Thursday, October 30, 2008

Squash Churros with Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate

Why are we scrambling again this time of month?

Oh yeah, we lost a big chunk of the month and had been abducted by unidentified boxes.

TS and I discussed whether or not we should even enter something for this month's Joust, given our recent stresses. Of course, the option of not participating was quickly thrown out and just as quickly dismissed.

Yes, we can do the Joust this month.

I am an eternal optimist.

Even with the moving? For sure.
Even with the limited time left from now till the end of the month? Why not?
Even with unfamiliar ingredients?

How unfamiliar are they?

We don't really work with squash a whole lot. For some reason, we don't cook with squashes regularly, but only on rare occasions; very, very rare.

Well, scratch that and modify it: until recently, we didn't work with squash. There is one person who eats a lot of squash in our household and that is our 8-month old niece. CSC boils/steams and mashes up different types of squashes and that is what our niece been having for the past month, added to broths and rice and such.

We contemplated entering our niece's boiled squash, with candied orange and fried sage leaves, as our Joust entry. ;)

Well, thank goodness we came to our senses. I think you'll find our real entry is much better than baby food.

[ts]With each Joust, there is always the choice to go the savory or sweet route. Seeing that the earlier entries for this edition seemed to lean towards the savory, we decided to go the opposite direction. (Of course, that is now moot as there have been delicious sweet entries since we last checked.)

Squash Churro

Let's tackle the squash portion of the challenge first, since that is the unfamiliar for us.

We decided to make churros (Spanish "donuts"). Actually, I confess, I'm not sure whether this is even close to the traditional recipe. Basically, I made choux pastry with some added puréed squash.

(The pictures were supposed to be step-by-step, but we were busy doing all sorts of things in the kitchen at the same time that it didn't happen.)

The beginning and the finish of our choux pastry

On the left, that's butter, milk, water, puréed squash, sugar and salt warming up, waiting to boil. When it boiled, I dumped the flour and stirred until it came together. I kept stirring until the mixture had "dried" and cooled somewhat. Then, I added one egg at a time, stirring and waiting for each egg to be incorporated into the dough before adding the next.

It was a lot of stirring! I would usually do this with the Kitchen-Aid, but the thought of extra washing deterred me. The stirring wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. =)

On the right is the finished squash choux paste in a Ziploc bag. I actually found a starred tip somewhere in the kitchen. (That pumpkin in the background is for our Weekend Wokking entry.)

To the fryer!

After heating up some oil, it was time to fry. I made a few test ones to check the oil temperature. I couldn't squeeze out the dough with just one hand (the tip was small), so there was no way for me to use my other hand to "cut off" the dough. Hence, the squiggly worm-like shapes you see with curliques at the end.

They're cute that way. =) For extra deliciousness, we coated the churros with some cinnamon sugar.

This looks like a combination of the treble and bass clefs to me.

Look at the fabulous hollow center!

Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate

The hot chocolate portion was easy as easy can be.

I simply heated some milk, adding big strips of orange zest and a couple of sage leaves. When the milk was hot, I whisked in some sugar (not too much) and broken pieces of dark chocolate. I wanted the chocolate to be a tad richer and thicker for dipping purposes, and not too sweet.

Now, the best part: dunk!

The best part was not the dunking -- it was the EATING!

These were delicious and I'm wishing I had more of these churros right now to munch on as I'm writing. The cinnamon sugar and the woodsy background the sage leaves added to the hot chocolate really highlighted the squashiness of the churros. The squash churros had heft, definitely had a lot more body than regular churros. It paired perfectly with the rich, dark chocolate fragrant with orange and sage.

[update: We actually won! Wow. Thanks!!]


Squash Churros
Makes... not-enough!

This is the choux paste list of ingredients from Joy of Cooking. My changes are indicated in italics and in black.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk

Instead of the above, my liquid ingredients were:
1/4 cup squash purée
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar (I added some sugar in addition to the salt.)
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
(Method paraphrased)In a sauce pan, combine squash purée, water, milk, butter, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir until the mixture becomes dough-like and pills away from the sides of the pan.

Continue to cook and stiry for about 1 minute to eliminate excess moisture. Remove from heat and set aside for about 5 minutes to cool, stirring occasionally.

