The quickest Churro-history lesson
Churros are a Spanish breakfast pastry that possibly originated in China and were brought to Spain by Portuguese merchants. Some say that they are native to Spain, created by Spanish shepherds, inspired by the horn of a type of sheep called Navajo-Churro. No matter the origin, Churros are now popular in most European countries, and spread like wildfire across Latin America.
It it essentially made of choux pastry, deep fried and later smothered in chocolate before being devoured. The Mexican variation, includes rolling in cinnamon sugar. Eaten while still hot, it is gorgeously crispy on the outside, and sinfully molten on the inside. The pastry itself is flavoured with vanilla and that carries through in every bite. Churros to me are a piece of deep-fried heaven!
The first time I ever had a Churro was in Mexico, during my very brief cameo as a pastry chef in the kitchens of Rosewood Mayakoba. This one below, came straight out of a 5-star fryer and went straight into my mouth. Can you see the molten center, and the sugar coated, crisp exterior?
Read about my 5-star experience in a real kitchen here. It was every baker’s dream come true!
I’ve been wanting to make these myself ever since that time, and if I was going to make it, I had to make it BIG!
Churro batter, as I already mentioned, is basically choux pastry that’s used to make Chocolate Éclairs, profiteroles, croquembouches and the like. So I figured, why not do just that – an éclair fashioned from churro batter, and filled with a chocolate custard, instead of being dipped and eaten like Churros normally are. Bingo!
The choux pastry, despite how complicated and French it sounds, is not that difficult to make. C’est pas difficile! It starts with melting butter, water and sugar in a saucepan. When it comes to a simmer, you add in the flour and whisk (yes, please use a whisk to prevent lumps). After about a minute, you will have something like this.
All that’s left is to just pipe it onto a baking tray using a Wilton 1M star nozzle tip. I twist the pastry bag as I get to the end and pull. Better than cutting off each churro as you pipe, and this way, your churro gets a nice ‘tail’ 🙂
Quick Tip: Sprinkle a little water on the baking tray to help the churros ‘rise’ in the oven.
Bake and let it cool for 10 minutes inside the oven with the oven door left slightly ajar. I prop my oven door open using a large wooden spoon. Make holes on one side of the pastry shell to help the steam escape. This will ensure that your shells don’t collapse as they cool.
Fill a small pastry bag with the chocolate custard (prepared in advance and chilled until use), and pipe the custard into the shells using the hole you just made. Tap the shell as you fill to make sure the custard gets to the bottom. Brush with butter and roll into cinnamon sugar. Devour.
Your Baked Churro Éclairs are best served as soon as they are filled. That way, you get that churro crunch and an éclair’s gooey center – the best of both worlds. If you must make it in advance, refrigerate after filling for up to 1-2 hours and you will get an éclair like soft crust instead.