● By Style
Cookbook and recipe images courtesy of Chronicle Books.
Pastry by Richard Bertinet
(Chronicle Books, 2013, $30)
Traditionally, these are made using a ‘churrera,’ a pump with a special nozzle that squeezes the churro mixture into hot oil in long, snaking, ridged rings. Once these are fried, they are snipped into short lengths and dusted in sugar and sometimes cinnamon, ready for dipping into the thick hot chocolate that is usually served with them. At home you can use a piping bag and snip the mixture into shorter, more manageable lengths as you pipe it into the oil. The secret is to fry them slowly at a relatively low temperature so that they get crispy on the outside, without burning, and are well cooked all the way through, otherwise they can be stodgy.
- 8.9 oz. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1.7 oz. butter
- 1 tsp. salt
- 0.7 oz. granulated sugar
- 8.9 oz. water
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- Superfine sugar, for dusting
Put the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Put the butter, salt and sugar into a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, then pour the mixture into the flour bowl, beating well until you have a thick batter.
Fit a piping bag with a large star tip about 5/8 inch in diameter and fill with the batter.
Put some vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan (making sure it comes no further than a third of the way up) and heat to 325 degrees. (If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test if the oil is hot enough by dropping in a little of the mixture—it should sizzle.)
With one hand, pipe the mixture into the oil, using the other hand to snip it off every 5 inches or so with a pair of kitchen scissors. Fry for 3–4 minutes, turning over regularly until the churros are golden on all sides. Lift out and drain briefly on paper towels.
Put some superfine sugar on a large plate. While the churros are still hot, toss them in the sugar. Makes about 12.
Instead of serving hot chocolate for dipping the churros into, you could make a sauce with 3.5 ounces melted dark chocolate mixed with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.
OAK RIDGE WINERY 2009 OLD ZIN VINES (OZV) ZINFANDEL
Lodi is one of the biggest producers of Zinfandel grapes in the world. More than 40 percent of California Zin comes from here—some “old vines” even date back to the 1800s. The appelation is making some fantastic, high-quality wines at the moment, and at great prices, too. Founded in 1934, Oak Ridge Winery is one of the oldest-operating wineries in Lodi and the tasting room is in a converted 50,000-gallon redwood tank—making it a great place to visit!
OZV Zinfandel is made from 50- to 100-year-old vines and is robust and jammy, with an amazingly soft mouth feel and an alluring finish that goes on and on. Full-bodied, it doesn’t come across as over-the-top alcoholic or sweet. And at approximately $15 a bottle, it’s a fairly good value. Although a good food wine (especially with this month’s churros), it’s also a nice wine to sit and enjoy on its own.
Owner, 36 Handles and Relish Burger Bar
Wine bottle image courtesy of Oak Ridge Winery.