TIRAMISU CHURRO + WARM COFFEE CUSTARD
The problem with me as a recipe
dreamer hallucinater during the still-ongoing Thanksgiving carnival is that every year, in utter rudeness, I always feel like leaving the table even before the turkey makes it out of the oven. Evidently from my premature and inappropriate blabbering of the X’mas blend coffee bars in last November while the whole town was still chattering about tweaking pumpkin pies to death, to now this uncooperative side-tracking dessert that doesn’t even rhyme with “ies” and ” akes”, it is obviously true. I have no table-side manners. Now before I leave, pass me the damn stuffings.
If you think that I have zero patience, nor the skills to time a topic in order to be well received, you’re… only partially correct. The fact is, I have been holding the urge with considerable restrain, like holding a maximized bursting bladder, to tell you about this idea for several weeks now. It is a mutation from a failed trial of pancake-cake back in mini skirt-season, an accidental epiphany that the combination of cream-liquor, mascarpone cheese and coffee can pretty much take any form and shape and “pick anything up”, including as one of my favorite Spanish thing. Especially during winter time, there is no pies or cakes out there to convince me otherwise, that there’s better things to finish a meal with than these crispy and fluffy mascarpone churros dusted in coco, then dipped in warm boozy coffee custard. Na-dah. So you see, as much as I wanted to put my finger in the air and Miley-dance you this recipe, I didn’t. I controlled myself. I waited patiently for the cold, for every single vegetations out there to turn lifeless and every one of you to secretly pull on a thermo-underwear.
But now it’s time. Even if you still have sweet potatoes and marshmallow on your hair and a fork-deep into a pecan pie, slowly slowly put that dooown. Even if you are, like me, taking times away from getting ready to go out for Thanksgiving dinner, just to sneak into a dark corner to flirt with something completely unrelated (Turkey may sit by my side tonight but my heart’s with you, churro…), don’t turn back. The corner of your mouth may be stained with coco and a smudge of warm coffee custard, and your clothes would leak the stench of booziness that exposes your promiscuous bahavior as a mannerless Thanksgiving cheater. Whatever you do, just do it quietly. Because once the words get out, there may be no churros left for you but a slice of boring old pie.
Makes: 16 ~ 17 short churros
I didn’t think the signature star-shape of churro was worth purchasing a pastry-tip for, and so I just cut a hole on my piping-bag and made round-shaped churros. Turned out that the star-shape doesn’t only look pretty, but also helps the center of the churros cook more quickly. If you also don’t have a star-shape pastry-tip and isn’t planning to buy one, you have to either make your churros a bit skinnier, or expect a slightly longer cooking time.
- Churro dough:
- Coffee custard sauce:
- 1 cup (245 grams) of whole milk
- 2 tbsp of ground coffee
- 1/4 cup (75 grams) of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tbsp of cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp of Amarula liquor (or kahlua liquor if preferred)
- 1 tbsp of unsalted butter
- Unsweetened coco powder for dusting
Preheat the oven on 275ºF/135ºC (to keep the churro warm).
To make the churros: Combine water, Amarula liquor (or Kahlua), sugar, unsalted butter and salt in a pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the mixture starts to boil, add in ALL the flour at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until evenly and smoothly combined. It will look like a relatively firm dough. Transfer the dough into a stand-mixer bowl with a paddle-attachment (or you can do the following with a hand-held mixer, or by hand with a wooden spoon), and mix on medium-low for 30 seconds to release some of the steam and heat. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix on medium-low speed until completely incorporated (the dough may be broken into lumps at first but just keep mixing, and it’ll come together). Add the large egg and mix on medium-low speed, stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl once, until the dough is smooth and slightly shiny.
Cut a TINY opening on the tip of the pastry bag and then transfer the dough into the bag. Push the dough towards to the tip to eliminate air-pockets and let it rest for 15 min (or do this a few hours ahead and keep in the fridge until needed).
Add enough canola oil into a frying-pot until it reaches 2″ deep (the narrower the pot is, the less oil you’ll need). Bring the oil up to 375ºF/190ºC, or simply stick a wooden chopstick into the center of the oil. If tiny bubbles quickly start to bubble up around the chopstick, the oil is ready. If you don’t have a star-shape pastry-tip, cut a 1/2″ (12 mm) opening on the tip of the pastry bag. Hold the bag 1″ above the oil and squeeze the dough into the hot oil. Release the dough by cutting/scraping it off with a butter knife. Do 2 ~ 3 churros at a time without crowding the pot (if your pot is small). Fry the churros for at least 5 ~ 6 minutes, turning them a few times, until golden browned and blistered on the outside. If your oil is too hot that it burns the exterior too quickly, lower the heat down to adjust.
DON’T eat the churros RIGHT OFF the fryer. Besides the obvious burnt tongue-hazard, the churros need at least 5 min to cool and the interior to continue to cook. Drain the churros on a rack over a baking-sheet and keep warm in the oven while you make the custard sauce.
To make the coffee custard: Combine milk and ground coffee in a sauce pot and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and let it steep for 3 minutes. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and eggs together in another pot, then pour the coffee-milk THROUGH A FINE SIEVE into the mixture. Whisk to combine, then add cornstarch and vanilla extract. Whisk again until lump free, then heat over medium-low heat while whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened and releases a bit of steam. Turn off the heat then whisk in the Amarula (or Kahlua) liquor and unsalted butter. If your custard happens to have curdled (oops), just press it through a fine sieve into another bowl to eliminate lumps.
To serve: Dust coco powder over the churros and dip them into the warm coffee custard.