Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice!

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Fried Pie Lady
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2012/05/23 21:22:10 (permalink)

Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice!

I've ran a fried pie shop out of a concession trailer for a few years now and due to popular demand I'm starting to sell funnel cakes but I'm having problems. I've got an 8" steel funnel cake ring and a big cast iron fryer with peanut oil about 5" deep, heated by a propane fire beneath it. I fry my pies at 370 degrees and that seems fine for funnel cakes, but when I pour in the batter it doesn't come together like I think it should and it's difficult to turn them over without losing integrity. Do you think I'm not pouring in enough batter or what? I'm using more than the "makes five funnel cakes per pound" claim on the package (It comes out to about three per pound of mix) and yet I'm getting a lot of free-swimming "crunchies" but the whole thing isn't coming together. Anyone have a special technique that they use that could help me out? Thanks!
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    THE WILD DOG
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/23 22:15:05 (permalink)
    they make funnel cake molds with handles on them so they can stick together until you can turn them over, OR you can use squeeze bottles, I've only seen the squeeze bottles in use though. ( get them anywhere )
    #2
    mikejames533
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/23 23:16:33 (permalink)
    What are you using to pour the batter? We used a metal pitcher with a pour spout kinda like a old coffee pot. Anyway you maybe  pouring to slow. Try to speed your pour a bit and see if that helps. Like everything else practice practice practice to perfect.
    #3
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/23 23:41:46 (permalink)
    And the already mentioned squeeze bottles are great to fill in the holes that you'll get until you get your batter consistency and pour rate down to a science. I love F.C.s
    #4
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 00:26:18 (permalink)
    Okay - I'll try the squeeze bottle thing. My concern is that they don't really hold a lot more than one funnel cake's worth of batter. I tried using this:  but the hole was too small and you can't squeeze it. So today I just cut a hole in a zip-loc bag, since I didn't have anything else. It poured *very* quickly, so I don't know that speed was the issue. It's apparently a lot more tricky than I thought it would be! Or perhaps I'm just particularly inept. I didn't buy a funnel cake pitcher like this:  because I thought it looked difficult to clean. Also, it can't be sealed. I won't be making them every other minute, unlike at an event, so I thought it would be best if I had something with a cover. I was keeping the batter in the fridge. Do you think the batter being cold had something to do with my problems? Do other people have issues with crunchies or cohesion? I do have a ring with a handle but maybe I'm taking it away too soon? I'd love to learn from others' mistakes instead of having to invent my own! LOL!
    #5
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 00:34:59 (permalink)
    Speaking of inventions...some guy invented a funnel cake batter dispenser...

    http://www.funnelcakedispenser.com/

    Marone! It pays to be inventive.
    #6
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 00:57:21 (permalink)
    Fried Pie Lady Okay - I'll try the squeeze bottle thing. My concern is that they don't really hold a lot more than one funnel cake's worth of batter.

     
    I mentioned the squeeze bottle only as a way to fill in the voids. I have only made them at an event and we had enough traffic that the batter never got put away. And always remember if you want to know how to do anything go to a video.
     
    Like this go to Goggle 
    and type in:
    How to make the perfect funnel cake video.
    Or go to Google,
    and type in.
    how to/do/make ________________ video.
    #7
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 01:11:46 (permalink)
    Holy cow on the funnel cake dispenser! I could never sell enough funnel cakes to make that profitable (there are only 20,000 people in our entire county!) but it's way cool! I would make at the most 20 funnel cakes in a day, so that means I need to put the batter in the fridge, right? Or should it sit out so it's warm? I'm thinking maybe a plastic pitcher with a medium-sized hole? Or are the pitchers designed specifically for funnel cakes easier to clean than I think?
    #8
    Foodbme
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 04:51:26 (permalink)
    Google:
    how to make a perfect funnel cake
    you'll get a bunch of videos that show different techniques like this one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xyplVdOGoI&feature=related
    or
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4sUt9ErZH4&feature=related
     
    #9
    Foodbme
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 04:59:47 (permalink)
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    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 08:53:10 (permalink)
    Fried Pie Lady I'm thinking maybe a plastic pitcher with a medium-sized hole? Or are the pitchers designed specifically for funnel cakes easier to clean than I think?

     
    How hard could it be to wash a pitcher?
    #11
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 10:47:46 (permalink)
    It's the narrow "mouth" that I was thinking would present difficulties, but mostly it was the fact that it wasn't a sealed unit but an open design that gave me pause.
    #12
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/24 10:48:25 (permalink)
    What are you using to flip?

    Two chopsticks or long knitting needles makes flipping quick and easy.
    #13
    lornaschinske
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/25 16:29:42 (permalink)
    Why don't you PM Fried Tater. He does funnel cakes. At least he did them at the event David  was helping him at  the beginning of the month and I think he's doing them again this weekend as well.
    #14
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/25 21:22:16 (permalink)
    The chopsticks idea is a great one! I'm really trying to do this but the little bits and pieces are fouling my oil to the point where little black bits are getting on the fried pies. I'll try PMing Fried Tater and see if he has any ideas. Thanks for the recommendation!
    #15
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/25 21:27:52 (permalink)
    Good luck Fried PIe Lady!!

    We really do not have many funnel cakes in the neighborhood....since <<<Hoboken>>> is the zeppole capital of the universe!! Then there are the cannolis!

    I would love to see some fried pies!!

    #16
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/25 21:29:18 (permalink)
    Apparently Fried Tater chooses not to receive PMs. Any other folks you can think of?
    #17
    Foodbme
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 04:33:27 (permalink)
    Fried Pie Lady
    The chopsticks idea is a great one! I'm really trying to do this but the little bits and pieces are fouling my oil to the point where little black bits are getting on the fried pies. I'll try PMing Fried Tater and see if he has any ideas. Thanks for the recommendation!

