Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Churros y Chocolate Sin Gluten

(This post is a continuation of June's Gluten-Free Ratio Rally challenge of pate a choux: http://thesensitiveepicure.blogspot.com/2011/05/gluten-free-gougeres-filled-with-herbed.html)
All throughout Spain churros and chocolate can be found on many street corners called churrerías.  Churrerías are a sort of small bakery shops that sell all different kind of churros, homemade potato chips, and drinks including fruit juices and hot chocolate.  Spanish hot chocolate is too thick for drinking.  It is better suited for dipping, perfect for dunking churros.  Even though Spain was extremely gluten-free, I was unable to indulge even though my husband and friends were.  I made churros at home using a traditional patê á choux recipe (using all sweet rice flour) for the final World Cup final in homage to team España.  They were incredible, but the frying oil stunk so bad and at first I did not know why.  While playing around, hosting the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally patê á choux challenge, I decided to revisit making churros.  After some fellow GFreeRally bloggers stated how they wanted to focus on vegan, it challenged me to make the recipe for churros vegan.  I figured the eggs were the cause of the malodor, and resulting in a thinner batter which can be a disaster for frying churros.  Another strategy was to decrease the fat and change it to a neutral vegetable oil from butter.  In making the patê á choux, I find it critical to cook the flour on the stovetop for a minimum of two minutes which usually separates the butter.  This way, it is a much easier dough to work with to shape and fry.  Yes, churro dough is a thick dough, thicker than the usual patê á choux dough.  I had a very difficult time pushing the churro dough through a pastry bag and finished up the batch of churros by shaping the dough by hand.  This method leaves for less surface area, leaving less residual oil.  In the picture the hand formed churro is the third one from the top.  Both forms are delicious, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar while hot, right out of the fryer.  My husband said that this version was crisper while more tender than the ones he remembered eating in Spain.





The hot chocolate I made was a spiced chocolate ganache with a little bit of salt to add a slight richness.  A chocolate ganache is made from 3 parts semi-sweet chocolate gently melted with 2 parts heavy cream.  An easy swap to make this vegan is to use coconut milk for heavy cream.  That may even give a really nice character.  I will have to try it next time.  The churros are perfectly fine on their one.  However, this hot chocolate adds a decadence to the churros.  I cannot wait to make these again.

Ingredients:
Churros:
  • 70 grams sweet/glutinous rice flour
  • 60 grams brown rice flour
  • 6 grams (1 teaspoon) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 20 grams (2 tablespoons) sugar
  • 250 grams (250 milliliters) water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Cinnamon sugar = 50 g sugar + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon mixed

Chocolate Sauce:
  • 150 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 100 grams heavy cream or coconut milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle or cayenne powder

Directions:
Churros:
In a medium bowl, scale/weigh the sweet rice flour, brown rice flour, and baking powder.  Mix well until homogeneous.
In a medium sauce pan, scale/weigh the salt, sugar, oil, and water and heat on medium to high heat until it comes to a roaring boil.  Add in the flour mixture all at once, and vigorously stir with a wooden or metal spoon for at least two minutes until the dough is thick and elastic.  Turn off heat and cool to a temperature that you can handle.  In the meantime, fill a large sauce pan with 3-4 inches deep with vegetable oil and heat to a constant 325oF.  Turn the churro dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip that is well secured.  On a sheet of wax paper, pipe out churros about 4-6 inches in length, about 4-5 in each batch.  From there, carefully transfer to the hot oil.  I find this method safer and easier than piping directing in the hot oil.  Fry until golden, turning once with a spider/handled strainer over the course of a couple of minutes.  Remove with a spider or other utensil and place on paper towels to blot excess oil.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar evenly, turning the churros.

Spiced Chocolate Sauce:
In a medium microwave safe bowl, scale out the chocolate and heavy cream.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Stir thoroughly.  If not all completely melted, return to microwave for additional 15 seconds and repeat.  Allow time during the stirring process for the chocolate to melt.  It is easy to burn chocolate, so patience does pay off.  Once it is a smooth sauce, add in the salt, cinnamon, and chipotle/cayenne and mix again until smooth.  Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking for spice.


