Ariela's Churro Pie~Part 1 of 2

Ariela’s Masterpiece

Ariela’s Masterpiece

Makes: One 7 inch by 2-1/2 to 3 inch pie
Deep Fryer Temperature: 375˚F/190˚C (see Notes)
Frying Time: 6 to 10 minutes

With Cinco de Mayo just a week away, I thought this would be an intriguing dessert for the holiday.

 Ariela Trepman is a Latino Pastry Cook currently working at Gramercy Tavern. Her “Churro Pie” with cajeta mousse and ganache filling won the Most Creative Pie Award at Gramercy’s 2018 in-house Thanksgiving Pie Baking Contest. When we asked about the inspiration for this pie, Ariela said:

“After learning about Gramercy’s Thanksgiving Pie Contest, I knew I wanted to incorporate my Latin roots into this American Holiday competition. I had to ask myself: “if I were to order a pie off a dessert menu, what pie would truly catch my eye?” (the Best Pie winner’s pie is put on Gramercy’s menu for a few months.)

That’s when the image of a CHURRO popped into my head.

My inspiration for this Cajeta Mouse & Chocolate Ganache Churro Crusted Pie arose from my desire to convey my personality; crunchy and charming on the outside, and playful and inventive on the inside.”

 “Cajeta”, is dulce de leche made from goat’s milk.

 Ariela showcases all of her work on Instagram @onehungrybaker. We recommend you follow her for more amazing pastries!

This pie has been one of my biggest challenges, since I had not made churros before, and then piping them to make to a pie crust that would not split apart during frying. This happened on a few attempts. I am presenting this recipe in two parts since the recipe is lengthy and I have included many step by step photos. This posting is for making the churro pie shell and the cajeta, as both can be made a day before assembling. Part 2 will be posted on Wednesday, May 1st, is for making the cajeta mousse filling, chocolate ganache filling, and assembling the churro pie.

Plan Ahead The churro pie shell needs to be frozen for 8 hours before frying. The completed pie requires 3 hours in the refrigerator to set the filling before serving.

 Special Equipment
For the Churro Pie Shell: One 7 by 2 to 2-1/2 inch round straight sided silicone cake pan (see Notes); A cutting board at least 8 inches wide 8 inches long; A jar or can with a height just under the height of the silicone cake; A medium size piping bag fitted with decorating star tip, preferably a #22 tip (see Notes).
One large frying pot 10 by 8 inch (or taller); A 12 inch long wooden skewer; A slotted skimmer; A 6 inch round strainer without any support handle(s)
For the Cajeta: One 5 quart stainless steel pot

Plan Ahead The churro pie shell needs to be frozen for 8 hours before frying. The completed pie requires 3 hours in the refrigerator to set the filling before serving.

 

Special Equipment

For the Churro Pie Shell: One 7 by 2 to 2-1/2 inch round straight sided silicone cake pan (see Notes); A cutting board at least 8 inches wide 8 inches long; A jar or can with a height just under the height of the silicone cake; A medium size piping bag fitted with decorating star tip, preferably a #22 tip (see Notes).

A large fry pot 10 by 8 inch (or taller); A 12 inch long wooden skewer; A slotted skimmer; A 6 inch round strainer without any support handle(s)

For the Cajeta: One 5 quart stainless steel pot

Churro Batter 
This churro batter is denser than most churro batters since it is being used to construct a crust.

churro a batter.png

Mise en Place
* About 30 minutes ahead, set the eggs on the counter at room temperature.
* Into a 1 cup glass measure with a spout, weigh or measure the yolks and the whites (see Notes).
* Position the jar at the center of the cutting board. Invert the silicone cake pan and center it over the jar to rest on the cutting board (see Notes). Set the cutting board on a tall bowl or #10 can so that the silicone pan will be close to your eye level, when piping the side “ropes”.
* Be sure there is room in the freezer to set the cutting board and piped pie shell.

