Story has it that when the Portuguese sailed East, they paid attention to the delectable food they encountered in China and brought back with them to Europe new culinary techniques that they proceeded to tweak. The churro is part of that story. The Portuguese saw the Chinese deep-frying pulled dough to create crisp-outside-chewy-inside bread sticks and were smitten. But because these buccaneers weren’t exactly chef material, they never acquired the dough-pulling skill. And that was how the churro acquired its ridged prism shape. Instead of pulling the dough, it was pushed out into the hot oil using what came to be known as the churrera.
But pushing-instead-of-pulling the dough was not the only transformation that the churro underwent between China and Portugal. What the Portuguese merchants encountered in China was a salty fried bread. By the time the bread was being cooked in Portugal, it had become sweet.
And how did churros reach the Philippines? Via the Spaniards. Spanish shepherds are credited for popularizing the churros. Because they couldn’t get freshly baked bread when minding their animals out in the pasture, they cooked their bread—churros—on an open fire.
Ready to make churros? The preparation of the pastry dough can be a little tricky but just follow the link to see a step-by-step illustration.
Alex's Churros Con Chocolate
- In a wide frying pan, heat enough cooking oil to reach a depth of at least three inches.
- Spoon the pâte à choux into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Press to remove air pockets. Don't panic if the pâte à choux doesn't fit into the piping bag. You will refill the piping bag later.
- Pipe the dough directly into the hot oil. There are two ways to do this. With one hand holding the piping bag and another holding a pair of kitchen scissors, you pipe the dough with one hand and cut it with the other. Roll the strips around in the oil for even browning.
- The second way is to pipe the dough in an unbroken spiral and do the cutting after the dough is cooked. Cook the dough in the hot oil until golden brown and crisp outside.
- Flip the whole thing over halfway through the frying.
- The churros are done when they are browned and crisp. Drain the fried churros on a rack.
- Refill the piping bag and pipe into the oil once more. Repeat until all the pâte à choux has been cooked.
- If you cooked your churros in a spiral, cut into three-to-four-inch sticks.
- For the chocolate dipping sauce, measure equal amounts of milk and chopped dark chocolate. Heat the milk to barely simmering and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts.
- As an alternative, prepare a hot chocolate drink (tablea is a good idea) and serve with the churros.
Enjoy your churros con chocolate for breakfast, as a snack or as a dessert.