It would probably have been entertaining for any Spanish person watching the Great British Bake Off contestants making their interpretations of the traditional Spanish Churros recipe last night. It was episode four in series 7 of Bake Off on 14 September, and it was batter week.
The contestants were tasked with making 36 identical Churros with a sweet, not a savoury, sauce. They could be filled, or served with a dipping sauce, and the contestants had three hours to complete the task.
A popular Spanish street food, churros are fried doughnut like snacks traditionally served with a chocolate dipping sauce or simply dunked in coffee or hot chocolate for breakfast.
Paul Hollywood declared, ‘I love churros. What we’re looking for is a beautiful brown crispy exterior with a lovely soft interior’, and said the secret was not to put too many churros in the fryer at once or the oil would cool and seep into the churros batter, destroying the inside texture of the churros.
Andrew’s churros contained no eggs or no butter and were displayed stunningly in a window box. Sadly they were a bit overcooked and the fat had impregnated the churros a little too much.
Paul was scathing about Kate’s hot cross bunny churros, telling her that they looked a bit sad, like a bunny rabbit that had been run over. He said he couldn’t eat them as they had been totally impregnated with oil.
Candice’s two-way peanut butter churros were not a hit with Mary who said she thought ‘the mixture was a little bit slack, on the runny side’, saying that it needed to hold the ridges.
Val’s chocolate Orange churros were crisp but the sauce was too runny and the sauce that had been piped inside left the churros doughy.
Selassi’s churros were too dark, Paul said ‘burnt’, and the dough was raw inside, due to the fact that Selassi had frozen the dough in an attempt to keep the shape of the churros, and it never managed to cook out properly inside.
Jane’s pistachio and white chocolate churros were a lovely flavour with ‘a dip that holds’. Paul said, ‘ I really love ‘em’.
Rav’s three dip matcha pistachio churros were not identical shapes, and turned out a bit fatty, and not a good flavour in Paul’s view, though Mary said that his passion fruit dip was excellent.
Benjamina’s tropical churros stole the show. ‘What a pleasant colour they are’, declared Mary. (I did stop and think at this time they weren’t exactly the ‘beautiful brown’ Paul had said he was looking for at the start of the task, but I too loved their golden colour.)
Benjamina was declared Star Baker at the end of the show and Kate left the tent. Next week is to be pastry week.
Many of the contestants piped their batter onto silicon paper first, and used scissors to cut off each churros as they piped. The task was set up for everyone to fry off the churros in a deep fat fryer.
In my opinion there is only one way to make Spanish Churros, and that is not in a deep fat fryer. It’s easier to pipe ’em any shape you want in a shallow pan too.
If you don’t add any sugar after they’re cooked, these would be suitable for diabetic diets too.
Traditionally Spanish Churros are shallow fried in fresh extra virgin olive oil, and not reused deep fat fryer oil which many commercial and restaurant offerings today seem to be cooked in.
It’s the reason I can never try churros at buffet tables, or anywhere I can’t see the chef cooking them fresh.
I know these are a high-fat food but at least when you cook them in shallow extra virgin olive oil they won’t do you a button of harm – and a little extra virgin olive oil is grand now and again to help see you through the cold winter months.
This basic recipe for churros is really very simple. Traditional Spanish churros were simply made with salted water, plain flour, and eggs, shallow fried in extra virgin olive oil and tossed in caster sugar to serve. Churros could have been churned out very cheaply using Spain’s delicious and plentiful olive oil, with this little recipe making a big plateful of fresh churros from a little flour and a couple of eggs.