Before exuberant celebrity chef Miguel Maestre was co-host of The Living Room, winning I’m a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! or Dancing With The Stars, he used to run his own restaurant where he made 300 orders of the beloved Spanish dish churros each day.
“This my most frequently requested recipe. It’s one I’m very proud of and something I’ve been making for years,” he writes in the recipe introduction in his new cookbook Feast, which this is plucked from.
Maestre was born in Murcia in the south of Spain, but moved to Sydney when he finished his chef apprentice at 21, with his (now) wife Sascha Newport (Sydney was her hometown). He worked in a number of kitchens – including as head chef of Number One, the bistro owned by the late Tony Bilson, who is regarded as the “godfather” of Australian cuisine. Maestre opened his own place, El Toro Loco, when he was just 28 years old.
He says in Spain there are two different types of churros – one that is really thin and crisp, and a thicker variety known as porras. “My version combines the two, so you have the super crispy outside and the almost undercooked, creamy centre. Perfection.”
For the best results, Maestre says once you’ve made the batter you shouldn’t delay the frying. Also, once they’re cooked and you’ve drained the golden logs on paper towel, you should “plunge them straight into the sugar while still hot to get that lovely crust”.
While those things are essential, there are some variations you can mess with. “If you don’t want your chocolate sauce to be too sweet, you can omit the condensed milk and add a dash of Frangelico, Kahlua, rum, sherry or Baileys instead,” he says.
And our favourite tip is one that is helpful if you haven’t been able to get your hands on top-quality chocolate: add a splash of olive oil to your chocolate sauce so it becomes glossier. Clever.
(Note: You’ll need a number 9 or 10 star piping nozzle (2 cm wide) for this recipe.)
Churros Con Chocolate
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 tsp caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
50g unsalted butter, chopped
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
120g plain flour
2 egg yolks
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
200g dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk (or to taste)
To make the chocolate sauce, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil, then pour over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Gradually add the condensed milk until the sauce is your preferred consistency – the more you add, the thicker (and sweeter) it will be.
For the churros, combine the milk, sugar, butter and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove the vanilla bean and reduce the heat to low. Sift in the flour and whisk until combined and the dough comes away from the side of the pan. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time.
Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 2cm star nozzle.
Pour the oil into a large heavy-based saucepan and heat over high heat to 180°C. Working in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan, pipe 7cm lengths of dough into the oil, cutting it off with a sharp knife. Deep-fry the churros for 3–4 minutes or until golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Dust with extra caster sugar while still hot and serve with the chocolate sauce.
Feast by Miguel Maestre, is published by Plum on Tuesday September 28, $39.99. Photography by Jeremy Simons. Pre-order a copy here.
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