Yes, one week after we made fun of the propensity of the American people to fry anything, here we are deep-frying in two consecutive postings. I blame Nathan! He revealed his deep desire to try making funnel cakes for the 4th of July and I couldn’t say no. I did make him promise that we wouldn’t deep fry anything for the next three months…our frying quota has not only been met but exceeded.
That being said, I love making foods that I previously thought could only be procured in venues outside of the home kitchen. Enter the funnel cake…a confection that is normally eaten at fairs, festivals, carnivals, and the like. Since Nathan and I avoid crowds like the plague we are never the couple that you’ll run into in one of these environments and therefore have never eaten funnel cake together during the course of our courtship and marriage…a crying shame, I know!
However, we learned this week that you can make a fried, puffy cake of goodness without setting foot outside of your abode…AND that it tastes just as great as what you remember getting at the county fair. The only drawback that we discovered is that it may not come out looking like the traditional funnel cake since piping dough into burning hot oil is an acquired skill. Nathan had to make 4 attempts and channel his inner Jackson Pollock to produce a funnel cake that was appropriately spiralled, zigged and zagged. We were both sweating under the pressure of funnel cake-making by the time we were finished…making funnel cake is stressful, yo!
Try this recipe over the 4th of July holiday if you don’t want to brave the crowds and heat of going out to get a funnel cake!
Katryn was too much of a wuss to try and pair a wine with carnival fare (see what I did there?) so I took it upon myself to give a beer a shot. Since I equate funnel cakes with fairs and fairs with 4th of July I had to, at the very least, get an American Beer. Goose Island is a brewery out of Chicago and their Summertime beer sounded like it would hit the spot in the 100 degree weather we’ve been having around here. While this Kolsch style beer is certainly super light and easy to drink there was a disappointing lack of flavor and dimension. It may be a decent representation of an American Kolsch but for $8.99 a six pack there are other beers that would either be cheaper for the same taste or ones at the same price with more bang-for-the-buck.
Funnel Cakes for Two:
¾ cup milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup sugar
Scant ½ teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil, enough
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
Sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture, and beat with a mixer until smooth. The consistency should be thin enough to run through a small kitchen funnel (we actually used a plastic Ziploc baggie with a hole cut in one corner.) Test it, and if it is too thick beat in a little more milk; if too thin, beat in a bit more flour.
In a heavy eight inch skillet, heat about 1 ½ inches of oil to 360 degrees F (182 degrees C).
Put your finger over the bottom opening of the funnel, and fill the funnel with a generous ½ cup of the batter. Hold the funnel close to the surface of the oil, and release the batter into the oil while making a circular motion. Fry until golden brown (only about a minute or so…they’re done quick!) Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with sifted confectioners’ sugar.