Monday, February 13, 2012

Deep Fried Love

Working towards a deadline for the third cookbook in a week (Bake It Like You Mean It), gearing up for the release of the second cookbook in mid-March (Pie It Forward), keeping all the farm duties straight, nursing a dying hen, puppy proofing the house...I'm stretched thin.

But no matter how it seems that time is accelerating, how a day slips away into the ether before you can make a dent into it, there's always just enough time to show a little love.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  The day we are required to make a sweet effort no matter how little time we have to spare.  This recipe provides a big dose of love in just minutes.

The secret to this treat is to make and pipe the batter the evening before and FREEZE it overnight.
In the morning, you just need to fill a large, heavy stock pot with vegetable oil and heat to 350º.  The hearts take mere minutes to fry up.  Sweet indeed.


For the crullers

1 cup 2% milk
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
5 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For the glaze
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon raspberry puree (optional)


2 cups granulated sugar and a pinch of cinnamon


For the crullers:

•In a large saucepan, combine the milk, butter, sweetened condensed milk and salt over medium heat.  Stir until the butter is completely melted and the mixture comes to a gentle simmer.

•Add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon constantly until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pot.

•Transfer the flour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment.  Mix on low for a minute to allow the paste to cool a bit.  Add one egg (you may not need all the eggs so I only crack them just before I add them).  Mix until the egg is fully incorporated.  Add the 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder and mix.

•Continue adding eggs until a smooth paste forms that flows easily from the paddle but still holds it's shape when piped.  I added four eggs and then before I added the fifth, I beat it just in case I didn't need the entire egg.  I ended up only using half of it.  You may need to use the whole thing.

•Transfer the batter to a large pastry bag fit with a large star tip.  Onto a large sheetpan, lined with parchment, pipe the batter into small heart shapes.  The hearts can be quite close to each other as we're simply going to freeze them and not bake them on the parchment.

•Freeze the piped hearts overnight (this allows you to handle the choux easily without ruining the sweet heart shape.  The batter can be fried while still frozen).

•On Valentine's morning, fill a large stockpot a few inches deep with vegetable oil.  Attach a candy thermometer and heat the oil to 360º.

•Fry for a few minutes on each side.  Be patient.  Allow the the crullers to fry until deep golden brown and puffy.

•Transfer the crullers with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel.

•In the bowl of an electric mixer fit with the paddle attachment combine the confectioner's sugar and the milk.  Mix on high until smooth.  Add the raspberry puree.  The glaze should be smooth and rather thin.  Place the crullers on a piece of parchment and while the crullers are still warm, spoon a layer of glaze over the cruller and allow the excess to drip onto the parchment.  Or sprinkle with sugar!   Serve immediately.

OPTION!  If you like, you can do everything all at once.  Make the batter and pipe it in strips straight into the hot oil as if you were making a churro.  Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar or roll the hot crullers in cinnamon and sugar.