Churros – the deep-fried choux pastry snacks popular in many parts of the world – are pretty unfamiliar in my neck of the woods. So I’ve been dead keen to give them a try and see what all the fuss is about.
And wow, I’m glad I did – they’re the bomb! I LOVE how they puff up in the oil to create a delicately crispy exterior, with a light as air interior. Dredged in cinnamon sugar they’re good enough to eat as is, but paired with a kick-ass coconut sugar/coconut cream caramel sauce spiked with dark rum (which actually tastes like Bailey’s Irish Creme, only better), they’re insanely good!
What I’m super-pumped about is that these babies are gluten-free. The original recipe thanks to Claire Aldous of New Zealand’s Dish magazine suggested a gluten-free flour blend. However, I opted for a blend of buckwheat, brown rice and corn flours which worked incredibly well – you’d never know these churros are gluten-free when you devour them.
I made the pastry dough several hours ahead of time, piled it into a large pastry bag, and refrigerated it until needed. I took it out of the fridge about half an hour before I needed it, to let it come to room temperature. I chose to pipe the batter directly into the hot oil, although if you’re concerned about doing that (there’s always a risk, especially if there’s any air bubbles in the pastry bag, that they’ll plop into the oil and splash you), you can pipe the churros onto oil-sprayed lined baking trays, refrigerate them for about 30 minutes to set firm, and then transfer them into the hot oil from there.
By the way, I kept some left-over batter in the fridge for about 24 hours and it was still perfectly good. And, as I discovered, the caramel sauce is WAAAY better the next day too – a lot thicker and far more flavoursome. So, I’d definitely suggest making it a day ahead.
If, like me, you’re a complete newbie to the world of churros, or if you’ve been looking for a gluten-free option, I can wholeheartedly recommend this recipe. As a sumptuous brunch, an afternoon treat, or a decadent dessert with ice cream on the side, you’re gonna love it!
GLUTEN-FREE CHURROS WITH RUM & COCONUT CARAMEL SAUCE
- 1 Stand mixer
For the caramel sauce:
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 3/4 cup coconut cream
- 2 tbsp dark rum
For the churros:
- 1 cup milk
- 3.5 oz butter, diced
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup self-raising gluten-free flour (I used 1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/4 cup buckwheat flour and 1/4 cup cornflour, plus 1 teaspoon baking powder)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- Vegetable oil, for deep frying
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 – 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For the caramel sauce: (Make this a day ahead)
- Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the coconut cream and rum. Return to the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl and cool then chill in the fridge. It will thicken overnight.
For the churros:
- Put the milk, butter and salt in a medium saucepan and slowly bring to the boil to melt the butter. Turn the heat to low and tip in the flour (or flour mix) and cinnamon, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon until a thick dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan (this will happen quickly).
- Tip the dough into the bowl of a standing mixer and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition. The dough should be thick, shiny and smooth. (It may be necessary to add more egg yolk, or a dash of milk if the dough is too thick – the batter should fall very slowly from a spatula when lifted).
- Fit a large pastry bag with a large star nozzle and fill with some of the dough. Do this in batches if necessary.
- Use a deep-fryer, or heat 3cm of vegetable oil in a deep medium-sized frypan or saucepan to 190°C (375°F) or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden in 30 seconds.
- Pipe lengths of dough directly into the oil (use scissors to cut each length – it helps to have someone else cut while you pipe!) but don’t overcrowd the saucepan as the churros need room to puff up during cooking.
- Cook for a few minutes, turning carefully from time to time, until golden and crisp. Lift out of the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to soak up extra oil. Then roll in the cinnamon sugar.
- Serve warm with the chilled caramel sauce for dipping. NB: These won’t keep well – they deflate and go limp after a while, so best to serve as soon as they’re made.
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