Every month or so my friend Katy and I get together for Gourmet Club. There aren’t many rules for the club other than we have to cook or bake something we have never tried to make before and it has to be at least somewhat challenging. We have been dreaming about deep frying for weeks and after careful consideration decided to make Pretzel-Crusted Fried Cheese, Fried Pickles and Apple Fritters. I know what you might be thinking and yes, they were worth every last calorie. The easiest was by far the fried pickles, most time consuming was by far the pretzel-crusted cheese and tastiest, the apple fritters, but they were all pretty awesome.
I have two pieces of advice if you decide to try any of these at home:
1. It’s imperative that you use a candy thermometer. Trying to do this without a thermometer will result in your oil being not hot enough or so hot it burns the food. Candy thermometers are cheap, mine was about $5 with a coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond.
2. The odds are you won’t wind up smelling like a McDonalds but just incase I’d wear some machine washable clothes.
Obligatory waiver- we’ve had our DSLR for years but no NOTHING about food photography.
Fried Pickels, we think this may be from Cook’s Country
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 4 whole kosher dill pickles, quartered lengthwise, patted dry with paper towels
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup corn starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (12oz) bottle cold beer
- 3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil (we used vegetable)
Place cornmeal in a shallow dish. Dredge pickle spears in cornmeal and transfer to plate. Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cayenne in large bowl. Slowly whisk in beer until smooth.
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until 350 degrees. Re-whisk butter. Transfer half of pickles to batter. One a time, remove pickles from batter from batter (allowing excess to drip back into bowl) and fry in hot oil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain pickles on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining pickles.
Pretzel-Crusted Fried Cheese from Food Network
- 8 ounces provolone or part-skim mozzarella cheese, cubed (we used mozzarella)
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 4 ounces yellow cheddar cheese, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 8-ounce bag thin pretzel sticks
- Freshly ground pepper
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- Vegetable oil
Pulse the provolone and parmesan in a food processor until the cheese gathers into a ball; transfer to a bowl. Pulse the yellow cheddar and 2 teaspoons flour in the food processor until smooth. Form teaspoonfuls of the yellow cheddar mixture into 12 small balls; roll between your hands until smooth. Transfer to a plate and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.Wipe out the food processor. Add the pretzels and pulse until finely ground with a few chunks; transfer to a shallow dish. Mix the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in another dish. Whisk the eggs and mustard in a third dish.Roll tablespoonfuls of the provolone mixture into 12 balls, then flatten into disks. Put 1 yellow cheddar ball on each disk, then shape the provolone around it, enclosing the cheddar. Roll into an egg shape.Dip the cheese balls in the egg mixture, then dredge in the flour; return to the egg mixture, then roll in the pretzel crumbs, turning to coat. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes and up to 3 hours to set the coating.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 1/2 inch peanut oil in a saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360 degrees F. Fry the cheese balls in batches, turning, until golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a rack set in a baking dish. Bake until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Apple Fritters, from Cooks Country
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil (we used vegetable)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup apple cider (we used apple juice)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Spread prepared apples in a single layer on paper-towel-lined lined baking sheet and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Whisk cider, eggs, and melted butter in medium bowl until combined. Stir apples into flour mixture. Stir in cider mixture until incorporated.
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Following step 1, use 1/3 cup measure to transfer 5 heaping portions of batter to oil. Press batter lightly with back of spoon to flatten. Fry, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees, until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer fritters to wire rack set inside baking sheet. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining batter. Let fritters cool 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk confectioners’ sugar, cider, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium bowl until smooth. Top each fritter with 1 heaping tablespoon glaze. Let glaze set 10 minutes. Serve.
Grab your fire extinguisher and start frying!