Beat in one egg at a time with a wooden spoon. Wait until the egg is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next egg. Beat until the dough is smooth and shiny. Transfer into a pastry bag with a star tip.

In a pan, add about 1-2 inches of oil. Heat on medium. You may need to test the heat of the oil. The churros should puff up immediately but not brown too quickly. Squeeze choux paste (into desired length) into the hot oil. When it's golden-brown on the bottom side, flip until the other side is golden-brown. Remove from the oil and drain. Do not overcrowd the pan. Make 4-6 churros at a time.

If desired, put some sugar on a plate and add a pinch of cinnamon. Dust churros in cinnamon sugar.

Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
Makes 4-6 servings

2 cups milk
slices of zest from 1 orange
1-2 sage leaves
1/4 cup sugar
175 grams dark chocolate (70%), broken in pieces
(I used 5 bars of Lindt 70% chocolate, 35g per bar.)

In a small pan, add milk, orange zest and sage leaves. Heat on low.

When the milk is hot (do not boil), whisk in the sugar and dark chocolate pieces. Continue heating until the chocolate is completely melted and the hot chocolate mixture is rich and smooth.

Discard orange zest slices and sage leaves.

To enjoy
Dip Squash Churros into Orange-Zest Hot Chocolate.

This is our entry to the Royal Food Joust (created by The Leftover Queen).

[eatingclub] vancouver Royal Food Joust posts:
Dimsum Seafood Trio: Black Pearl Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup
Cream of Fennel Soup with Parsey Oil
Ginger-Guava Jam
Lime-Marinated Pork Skewers with Ginger-Guava Jam and Five-Grain Rice
Soy Pudding Parfait with Orange-Ginger Syrup and "Streusel" Brittle
Squash Churros with Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
Coffee Pancakes with Honey Ricotta and Black Pepper & Coffee-Crusted Bacon
Caribbean "Fish & (Banana) Chips"
Steelhead Trout and Enoki Mushrooms with Wasabi Cream Sauce

eatingclub vancouver Beverages, a selection
Matcha Latte (Japanese Green Tea Latte), Hot and Iced
Caffè Latte with Almond Milk
Cilantro Horchata
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Turkish Çay (Turkish Tea)
Squash Churros with Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
Avocado Shake

We're submitting this to Culinarty's Original Recipes.

More information here.
The Round-ups here.


  1. Wow, these look amazing, what a wonderful seasonal spin on the traditional churro

  2. These are SO brilliant. So brilliant!

  3. I second Maybelle's Mom, brilliant brilliant!!! I have to make these! They look outrageously good, and love the curves, better than the straight churros!

  4. What an incredibly fun entry, I think you guys might have this joust in the bag

  5. You guys are genius! This is seriously amazing!

  6. This is absolutely brilliant!

  7. This is one of the most beautiful recipes I've seen in a long time. What a wonderful combination.

  8. Looks great. What kind of oil do you use for frying?

  9. You two made one of the best desserts...churros!

    This is very creative and Joust apron-worthy...bon chance!

  10. The churros look fantastic and the hot chocolate just gilds the lily! This is going to be a tough contest.

  11. This flavor combo is great - orange-sage...that's what up!


  12. Ooh, these are calling my name! I know how you feel. When I moved I had boxes and furniture everywhere. My kitchen only had a narrow band of space to walk between the doorways. I was cooking on top of a bookcase. Not much room! Soooo, are you gonna scramble for a pumpkin posting for WW too? :P

  13. Omg, making churros while shuffling in between boxes? It looks extremely good, kudos to you guys. I've always wanted to try making churros at home ever since I saw Iron Chef Mario Batali's churros in battle *something* i don't remember, I just remember the cripy golden sticks coated in sugar *_*

  14. I'm speechless, seriously speechless. How absolutely brilliant this is! I love it.

  15. Brilliant! Love the creative churros and that hot chocolate looks intense!

  16. loving your curly churros ^_^ and that chocolate mmm mm!!!

  17. "The best part was not the dunking -- it was the EATING!" HA!
    So true! That must have been some good AND fun eats!

  18. these are ridiculously impressive, and undoubtedly delicious even without the chocolate. the chocolate obviously makes them even better and probably downright irresistible. lovely--and happy halloween! :)

  19. The Bites Site:
    maybelle's mom:
    Fearless Kitchen:
    Darius T. Williams:

    Thanks! [beaming] =D

    Sometimes the best things are accidents! I like the curly shapes of the churros as well.

