They always take me back to my very first trip to Spain when I was 8 years old (since then, Spain has become one of my favourite countries to visit). My parents and I drove around the stunning region of Andalusia - a region famous for its sherry, horses, flamenco, beautiful cities and not to forget the region's probably most celebrated son - Pablo Picasso.
We visited quite a few cities during our time there, but the one I remember the best (strangely enough) is Jerez de la Frontera. I might just remember it the best, because we did the most sherry tasting there... Imagine an 8 year old, pale as paper girl running from one bodega to another in the crazy hot August weather. It was a rather memorable stay for me and let me tell you - now I know my sherries! Not that I could take part in sherry tasting sessions back then (to be fair, I was allowed to take a nip of the one or the other glass of sherry), but I still remember a bit of what we were told at Sandeman, Tio Pepe & Co.
Anyways - what was memorable as well was breakfast in Jerez. We never had breakfast at the hotel, simply because my parents wanted to experience the city of Jerez, rather than the hotel's continental breakfast (that's actually a great tip for anyone who likes to travel IMO), so we used to go to the city's market hall in the morning- "Mercado Central de Abastos". It's just as amazing as probably most other Spanish mercado - lovely flair, food and people.
In the market there's a little booth that was selling freshly fried churros tossed in cinnamon sugar. Believe you me from the first bite on I was in love with this deliciousness and it went on to be our -or at least my- breakfast for the rest of our stay in Jerez.
I for one prefer to eat churros without any dip at all, just sprinkle on some cinnamon sugar and I'm good to go. I've tried them dipped in chocolate sauce once it honestly destroyed the whole dish for me...but that might also be, because I just don't really care for chocolate (oh God, have I just given away my biggest secret?!).
The only thing that I could see myself enjoying was dipping the churros in something light and fresh, something that kind of "breaks" the richness of the churros, not enhances it.
So I came up with 2 yummy dipping sauces - a mango/ ginger dip and a strawberry/ lime dip.
Now, heat up the oil, listen to some Paco de Lucia, pour yourself a glass of sherry and get cooking!:-)
Churros with mango and strawberry dipping sauce
1 Cup (250 ml) water
1 Cup (160 g) all purpose flour
½ Cup (110 g) butter
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Oil for frying
¼ Cup (40 g) sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tbsp honey
¼ tsp ground fresh ginger
1 tsp lime juice
1 ½ Cups (300 g) fresh (or frozen) strawberries
1 tbsp honey
juice of ½ lime and
zest of 1 lime
- In a medium sized pot, bring water and butter to a boil. Stir in the flour and keep stirring quite vigorously until all the flour is incorporated and there are no more lumps.
- Take the pot off the heat and add in the eggs. Stir after each egg until it’s fully worked into the dough. Finally, whisk in the sugar, salt and vanilla.
- Fill a pan with oil (you want it to be about half-full) – for frying the churros. Using an icing bag, pipe the batter into the hot oil and fry until the churros turn a nice, golden brown colour.
- Drain off any excess fat by placing the churros on a paper towel.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon, then toss the churros in the sugar mixture.
- Place all the ingredients for the mango dip in a mixer and blend until smooth. Do the same for making the strawberry dip. Alternatively you could use a hand-held blender or a fork.
- Churros are best served warm.