While on vacation, funnel cakes kept appearing on menus at different eateries and I would nod in approval. “Funnel cakes are a medieval dessert” I’d think to myself, certain that was fact.
But I’d never researched funnel cakes. So I dig.
According to Wikipedia, Funnel cakes are a fritter made from a yeast dough that is poured into hot oil through a funnel and fried. The funnelling of the dough into the oil gives it a lace, or wiggly pattern.
I found a few recipes that recipe a ‘renneng’ or runny batter, some with yeast, some with egg. A few recipes pour the batter out through a hole in a bowl or drip the batter through fingers. Batter has to be thick enough to stick together, but runny enough to flow through fingers or funnel. This is a deep fry, not a shallow pan fry.
Large and small crisps. Cook the large crisps in some hot lard in a syrup pot or brass casserole. Make them from egg whites and fine flour beaten together. It should not be too thick. Have a deep wooden bowl, put some batter in the bowl, and shake the hand inside the pan above the hot lard. Keep them from browning too much. Le Viandier de Taillevent (1380)
Take flour of payndemayn & medle hit with whyte grece over the fyre in a chawfour. and do the batour ther to queyntlych thorow thy fyngours or thorowe a skymmour. & let hit a lytul quayle so that ther be hooles therinne. and yf thou wolt: colour hit with alkenet foundyt. take hem up and cast ther on sugour. Fourme of Curye (1390)
FOR TO MAKE CRYPPYS. Nym flour and wytys of eyryn sugur other hony and sweyng togedere and mak a batour nym wyte grees and do yt in a posnet and cast the batur thereyn and stury to thou have many and tak hem up and messe hem wyth the frutours and serve forthe. Forme of Cury (1390)
CREPES. Take flour and mix with eggs both yolks and whites, but throw out the germ, and moisten with water, and add salt and wine, and beat together for a long time: then put some oil on the fire in a small iron skillet, or half oil and half fresh butter, and make it sizzle; and then have a bowl pierced with a hole about the size of your little finger, and then put some of the batter in the bowl beginning in the middle, and let it run out all around the pan; then put on a plate, and sprinkle powdered sugar on it. And let the iron or brass skillet hold three chopines, and the sides be half a finger tall, and let it be as broad at the bottom as at the top, neither more nor less; and for a reason. Le Menagier de Paris (1393)
Cryspe. Takew of eyroun, Mmylke, and floure, and a lytel berme, and bete it to-gederys, and draw it thorw a straynoure, so that it be renneng, and not to styf, and caste Sugre ther-to, and Salt; thanne take a chafer ful of freysshe grece boyling, and put thin hond in the Bature, and lat thin bature renne dowun by thin fyngerys in-to the chafere; and whan it is ronne to-gedere on the chafere, and is y-now, take and nym a skymer, and take it vp, and lat al the grece renne owt, and put it on a fayre dyssche, and cast ther-on Sugre y-now, and serue forth. Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse (1430)
*Lard for frying
* whites of 3 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1.5 cups of milk
* 2 cups of fine white flour
* pinch of salt
*1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
* optional: honey, red wine, red dye,
- Heat lard on medium high. It should be heated in a deep pot so that there is a depth of 1.5-3 inches of fat.
- Mix eggs, milk, flour, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar together very well. Run mixture through strainer to smooth out any lumps. If batter is too thick to run through strainer add one of the optional ingredients or a little more milk.
- Slowly drizzle dough, criss-crossing on itself, 1/2 cup of mixture at a time. If batter spreads out like noodles instead of clumping like fritters add more flour. Fry until fritter is brown, one at a time. Approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Sprinkle sugar on each hot fritter then serve.