Spanish food isn’t all about tapas, so save some room for dessert. The most popular dessert worldwide from Spain is churros con chocolate - crispy dough sticks with chocolate dipping sauce, and chef Jose Cotes of La Paloma adds vanilla ice cream to his.
“Churros is basically a stick of dough, and when you deep fry it, it becomes crispy outside and very tender and juicy inside,” he says. “Later, just take out the excess oil and coat with a mix of sugar and cinnamon.”
Cotes gives away a secret about the dessert. “It comes from China! But with the passing of time, Spain improved the dish into the dessert you taste today,” Cotes says. His twist is to add cinnamon; usually the recipe calls for sugar, he adds. “Churros brings me very good memories as a kid, because I used to eat it at my hometown fair. The fair was awesome: amusement, gifts, food, lights - good fun moments,” Cotes explains. “Another favourite dessert as a kid was cheesecake. I think it’s because my mom used to cook it for us on special days and her recipe was awesome.”
Chef Alex Fargas at FoFo by el Willy does a good Catalan cream. “This is a traditional dessert using eggs, milk and sugar,” he says. “It is a thick cream with a touch of cinnamon, and the moment I taste it, it reminds me of my childhood. It is thick, crispy from the sugar - and creamy.”
The Catalan classic has many recipes, he says. “For my recipe, we have a less sweet cream, and for sugar, we do honeycomb, so our presentation is a bit different than the classic one,” Fargas explains.
“Spanish desserts are very simple, and depending on the area you grow up [in], and even your family, you will have different memories,” he says.
“My memories are many, most of them will have chocolate such as, ‘Suizo’ hot chocolate with fresh cream; [then there is] bread with chocolate after school; ‘Bollycao’ brioche with chocolate; [as well as] Catalan cream, bread, sugar and honey; churros, and ‘Bunyols’ of fried dough with sugar.”