After much talk, we decided it was time to put the deep fryer through its paces. KS and T very kindly gave me some ripe-for-frying confectionery for my birthday. It would be rude to leave them as they were.
So, first things first, whither batter? We wanted something with a bit of bite, but nothing too solid – Oreos provide plenty enough calories thanks very much. A little bit of internet searching led to the time-honoured state fair classic, the funnel cake. Sadly, we don’t have state fairs in the UK, or back home. We have fairs, but most of them only serve soft serve, hot chips and corn dogs of questionable parentage. We used the following recipe (http://thehistorykitchen.com/2013/06/06/funnel-cakes-history-recipe/):
- Lard or oil for frying (I used grapeseed oil; peanut oil would also work well)
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 quart (4 cups) milk, lukewarm
- 4 cups (500g) sifted flour, more or less
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
This being our first proper play, some trial and error was required. We tried the following with plain batter:
30 seconds, flip, 30 seconds, out – too soft
60 seconds, flip, 60 seconds, out – second side crispy, first side too soft
90 seconds, flip, 60 seconds, out – still soft first side
60 seconds, flip, 60 seconds, flip, 30 seconds, out – crisp both sides
Our preferred frying length determined, it was on to the Oreos. KS’ chopstick skills came in very handy here.
Our first effort was tasty, but a little soggy. It probably spent too long in the batter while we tried to get a decent coating. It was at this point that we realised we needed a slightly thicker batter. Not too much, but enough to give us a little more coverage. Still, we pressed on.
The verdict? Win. You can only eat a couple (my tolerance for the super-sweet only goes so far), but they certainly hit the deep-fried dessert spot.
While we were at it, we felt like we couldn’t go without at least trying that Scottish delicacy: the deep fried Mars bar. I’ve had one of these fro a chippie, and I wasn’t impressed, but I figured there was hope. I was right. This was a pretty basic job, an afterthought, but it turned out okay.
Having said that, we did have some problems. We cut the chocolate bar into four, to increase batter coverage (and because we knew more than 1/4 of a bar would be too much. Rookie error – small cubes turn into spheres when you coat them in batter and deep fry them. Spheres that don’t like to stay flipped. We ended with 3/4s of the treat nice and crispy, with the other area mostly uncooked. Despite this teething problem, two of the chocolatey comestibles were brilliant: Little chocolate leakage, intact layers of caramel and nougat, and a nice crispy shell. One was more than enough, but I can definitely recommend it as a one off. I also recommend going for a big run beforehand. Because, calories.