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A&E >  Food

Dorothy Dean presents: pumpkin churros to spice up fall

Trade your PSL for PSCs this autumn. Pumpkin spice churros, that is. (Audrey Alfaro)
Trade your PSL for PSCs this autumn. Pumpkin spice churros, that is. (Audrey Alfaro)
By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

It’s that time. Time to break out the scarves, boots and the unofficial mascot of fall: pumpkin.

As one of the most versatile fruits around – yes, it’s a fruit, not a vegetable – pumpkin can be found in almost all dishes from sweet to savory and everything in between.

But when pies and lattes are just too basic, venture over to the other side of the patch with these creatively delicious pumpkin churros. They’re crisp on the outside, with a tender-moist interior, and loaded flavor to welcome you to fall.

Besides being pumpkin-infused, another twist is that this usually fried pastry is baked, meaning you can eat more.

Churros are made from pate a choux, a light pastry dough that is also used to make cream puffs, eclairs, French crullers and more.

They’re served warm, after being rolled in a traditional cinnamon-sugar mixture that I kicked up with some pumpkin pie spice. And since my decadence knows no bounds, I serve them with a airy caramel cream cheese dip that bathes them in a creamy sweet-tanginess that complements each bite.

If you’d like plain churros, just omit the pumpkin puree and seasonings from the flour and cinnamon-sugar mixture. And to fry them the traditional way, pipe the dough directly into 350 degree oil and cook until golden.

Pumpkin Churros

Adapted from

For the churros:

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter, unsalted

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the coating:

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the caramel cream cheese dip:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

3 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup caramel sauce

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

4 ounces whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stack two baking sheets on top of each other and line top sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. The stacked sheets protect your delicate pastry from burning.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and chili powder.

In a medium saucepan, add water, butter, brown sugar, pumpkin puree and salt. Stir over medium-high heat until butter is melted and mixture starts to boil. As soon as it starts to boil, stir in the flour mixture using a wooden spoon. Turn heat to low and continue to stir dough for about a minute. Mixture will clump and pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, add eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.

Incorporate the egg mixture a bit at a time into your dough and stir vigorously with the wooden spoon. Repeat with each egg mix addition until combined. This process can be tiring and takes patience, and although it may seem like the eggs aren’t mixing with the dough, they slowly are. The dough should be smooth and thick.

Transfer your dough to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. If you don’t have a piping bag, a zip-top bag with the corner snipped can be used.

Pipe 6-inch lines of churro dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly puffed. Turn oven to broiler setting and watch carefully as churros crisp and turn deep golden brown. Remove from oven, immediately roll in sugar mixture and place to cool on wire rack over a baking sheet. Serve warm with caramel cream cheese dip.

While churros are baking, make the coating and dip. For the coating, mix together sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a shallow bowl or large plate. Set aside.

To make the dip, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Then add in the caramel sauce, vanilla and pinch of salt and beat until combined. Fold in the whipped topping until thoroughly incorporated. Cover and chill until serving.

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