French crullers are made with pate a choux, giving them a lighter-than-air quality, similar to a Spanish churro. We top ours with a bright pomegranate glaze, marrying sweet and tart flavors with the guilty pleasure of fried dough.
a piping bag with a wide star tip; deep-frying thermometer
For the pate a choux: Combine the milk, butter, salt, sugar and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that the butter melts completely, until the liquid begins to simmer. Add the flour and cook, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until the mixture comes together to form an even dough. Continue to cook, stirring, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides as you stir and leaves a film or thin residue on the bottom and sides of the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Slowly mix the dough until it cools to room temperature, about 3 minutes. When the dough has cooled, add the egg white and whole eggs one at a time, mixing well on medium speed. Scrape down the sides after each egg. After the last egg is added, scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed until the dough is smooth, thick and glossy, about 3 minutes. Scoop the dough into a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
Meanwhile, add enough canola oil to a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot so it comes 2 inches up the sides of the pot. Heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees F.
Cut 3-inch squares out of parchment paper and pipe an even circle of dough onto each square, making sure the ends meet. Gently place the choux one by one into the oil upside down and remove the paper with tongs. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on cooling racks or paper towels.
For the pomegranate glaze: Add the pomegranate juice, granulated sugar and lemon juice to a saucepot over low heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the syrup is thickened, reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon, 30 to 40 minutes.
Mix the confectioners' sugar, egg white and 3 tablespoons of the pomegranate mixture in a medium bowl. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is completely dissolved. If the glaze is too runny, add a bit more confectioners' sugar; if it's too thick, add a tiny bit of evaporated milk. Reserve the rest of the pomegranate mixture for another use.
Dip the tops of the crullers into the glaze, top with pomegranate seeds and let dry for 5 minutes before serving.
The structure of the dough can be tested by pinching the dough between your index finger and thumb; a strand of dough should pull and hold between your fingers when you pull them away from each other.