Masa Harina”) which is typically used to make Empanadas.

Corn is also a good source of several nutrients, including thiamin (vitamin B1), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese.

For breakfast today, I fancied some waffles, but I wanted waffles with a savoury flavour or one that could compliment a savoury dish (i.e. beans and eggs). Cornmeal flour seemed the most obvious option because as a base to the waffles so many other ingredients could be added: jalapeno’s, cheese, etc…and the texture works just right. The key to retaining the crispy texture of the waffle is to either eat them straight away LOL or let them cool on a wire rack; letting them lie flat on a plate would make them go a little soggy. If you want to substitute buttermilk for regular milk, then only use about 1 cup of milk and add a little more if necessary.

Crispy Cornbread Waffles

  • Servings: 4 waffles
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/4 cup of plain flour
1/4 cornmeal (fine)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Maple Syrup (or sugar)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 melted unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 1/4 buttermilk
Take all the dry ingredients and mix well. Then mix all the wet ingredients together, then combine with the dry ingredients and whisk thoroughly. If the consistency is too dry, then add a touch more milk a little at a time, you want a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into a waffle iron, following the manufacturers instructions, cook until the waffles are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Serve with butter or maple syrup or any topping of your choice.