Make the Batter
1) In a medium size bowl with a wide flat bottom bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt.
2) In a medium saucepan, combine the water and butter, and heat on medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula until the butter has melted. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
3) Remove the pan from the heat, and add the flour mixture all at once stirring constantly. Stir and fold until the flour mixture is moistened.
4) Return the pan to the burner on medium heat, stir and mash constantly until the mixture becomes smooth and follows your spatula around. (Similar to cream puff pastry dough.)
5) Remove the pan from the heat and smear the batter on the walls of the medium size bowl with a wide bottom. Set aside to cool for 20 to 30 minutes, or until just warm to the touch.
6) With a hand held mixer, add the yolks and whites in 4 parts until the mixture becomes smooth, thick, and gloppy. Scrape the batter off the beaters and use a silicone spatula to make a uniform batter. (You may need to remove the beaters from time to time to scrape off batter that will climb up their shafts. A wide bottom bowl will lessen the times of scraping the beaters.)
7) Let the mixture cool to 75˚ to 80˚F/24˚to 27˚C, either on the countertop or in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally.

Pipe and Freeze the Churro Pie Shell
(See Notes, if you have not made churros)


* Ariela’s piping technique for the shell’s sides has one piping four stacks of piped “ropes” to cover the sides. The following technique interlocks rings of piped “ropes” by having each stack of “ropes” starting at a slightly different point. This technique takes longer, but the shell is less likely to split during frying.
* You are going to pipe rings of 6 to 7 inch long “ropes” of churro batter stacked 7 to 8 “rope“ rings high to cover the sides of the pan. Then cover the bottom of the pan with concentric rings of batter. You need to make sure that the “ropes” touch each other to form a solid casing to avoid the chance that the crust will break apart during frying.


* Place the cutting board and pie shell on the large bowl.

8) Fill the piping bag with a third of the batter.
9) Starting at the rim of the silicone pan, pipe a 6 to 7 inch long by 3/8 inch wide “rope” of batter to go around one-quarter of the pan’s rim. Use an offset spatula to tamp the end to square it off.
10) Position the pastry tip end at the first “rope’s” squared off end and pipe another “rope” to cover a quarter of the rim and tamp its end.
11) Continue with two more “ropes” to cover the entire rim, tamping the fourth “rope’s” end to butt against the first “rope’s” beginning.  
12) Position the pastry tip about a half-inch to the left side of a juncture of two “ropes”. Pipe another “rope” it drop right on top of the first ring of “ropes” to cover another one-quarter of the pan’s sides with tamping off its end.
13) Continue in the same manner to make a second ring of “ropes”.

* Use the offset spatula to tamp or slightly mesh a “rope” against another, or slightly mesh two “ropes” together, if there appears to be a gap. If you make a mistake use the offset spatula to remove the entire “rope” and re-pipe.

14) Start the third row about a half-inch to the right of the first juncture. Pipe the third ring of “ropes.”
15) Fill the piping bag with another third of the batter. Start the fourth row directly above the first juncture to pipe and tamp in the same manner. Follow the same pattern to cover the sides of the silicone until the last ring is even or slightly higher than the bottom of the silicone pan.
16) Move the cutting board to the countertop. Add more of the batter into the piping bag.
17) Pipe a “rope” directly on top of the top “ropes” to make a continuous circle of batter, letting the end over lap the beginning. Use the offset spatula to mesh the ends to form a solid “rope”. Starting at a different point, pipe another “rope” ring alongside the first “rope”. Use the offset spatula to tamp it if necessary to connect to the first “rope”.
18) Pipe 7 to 9 more concentric circles until the bottom is completely covered.
19) With the offset spatula, spread more of the batter from the bowl on top of the piped bottom rings and smooth the batter to form a fairly smooth bottom for the pie shell.
20) Fill in any gaps in the piped side “ropes” to encase the silicone pan completely.

21) Place the churro crust in the freezer to freeze for 8 hours up to 2 days. (Longer freezing can cause the crust to overbrown and/or leave doughy middles during deep-frying.)

Fry the Churro Pie Shell
Preheat the Oil
* Twenty minutes or longer before frying, fill the large pot with canola oil to a depth of at least 4-1/2 inches . Heat the oil to 375˚F/190˚C. Set the long wooden skewer, slotted skimmer, and mesh strainer by the pot.
* Place a couple of paper towels on the cooktop. Set a wire rack with a paper towel on top of it over the paper towels.