I made another item for our patê á choux challenge: Gluten-Free Gougeres filled with Herbed Goat Cheese Mousse Check it out, too!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure

Check out what the rest of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally did with their take on patê á choux:
Amanda of Gluten Free Maui | Earl Grey Cream Puffs
Amie of The Healthy Apple | Pate Choux with Creamy Macadamia Icing
Britt of GF in the City |    Pâte à Choux
Caleigh of Gluten Free[k] | Savoury Paris-Brest
Caneel of Mama Me Gluten Free | Key Lime Cream Puffs
Claire of Gluten Freedom |  Chocolate Eclairs
Jenn of Jenn Cuisine | Gruyère & Herbed Gougères
Lisa of Gluten Free Canteen | Cracked Pepper & Cheese Gougères
Meredith of Gluten Free Betty | Gluten Free Churros
Meaghan of The Wicked Good Vegan | Cardamom and Rose Water Cream Puffs (with Rad Whip!)
Meg of Gluten-Free Boulangerie | Chouquettes
Morri of Meals with Morri | Draft Cider, Saffron, & Chive Gourgères 
Pete & Kelli of No Gluten, No Problem | Almond Choux Florentines
Rachel of The Crispy Cook | Cream Puffs Filled with Coffee Cream
Robyn of Chocswirl | Gruyere & Parmesan Gougeres with Sage & Thyme    
Silvana of Silvana's Kitchen | Gluten-Free Spinach Gnocchi Parm
T.R.of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies | Beignets

Gluten-Free Gougeres filled with Herbed Goat Cheese Mousse

Serving as hostess for this month’s Gluten-Free Ratio Rally, I wanted to challenge my fellow bloggers with patê á choux paste, also known as éclair paste.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the “GFree Rally” we are a group of GF blogger brought together by Gluten-Free Girl, Shauna, to prove that GF baking does not have to be difficult if you use know ratios/formulations used in the professional culinary world.  The main caveat is that the only way to utilize these ratios/formulations is by weight (grams, ounces) as opposed to volume (cups).  Measuring volumetrically leads to huge experimental error, meaning the chance of measuring what the true target is huge due to densities variations and user/measurement error.   

I saw this challenge as multifaceted: to introduce others to a classic pastry technique; to harness personal creativity since so many different things can be made with this paste; and to annihilate any notions that this dough can be made successfully and easily gluten-free.  Patê á choux paste can be made into a variety of different delights such as éclairs, cream puffs, profiteroles (filled with softened ice cream),  Paris-Breast, gougeres (French cheese puffs), paõ de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread), churros, beignets, funnel cakes, French cruller doughnuts, and many other things.  As you can see, there are endless creations that can be made with this basic paste.  Paste, you ask?  That is really the only way to describe this dough.  The viscosity of it is somewhere between a batter and a dough, which is critical for achieving the puff while holding the shape.


Upon doing my research for patê á choux paste, it first became clear that this technique of cooking the flour in boiling liquid was to gelatinize the starches in the flour more so than relying on gluten for the structure of the final cooked product.  Therefore, I quickly realized I was looking for something with a lot of amylopectin.  Amylopectin is a starch that is found in a variety of products such as rice flours (especially sweet/glutinous, hence the name), tapioca and potato starches that when gelatinized (process of heating with water) forms a very elastic paste.  I found this very exciting since it is so rarely seen in gluten-free baking, and reassuring that no gums are needed in keeping it together.  My final ratio was roughly 1:2:1:1/fat: liquid:flour:eggs which differed by half the amount of eggs in both Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio Cookbook and Gisslen’s Professional Baking.

I had a crazy idea in my head of taking gougeres to a whole new level and fill them with something light, airy, full of flavor, and more cheese.  Gougeres to me are divine, yet I just find them one dimensional.  So much empty space inside them that can be filled with deliciousness.  I chose goat cheese as the primary vehicle with an assortment of different fresh herbs and lemon zest to brighten it up and gently folded in whipped cream to lighten it into a mousse.  What herbs you choose is completely up to you with the exception of chives, which I find critical, such as basil, mint, etc.  Fresh herbs take just about any dish to another level, and then the need for salt is decreased.  The final touch is to bake the gougeres with a sprinkling of salt to connote them as savory. This way it gives a visual cue expecting something savory.

Ingredients:
Gougeres:
  • 113 grams (1 stick) butter
  • 200 grams of milk, water, or mixture
  • 6 grams (1 teaspoon) salt
  • 190 grams sweet/glutinous rice (can be found in Asian grocers)
  • 150 grams (3 large) eggs, room temperate, slightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 100 grams grated Gruyere cheese (or comte, good quality white cheddar, etc)
  • Finishing salt of your choice (course sea salt, kosher, murray pink, fleur de sel, etc)

