September 21, 2010

Churros


Churros.  Delicious, golden sticks of friedness.  Dusted with icing sugar and dipped in chocolate.  What more can I say?

Recipe Adapted From: South China Morning Post Magazine 2006
Ingredients
100g butter
150mL water
1/8 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
130g plain flour
3 - 4 eggs
Heaps and heaps of canola oil.

Method
1. Melt butter, water and salt in a heavy based saucepan.  Heat until boiling.


2. Add flour all at once, and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and comes away from the sides of the pan.  Cook for a further 30 seconds, stirring continuously, then remove from heat.


3. Add 3 eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously to combine.  It will look like total mush just after you add it, but have faith and keep stirring!  Make sure each egg is completely combined before you add the next one.

4. Beat the last egg in a separate bowl and add gradually to the mixture until it is a thick sticky paste that forms a peak when you lift the spoon up.

5. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a star tip.

6. Heat your oil in a large pan (I use a wok).  It should be hot enough that the dough sizzles furiously when you add it to the oil.

7. Pipe lengths of dough into the oil.  Put the tip of the piping bag near the side of the pan and squeeze, then when the desired length of dough is in the oil use a knife to shear the flow of dough off at the piping bag.


8. Let the churros fry.  Turn them over a couple of times in the oil so that the whole thing is golden brown.  


9. When golden brown, remove the churros from the oil and place on a plate covered with paper towel.

10. Dredge with sugar and/or cinnamon, dip in chocolate or another sauce and eat while they're warm!

This recipe, when using a large star tip, creates a crunching on the outside and fluffy on the inside churro.  If you use a smaller star tip, then you should get a crunchier churro.

Here's a tip - for more churro goodness without having to buy more oil, after you've finished frying let the oil cool then tip into a glass jar or glass container.  You can store the oil for more churro use later!

September 13, 2010

Nougat


Yes, the Speeding Turtle lives.
She comes bearing gifts!  Here, have some sweetness - nougat.


Recipe Adapted From: The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts
A strong, standing electric mixer and a candy thermometer are required for this recipe.
Ingredients



640g nuts (suggested 280g almonds, 160g hazelnuts, 160g walnuts and 40g pistachios)
2 large eggs
280g honey
240g corn syrup
600g sugar
75mL cold water
Cornflour for dusting


Method
1. Toast the nuts.
If you are doing it in an oven, preheat the oven to 93 degrees C.  Combine nuts on a sheet pan.  Toast in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, turning frequently, until the nuts are nicely coloured and aromatic.
Alternatively, toast the nuts using a frypan.  Combine nuts in the frypan and heat, mixing frequently.



I used hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts - all unblanched (they still had their brown skins on).

2. While the nuts are toasting, prepare the rest of the nougat.  If the nuts finish toasting before the base is done, keep them warm by either opening the oven door (if toasted in the oven) or re-warming the nuts a bit when you are whipping the egg whites.
Separate the two eggs and place the egg whites into the bowl of your mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment.  You don't need the yolks.

3. Set up two heavy based saucepans on your stove.
In one saucepan, combine the honey with 40g of the corn syrup in a small, heavy based saucepan over low heat.  Bring to a boil.


At the same time, combine the remaining corn syrup with the sugar and the cold water and bring to a boil.


4. As soon as the honey mixture comes to the boil, begin whipping the egg whites.  When the honey mixture reaches 130 degrees C (266 degrees F) on a candy thermometer, pour it over the whipping egg whites.


5. Continue whipping the egg whites.  When the sugar mixture has reached 139 degrees C (282 degrees F) on the candy thermometer, pour it over the whipping egg whites.


6. When the meringue begins to stiffen, stop the mixer.  Remove the whip attachment and replace with K beater/paddle attachment.  With the speed on low, add the nuts, beating until just blended.

7. Place a silicone liner on a flat work surface and dust it with corn flour.  Do this quickly, so you can roll the nougat out while it's still hot.


8. Pour the hot nougat out onto the liner and roughly spread it out a bit.


Dust the top of the nougat with corn flour and place another silicone liner on the top.  Using a rolling pin and your hands, flatten the nougat out.  


Now, the French pastry book said to roll it to a 1.3cm thickness, but dude, that's super thin.  So I made mine a bit thicker.



9. Allow the nougat to cool and then, using a sharp knife, cut the nougat into small squares.



Eat and enjoy!