22) Set the frozen churro pie shell piped silicone pan on the counter and invert it so that the open side is now facing up. Gently take off the silicone pan by bending the silicone inwards to release it from the frozen churro pie shell.
23) Place the shell on a large slotted skimmer. Slide the shell sideways into the oil for the oil to begin filling the inside of the shell as you slowly submerge it into the hot oil; at the same time to avoid pressing the shell against the sides of the pot. Slide out the slotted skimmer. (Pressing it against the pot’s sides can collapse the shell.)
24) The shell will sink to the bottom. Let it fry for about 30 seconds. Use the wooden skewer to nudge its sides gently to release the shell to float to the top.
25) Let the shell float to fry for 3 minutes to set the shell’s structure. Use the skimmer or skewer to gently nudge the shell away from the pot’s sidewalls and to keep the pie shell round in shape.
26) Use the mesh strainer or skimmer to gently submerge the shell by gently pressing on different sections of the shell’s rim to dip it below the oil’s surface. Fry the shell for 3-1/2 to 5-1/2 minutes more, or until it is golden brown.
27) Using the slotted skimmer and strainer to sandwich the shell between them, lift the shell and empty out the oil inside, and transfer the fried shell to the wire rack.
28) Let the pie shell sit for 1 minute. If the pie shell has mis-formed in places, use the slotted skimmer to press it back in shape while holding a folded paper towel on the other side of the crust. Use paper towels to sponge off any oil from the shell.
29) Let the shell firm up and replace the paper towel on the rack. Cool completely. Remove the paper towels and set the pie shell on the wire rack until ready to assemble the pie.

* If small gaps occur in the pie shell, they can be sealed with ganache during assembling.
 

The fried churro pie shell can be stored uncovered on a wire rack at room temperature for 2 days before filling. Placing the shell in an airtight container will soften the pie shell.

 

The fried churro pie shell can be stored in at room temperature for 2 days before filling. Placing the shell in an airtight container will soften the pie shell.

Cajeta (Goat’s Milk “Caramel”)

churro cajeta.png

1) Measure the goat milk, sugar, and baking soda into the large pot (it will bubble up, if using fresh goat’s milk).
2) Set on the cooktop over medium heat stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the milk becomes foamy.
3) Turn the up the heat to maintain a simmer. Stir frequently with a silicone spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the pot, until the milk darkens to a light brown color and thickens (about 40 to 60 minutes).
4) Adjust the heat as needed to keep a simmer, which may require taking the pot off the heat to stir down the caramelizing milk if it foams up. Continue cooking until a bare "trail" remains open for 1 second when a spatula is scraped thru the cajeta across the bottom of the pot.
5) Scrape the cajeta into a heat resistant container. If the cajeta weighs less than 355 grams, whisk in some heavy cream.
6) Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate to thicken the cajeta, until ready to complete the cajeta mousse.

Cajeta can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Part 2 will be posted on Wednesday, May 1st.

Notes

* A silicone pan  is required so that after the churro batter shell freezes, you can release it from the pan by bending the pan’s sides.
 * The jar or can(s) is needed to support the silicone pan’s bottom from dipping downwards from the weight of the churro crust’s bottom “ropes”, which will produce a convex bottom when frozen.
* Pastry chefs, like Ariela, frequently use European butters with 82 to 83 % butterfat. I specified butter with 81% butterfat for the churro batter as it is more available.
* Large eggs vary greatly in yield. The yolks and whites have been specified separately to minimize the batter form being to thin.

* If you have never made churros before, I recommend testing the batter by frying a couple of short “ropes” of dough in a small sauce pan filled half full with oil. The “ropes” should hold their shape and expand to about one-half times larger without pieces of batter fraying off or deep pits forming. The ridges should stay intact.
If the fried churros are fraying, doubling in size, or pitting, the batter is too moist.
Blend in flour at a tablespoon at a time to stiffen the dough.
* I recommend making a test shell before making one that you will fill as this shell can be difficult to make, if you are unfamiliar with churro batter.
* The oil temperature is higher than you will see for most churro recipes, because of the pie shell being frozen. It will drop under 350˚F/175˚C.
* You need to use a star tip to create ridges for the piped “ropes” to that can mesh together during piping and freezing.
* Piping thinner “ropes” OR having gaps between rows or junctions will weaken the shell’s ability to stay in a solid round shape while frying, and can cause the shell to break apart.
* Leftover batter can be used to make churros, although we recommend to thin it a bit with egg white. Fry the churros at 350˚F/175˚C for 4 to 6 minutes.

* The cajeta recipe, includes Serious Eat’s addition of baking soda, which lowers the required temperature for caramelization. The baking soda will give the cajeta a slightly darker color and can be omitted.

Ariela’s sliced pie for Gramercy Tavern’s employee pie contest

Ariela’s sliced pie for Gramercy Tavern’s employee pie contest