Indulgence. Perhaps it’s one of the hardest things to recreate in isolation because enjoying something out of gratification often entails doing something out of the ordinary.
When I think about indulgence in relation to recent meals I had when dining out, the parmesan churros at Sam’s Riverside in Hammersmith immediately comes to mind. Born out of a love affair with the gastronomic capital that is Lyon, these airy, rich, cylinders of pure deliciousness are one of the highlights of head chef Harvey Trollope’s menu. Though he honed his skills at top restaurants The Ritz and Léon de Lyon, Trollope looked to his wife’s grandmother for inspiration when coming up with the recipe for dish. “She lives in Lyon and would often fry her gougères and when we were looking through ideas for bar snacks, we gave them a go,” Trollope tells me.
After going through multiple cheeses to get just the right flavour, they opted for the stronger flavour of Parmesan, which really shines through in the finished product. The final recipe uses many pantry staples that you probably already have in your cupboards. Give this recipe a try to add a touch of indulgence and a warm hug of comfort to your next meal.
62ml whole milk
75g unsalted butter
150g plain white flour
4 whole eggs
1g cayenne pepper
140g grated Parmesan cheese (and another 150g Parmesan to grate over churros just before serving)
Place the water, milk, butter, salt and cayenne pepper into a large saucepan and heat until the butter has melted. Add the flour slowly over a low heat, whisking the flour as you go. Change to a wooden spoon or spatula once the mixture becomes too thick for the whisk.
Cook the mixture until it comes away clean from the sides of the pan and there are no lumps of flour at all. Then take the pan off the heat and add the grated Parmesan a little at a time, working the parmesan into the mixture until it’s completely melted and incorporated into the dough.
Transfer to a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is mixed in before adding the next to ensure the mixture doesn’t split. Keep beating until the mixture has completely cooled.
Fit a large piping bag with a star shaped nozzle (1.5-2cm wide) and fill with the dough. Pipe the choux pastry onto a lined baking sheet, into 8cm-long fingers. Place into the freezer uncovered and leave until frozen all the way through.
To cook the churros, heat sunflower oil in a large, deep-sided saucepan until it reaches 160°C on a thermometer. The churros are being deep-fried so you need enough oil to fill the pan about halfway. Fry the churros directly from frozen, placing the frozen sticks of choux pastry into the hot oil three to five at a time depending on the size of the saucepan. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan as they will double in size. Fry for about 2 – 3 minutes each side, or until golden brown and puffed up.
Remove to a tray lined with kitchen roll, then dust with freshly grated fresh Parmesan using a fine grater or Microplane. Serve immediately!