Thursday, June 10

Fried Pate a Choux with Cinnamon Sugar

I'd had a craving for doughnuts since I read a recipe for Buttermilk Doughnuts and French Crullers in the LA Times. Last night, however, I wanted a treat that was a little simpler, though just as fulfilling. I decided to make some pate a choux, adding a generous amount of sugar, vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon, fry it in a mix of canola and olive oils and then cover it liberally with cinnamon sugar (about a 5:1 sugar to cinammon ratio).

The picture, from my 2008 Samsung cell phone, doesn't do this delectable treat justice. They were crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, while the heat pronounced the cinnamon flavor and mellowed the sugar. 

Fried Pate a Choux with Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 C water
3 T butter, cut into cubes (for faster melting)
1/2 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 t ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
cinnamon and sugar to make a 5:1 blend (reference, 1 C = 16 T, 1 T = 3 t; or better yet, get a food scale)
enough canola and olive oil to fill a small sauce pan

Place the butter, vanilla extract and water in a sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour, sugar, and cinnamon, stirring vigorously until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan into a ball.

Turn off the heat and let it sit for 2-3 minutes off the burner as it cools. Then add the 2 eggs, one at a time, to the water-butter-flour mixture. At first it will be slimy, but then the mixture will become smooth and creamy, with continued beating. (I suggest using a whisk at this point, though my kitchen is lacking in one and so I use a spatula. A long-tined fork could also work.)

Fill another sauce pan with the oil and allow it sit over medium heat. Test a small drop of the batter. If it is hot enough, it should drop to the bottom then immediately rise back up. I used a large spoon to drop free-form spoonfuls of dough into the batter, letting it fry for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden and deliciously browned.

Drop the fried batter onto a paper towel and allow it to drain oil (essentially, the air that would fill up in the holes in the pate a choux when baking, which forms the definitive puff, such as in a gougere or a profiterole, is replaced with oil which drains out of the dough and deflates it). When drained, cover generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture, plate, and try to make sure Mike doesn't eat them all.

Experiments for next time: doused powdered sugar or melted chocolate,soaked in creme anglaise or caramel sauce.


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