    (fingers corssed?)

    Hope it's enough to win. ;D

    For this, we just used plain canola oil.

    Peter M:
    Thanks! We're still waiting to see what your entry is! =)

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    We were just standing around the counter and greedily eating these churros. Haha... It took about 5 minutes before we thought to offer them to others. ;D

    Oue WWokking entry is posted. Woohoo.

    Thank goodness the kitchen is more or less set up now.

    Fried anything dipped in sugar is unbeatable. ;D

    Good thing the kitchen is more or less "done"... it's the rest of the house that's a mess. =)

    noble pig:
    marc @ no recipes:
    Mochachocolata Rita:

    Those churros were NOT ENOUGH! =D

    Thanks! Happy Halloween to you too!

  20. Whoa guys! Those look incredible! I think you have a great chance at the win this month! Who could say no to this deliciousness!!!!

  21. Those churros and hot chocolate are brilliant. I hope you two ladies win the joust!

  22. Oh my, i want to jump and swim with the churros in that pot of chocolate. Brilliant!

  23. Those look good! I like the use of pumpkin in them!

  24. What an incredible entry in the Joust!!! It looks so good that I can actually imagine exactly how it would taste!

  25. Hey you girls are so innovative!!!! I'm very impressed. The churros could be made into alphabets too and you can spell out someone's full name and give them as gifts for xmas, hee hee :)


  26. Check out this Churro site... The Churros look yummy !

  27. I adore churros, but only have the "normal" kind. What wonderful creations! They must be lovely and soooooooo tasty! Nice pictures too!

  28. JennDZ-The Leftover Queen:
    Hopefully, no one can! ;)

    Thanks! We'll see what happens a few days from now.

    Zen Chef:
    Chocolate pool party? You may be on to something there.

    The sugar really brought out the squash flavor.

    Now it's making me sad that we don't have any more churros!

    What an idea! Our laziness gets in the way... although, it's crazy enough to make me want to try it! People with short names lose out, though! ;D

    una donna dolce:
    Clumbsy Cookie:
    Thanks. We made too few of them! =( Teehee.

    Anonymous/Florida Churros:
    Thanks for the link. Hope all is going well with your store.

  29. These are so awesome...

    congrats on the joust!

  30. That is probably the most inspired thing I've seen all day... no, month! I *adore* churros and am fascinated by the sage & orange hot chocolate. I can see these (or something similar!) being attempted in my kitchen...

  31. Wow! These are incredible looking & amazingly creative. Plus they look delicious! Congrats on the Royal Food Joust win!

  32. Brittany:
    Thanks! =)

    Yes, yes, attempt, attempt! =D

  33. I haven't seen anything this delicious in a long time. I'm so glad you guys won! Squeeeee!

  34. i hope you won. because that right there is TOTALLY kick ass. is it me or are you guys getting better and better and better at this whole cooking thing?

    total home run. great idea.

  35. I have never loved churros until now. Those look simply wonderful!

  36. Venezuela has a spectacular churro chain called churromania... so, so GOOD!! This post reminded me of them - thanks :)
    oh, and I totally dig the shapes, too!

  37. Yummmm! I love the curvy shapes you got out of your churros. And pumpkin flavoured too!

  38. That's a great new take on churros - it sounds delicious!

  39. Just one word: WOW!

  40. This looks kind of out of control delicious. Certainly the perfect fall flavor indulgence!

  41. Nikki:
    Thanks! =D

    KICK ASS is what we try to aim for!

    Can't believe we've converted you!

    Antonio Tahhan:
    Those shapes were a happy accident. =)

    Chocolate Shavings:
    Carolyn Jung:
    Thanks! =)

    Sweet & Saucy:
    The Wind Attack said...
    Yeah, I'm kinda missing them now as I type!

    This is definitely one of my list thing to make. Bookmarking this!

  43. Hey, congrats to be the November Joust winner, well deserved. Really fabulous! and great photos!

  44. What a great idea!!! I love it.

    Thank you for posting this beautiful recipe, I liked it so much I've included it in my Top funkiest Chocolate recipes on the Web >>

    Congratulations!! and looking forward to many more fab recipes.


  45. Bridget:
    Thanks for including us!


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