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Funnel Cakes: The World’s Most Complicated Doughnuts

TIMES FOOD MANAGING EDITOR

A few hundred years ago, members of many German Protestant sects settled in the religiously tolerant colony founded by William Penn. Although they did not come from the Netherlands, today some of their descendants are known as the Pennsylvania Dutch (prior to the consolidation of Germany in the 19th Century, Germans as well as Hollanders were referred to as Dutch).

The country-style foods of these people are hearty and reflect their German heritage--shoofly pie, golden homemade noodles, sauerkraut and pork. Another specialty, funnel cakes, may be served as a snack or teamed with sausage for breakfast or brunch.

Prepare the waffle-like batter in a blender or with a rotary beater while the oil is heating in a deep fryer or saucepan six to eight inches in diameter. Cover the bottom opening of the funnel with a finger and fill it with one-quarter cup batter (Step 1).

Holding the funnel over the hot oil, remove your finger and release the batter in a thin stream (Step 2). Beginning at the center, move the funnel in a circular motion to form a spiral.

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Fry the cake until golden brown on the underside, then turn carefully with a wide spatula (Step 3) and cook it until the second side is browned. Remove the funnel cake and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (Step 4) and serve warm with maple syrup.

FUNNEL CAKES

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

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2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Oil for deep frying

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Powdered sugar

Maple syrup, optional

Combine eggs, milk, flour, baking powder and salt in blender container. Process until smooth, scraping down sides of container if necessary.

Heat oil in deep-fat fryer according to manufacturer’s directions or pour at least 3 inches deep into 6- to 8-inch-diameter saucepan and heat to 375 degrees. Cover bottom opening of funnel with finger and fill with 1/4 cup batter.

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Hold funnel over hot oil, remove finger and release batter in thin stream. Beginning at center, move funnel in circular motion to form spiral. Fry until golden brown on underside, then turn carefully with wide spatula and cook until second side is browned.

Remove funnel cake and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Repeat procedure with remaining batter. Serve cakes warm with maple syrup.

Note: You can also prepare batter by beating eggs and milk in mixing bowl. Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to egg mixture, beating until smooth with rotary beater.


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