Over the past week there has been an uproar over the news that the BBC has lost the rights to host ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and that as of the next series it’s new home will be channel 4, after they paid double the amount than the BBC had offered to take the show. Mel and Sue stepped down from hosting the show saying that they are ‘not going with the dough’ and today Mary Berry has also announced that she will be exiting the show, leaving fans worried about the future of their favourite programme – it’s been more dramatic than series 5, when Ian dumped his Baked Alaska in the bin!
I, for one, am absolutely gutted that this is the end of Bake Off as we know it, but I have a huge amount of respect for Mel, Sue & Mary for not selling out. I don’t know whether I will continue to watch the show over on channel 4, but I am determined to enjoy every second of the current series, while it lasts.
To help cheer everyone up, today I’m going to share my Gluten Free Churros Recipe, inspired by the showstopper challenge from this year’s Batter Week.
Batter week saw the bakers tackle stuffed Yorkshire puds, delicate lacey Pancakes and a simple Spanish street food called Churros, out of which they were expected to create a spectacular showstopper.
To achieve perfect Churros the bakers were tasked with making a choux pastry like dough that would be soft enough to pipe, but firm enough to keep its distinctive shape during frying. The Churros also had to be crisp on the outside and cooked to perfection on the inside, so it was essential to get the oil at the right temperature otherwise you may end up with uncooked dough inside… oh, and they had to be uniform in size!
Last year I worked a lot on perfecting my gluten free choux pastry, so as I already had a recipe which I thought would work, I decided I would give Churros a try.
My Churros plan – does anyone else make notes whilst watching bake off?
It took a few attempts to find the perfect balance of ingredients. I made my first batch of dough following my gluten free choux pastry recipe, but the result was a dough that was slightly too soft – perfect for choux buns, but not stiff enough to keep its shape in hot oil.
My second batch was much better as I used less egg which helped to give the dough a much firmer consistency. I also discovered that the pinch of baking powder I’d added to my choux pastry recipe was not required for Churros as it made them puff up and split during frying.
Getting the oil to the right temperature without a deep fat fryer was tricky, although not impossible – it’s a good idea to do a few testers first and adjust the temperature accordingly. I also found I had better success piping the Churros straight into the pan (as opposed to piping them onto parchment paper) which is fine as long as you don’t mind them not being uniform!
I’m pleased to say that once I had ironed out all these issues, the result was Churros which were beautifully crispy and light and fluffy on the inside.
I recommend eating them fresh as they don’t keep all that well. I served mine with a rich chocolate dipping sauce and together I think they would make a fantastically unique dessert for a dinner party.
Gluten Free Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce – GF/DF options
For the Churros:
60g gluten free self-raising flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
55g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative)
110ml cold water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Churro coating:
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp caster sugar
Plus 1-litre sunflower oil for frying the Churros.
For the chocolate dipping sauce:
100g good quality milk or dark chocolate (or dairy free alternative)
100ml double cream (dairy free alternative)
1 tbsp golden syrup
1. Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low to medium heat, then add the water, sugar and butter and bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer.
2. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until all the ingredients come together in a smooth ball. It’s important to cook out all the flour, so if you can still see some flour keeping beating.
3. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat it gently for a few seconds with a wooden spoon to help release some steam – this will help the mixture to cool down.
4. In small bowl whisk the egg to break up the yolk.
5. Once the pastry mixture is cool, add the vanilla extract and then the egg a bit at a time whilst beating with an electric hand mixer – don’t add the egg whilst the mixture is hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!
6. At first the mixture will look a little bit lumpy but keep beating and adding the egg bit by bit until it becomes a smooth and stiff dough.
7. Transfer the mixture to piping bag fitted with a star nozzle then place the dough in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, slowly heat up the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat while you make the chocolate sauce.
9. To make the chocolate dipping sauce, together the chocolate, cream and golden syrup slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Gently stir until all the ingredients together, then set aside the sauce to cool.
10. Once the dough has chilled, you can fry your churros – you’ll know the oil is ready when the surface starts to shimmer.
To double check the temperature of the oil, test a little bit of the mixture and adjust the heat accordingly. If it takes more than a few minutes for the dough to turn golden brown, your oil needs to be slightly hotter, but if the dough turns a deep golden brown after about 30 seconds it’s too hot and the oil needs to cool down slightly. The perfect Churros should be ready within 4 to 5 minutes and should be crispy.
Whatever you do, don’t leave leave the hot oil unattended at any point.
11. Pipe 3 to 4 Churros directly into the hot oil and use scissors to snip off each one. Don’t cook too many at once as this can reduce the temperature of the oil and your Churros will take longer to cook – the longer they take to cook means they are exposed to the oil for longer, this can make them soggy!
Fry each Churro for 4 to 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally with kitchen tongs to make sure they are cooked on all sides. Transfer them to kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Keep going until all the dough is used up.
12. Mix together your caster sugar and cinnamon, then roll each Churro in the mixture until they are coated.
13. Serve immediately accompanied with the chocolate dipping sauce.