Herbed Goat Cheese Mousse:
  • 300 grams goat cheese chevre, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon minced toasted onions or sweated shallots
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped savory
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • 110 grams whipped cream
  • Salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
Gougeres:
Heat oven to 425F.  Scale / weigh the butter, liquid, and salt into a medium to large heavy-walled saucepan.  Scale / weigh the sweet rice flour into a small mixing bowl; combine until uniform.  Heat the liquid and butter over medium heat to a roaring bowl.  Remove from heat to add in the flours, return to heat, all while stirring vigorously with a wooden or metal spoon.  Cook for at least 2-3 minutes until the oil starts to separate out, and the dough becomes elastic.   Immediately turn into a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (with the scrapers work best) and stir on speed 2-3.  Allow to cool just slightly, so it is not unbearable to touch, and slowly add in the room temperature eggs.  Allowing time for the paste to absorb the eggs.  This small incremental addition is critical for best results.  You will see how the paste seems to fall apart during the addition, and then comes together.  Alternately, if you do not have a stand mixer, the addition of eggs can be done by hand, it just requires a little strength.  The target thickness / viscosity of the paste is one that can be piped through a pastry bag, yet holds its shape.  Finally, add in the grated cheese and garlic powder.

Using a 1 ounce scooper, dose the gougere paste on parchment, allowing at least 1 inch between.  I find I can fit 12 on a household standard ½ sheet.  Sprinkle a small amount of finishing salt on each gougere.   Place both sheets in the oven at the same time.  Bake for the first 8 minutes at 425F – no peaking!  Opening the oven can deflate them.  Reduce the heat to 375F and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  These times may vary from oven to oven, so keep an eye on them, without opening the oven.  Make sure they are thoroughly browned, including the slides.  Otherwise, they can deflate.  Remove from oven, transfer to wire/cooling rack, and put a small hole in the center of the bottom using the tip of a paring knife.  Turn right-side up and allow to cool completely before filling.

Herbed Goat Cheese Mousse:
In a medium mixing bowl, scale the room temperature goat cheese and soften by mixing with a silicone spatula.  Add the aromatics, herbs, zest, stirring between to make sure it does not seize up.  In a separate mixing bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks, but do not over beat.  Stiff peaks are those in which when you hold up the beaters, the cream peaks stay upright.  In small additions, about 3-4, fold in the whipped cream into the goat cheese and herb mixture.  I best describe folding as an over exaggerated yet simplified stirring, where you hold the bowl at an angle and mixture top to the bottom.  With small additions of folding, a lighter and fluffier product is achieved.

Assembly:
Transfer the herbed goat cheese mousse to a pastry bag equipped with a small (size 002) tip.  Carefully place the tip just in the hole in the bottom of the gougere held in in the palm your other hand.  Gently squeeze the pastry bag to fill.  You should feel a slight weight added to the gougere and see that it slightly puffs, yielding a slight resistance. Stop right there.  Repeat until all the gougeres are filled.  You will get the hang of it.  It does take practice.  I usually leave them upright since some of the filling tends to ooze out.  Just wipe with a butter knife.  Then, place on a sheet and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Cover loosely with a layer of paper towels, then plastic wrap if more than 2 hours to maintenance a smell/taste protectant.  Holds well in fridge for up to 2 days.


I made another item for our patê á choux challenge: Churros y Chocolate Sin Gluten (milk-free & egg-free / vegan) Check it out, too!

-Erin Swing
The Sensitive Epicure


Check out what the rest of the Gluten-Free Ratio Rally did with their take on patê á choux:
Amanda of Gluten Free Maui | Earl Grey Cream Puffs
Amie of The Healthy Apple | Pate Choux with Creamy Macadamia Icing
Britt of GF in the City |    Pâte à Choux
Caleigh of Gluten Free[k] | Savoury Paris-Brest
Caneel of Mama Me Gluten Free | Key Lime Cream Puffs
Charissa of Zest Bakery | Choux Shine: Koshi-an Filled Cream Puffs
Claire of Gluten Freedom |  Chocolate Eclairs
Jenn of Jenn Cuisine | Gruyère & Herbed Gougères
Lisa of Gluten Free Canteen | Cracked Pepper & Cheese Gougères
Meredith of Gluten Free Betty | Gluten Free Churros
Meaghan of The Wicked Good Vegan | Cardamom and Rose Water Cream Puffs (with Rad Whip!)
Meg of Gluten-Free Boulangerie | Chouquettes
Morri of Meals with Morri | Draft Cider, Saffron, & Chive Gourgères 
Pete & Kelli of No Gluten, No Problem | Almond Choux Florentines
Rachel of The Crispy Cook | Cream Puffs Filled with Coffee Cream
Silvana of Silvana's Kitchen | Gluten-Free Spinach Gnocchi Parm
T.R.of No One Likes Crumbley Cookies | Beignets