In consolation for missing all the summer fairs this year, we’ve been DIY-ing some of our favorite fair foods. Last week, we made a giant pile of chili cheese fries. Now we’re back with funnel cakes: beautiful, golden brown nests of fried dough, dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with sweet strawberry sauce, and topped with dollops of whipped cream.
Funnel cake is basically donut batter that’s dropped in sizzling hot oil in a thin, steady stream — so, it’s all crispy, crunchy, fritter-y edge. The pros pour the batter through a funnel or a funnel pitcher (Google that!); in the test kitchen, we use a plain old metal serving spoon and a swirly, circular wrist motion to get the classic zigzaggy pattern. It helps to begin with a smaller circle of dough, say six inches, and then work inward, layering the strands of fried dough on top of each other to build a tasty, tasty nest.
When we handed our test kitchen pals plates of fully loaded funnel cake, they all demurred, oh no, they couldn’t possibly eat a whole one. But, oh yes, they did. The cakes were golden brown and very crispy. They had a light, crunchy texture and warm, vanilla-brown sugar flavor that tasted amazing with all that pillowy, sweet whipped cream and fresh strawberry sauce.
Of course, funnel cakes are meant to be inhaled in the center of a giant crowd with fun house music blasting, but they’re a super fun project to make at home — and, clearly, just as special and delicious. And the best part? You don’t have to wait until next year to eat them again.
For the strawberry sauce:
1 lb strawberries, hulled and sliced
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp water
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the funnel cake:
2 large Gelson’s eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting
To make the strawberry sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until fully combined, making a slurry.
Add the slurry to the strawberries and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, simmer for 5 minutes, and set aside to cool.
To make the whipped cream: In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and whip until soft peaks form. Set aside.
To make the funnel cake: In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and brown sugar, and whisk to combine.
In a separate small bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Add 4” inches of oil to a medium, heavy-bottomed pot with tall sides and, using a candy thermometer, heat it to 375° over medium-high heat.
Measure out a scant ½ cup of batter. Using a large metal spoon and holding it just above the oil, slowly drizzle the batter into the oil in a spiral motion.
Fry the batter for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Repeat steps 9 to 10 with the remaining batter.
Top the funnel cakes with powdered sugar, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream. Serve warm.
Recipe adapted from: Copykat