Pancake or Shrove Tuesday calls for something decadent. In Germany, we celebrate carnival today, a nod towards pre-Christian tradition of chasing away winter. Similar to the Mardi Gras, or ‘Fat Tuesday’ in the States, we eat lots of different types of doughnuts today, some jam-filled, others more like those cute beignets Angie served up for Valentine’s day. The one doughnut I have been dying to try at home, though, is churros.
These churros are not half as difficult as I thought they would be: apart from the frying process (which I always find a little stressful), Thomasina Miers‘ recipe (halved) is easy to follow and the results were stunning. You need a big star nozzle for your piping bag, the bigger the better.
Churros (serves 6)
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 125g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 l vegetable oil for frying
For the chocolate sauce:
- 150ml single cream
- 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 2 tbs sugar
In a flat dish, mix the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream over a low heat. Once it is hot, add the chocolate and sugar and stir until it is well dissolved. Set aside.
Sift the flour, the baking powder and the salt into a heatproof bowl.
Bring 220ml water to boil and pour it over the flour, together with the olive oil. Mix well using an electric mixer or a wooden spoon. The batter should be quite sticky. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
To fry, heat the oil in a large casserole until a small dollop of the batter browns within 30 seconds of being dropped into it.
Spoon the batter into your piping bag and squeeze out your churros into the oil, 3 or 4 at a time. You can use a pair of scissors to cut them into size. Fry until they are golden.
Remove the churros and drain them on some kitchen paper. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Tomorrow’s Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, 40 days of fasting until Easter. Whereas historically people cut out meat from their diets, nowadays it’s more about giving up pleasurable foods or activities, such as no TV or no alcohol. I used to give up chocolate for Lent, until I realised that I actually quite like it… Happy Carnival!