    IF YOU'D WATCH THE VIDEOS SUGGESTED You'd see that others simply use a skimmer to take the little black bits out of the oil. DUH!
    #18
    CCinNJ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 13:25:48 (permalink)
    From what I have read it says that if the batter is scattering...you may be working too far away from the surface of the oil.
    #19
    lornaschinske
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 17:29:55 (permalink)
    Fried Pie Lady

    Apparently Fried Tater chooses not to receive PMs. Any other folks you can think of?
    I wouldn't know about that. We just either e-mail him direct or call him. Today we are talking to him in person. It's not rocket science. Google "funnel cake" on the internet. The way I have always seen them cooked was  hot oil, a ring, funnel with the 1/2" opening and they always flipped it with a regular pair of tongs and removed with the same tongs when done.. Look up most any funnel cake recipe and it will tell you the temps (at sea level) you need to fry at. Of course you do know that you need to adjust cooking temps for high altitude (a rough guide is to lower the frying temperature about 3 degrees F for every increase of 1,000 feet in elevation over 3,000 ft).
     
    a how to on frying funnel cakes
    More funnel cake info with links to the tools needed BTW, I have never seen anyone use a "skimmer" to lift the funnel cakes out. Always a pair of tongs.
     
    Here's a link to a video.
    http://www.blinkx.com/watch-video/concession-stand-frying-away/Zg8dzzcznC6dsm4Oqx3pPg
     
    A funnel cake ring
     
    post edited by lornaschinske - 2012/05/26 17:36:00
    #20
    holdem
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 17:44:28 (permalink)
    What brand of mix are you using. We do funnel cakes. The directions on the mix we use is way off on the water. It's to runny to hold together. One other thing you might try is waiting to turn the cake only after you start to see a little browning. Not sure on your fryer. If they start out ok and then have a problem later then your fryer may not be able to keep up the demand.
    #21
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 19:06:29 (permalink)
    You're right - it's not rocket science, which is making me feel like a complete idiot.  
    I figured out the first problem I was having - I wasn't using enough batter. But I don't see any websites addressing the issue of refrigerate the batter vs. leave at room temperature, or what's causing all the little brown bits.
    I have a propane flame under the cast-iron, flat-bottomed large oval dutch oven in which I have about 6" of peanut oil. It's able to keep up the heat. Perhaps you're correct, Cheeseburger, that the batter's too runny. I was using the Gold Medal Funnel Cake mix but I'd like to make my own from now on.
    The best results I've had while pouring is to put it into an actual funnel with one finger plugging the hole (and thanks to Sirloin and Double Chili Cheeseburgers for the videos -they helped). Filet Mignon - I think you may be right about me being too far away from the oil but I was basing it on the videos and even when I was pouring right next to the surface of the oil it still gave me a ton of little loose strings of batter that floated off.
    Sirloin, you may be right that I'm ignorant about this stuff. I watched the videos and honestly didn't see anyone skimming, at least to the point that I'm having to skim. Seriously, I'm having to spend at least five minutes trying to get the crud out of the oil with a very good, very fine-meshed skimmer. 
    And Filet Mignon - if you're ever in the Ozarks please stop by and I'd be happy to fill you up with some fabulous fried pies. I make 'em better than anyone else (according to my customers), which is why I'm feeling frustrated that something as relatively simple as a funnel cake is kicking my behind!
    So I'll try thickening the batter and make sure to hold it close to the surface while pouring. If anyone hears about whether or not to refrigerate the batter or if that's what's causing my issues, please let me know. Meanwhile, I really appreciate your advice and links. You're all that's keeping me from giving up in disgust.
    #22
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 19:36:18 (permalink)

    Fried Pie Lady is your Screen Name. Junior burger is your status

    Holdem is his screen name. Cheeseburger is his status

    Lornaschinske is her name Double Chili Cheeseburger is her status
    post edited by Dr of BBQ - 2012/05/26 19:46:19
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    CCinNJ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 19:42:39 (permalink)
    Hang on Pie Lady. It will get figured out.

    You may have to try a scratch recipe to see if it's the batter...because you don't want what will eventually turn into black dust all over the pies.
    #24
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 19:55:48 (permalink)
    Dr of BBQ

    Fried Pie Lady is your Screen Name. Junior burger is your status

    Holdem is his screen name. Cheeseburger is his status

    Lornaschinske is her name Double Chili Cheeseburger is her status

     
    Okay. Now I'm embarrassed!  My only excuse is that I've been working like a dog for the last week. Making good money but I'm exhausted. Please forgive my faux pas.
    #25
    Dr of BBQ
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 20:00:16 (permalink)
    Fried Pie Lady
    Dr of BBQ

    Fried Pie Lady is your Screen Name. Junior burger is your status

    Holdem is his screen name. Cheeseburger is his status

    Lornaschinske is her name Double Chili Cheeseburger is her status

    Okay. Now I'm embarrassed!  My only excuse is that I've been working like a dog for the last week. Making good money but I'm exhausted. Please forgive my faux pas.

     
    No big deal I have done worse. And I understand exhausted I have been busy as hell all week also and I'm also worn out. So there is no need to be embarrassed.
    good luck
    jack
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    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 20:00:27 (permalink)
    CCinNJ

    Hang on Pie Lady. It will get figured out.

    You may have to try a scratch recipe to see if it's the batter...because you don't want what will eventually turn into black dust all over the pies.

     
    That's exactly right. I'm not willing to ruin my livelihood just to make funnel cakes. I've looked everywhere around the internet and I'm simply not finding that other people are having the same difficulty. And some people are saying "batter should be thick" while others say "batter should be thin". It's frustrating. Some videos show them holding the batter a good foot away from the oil while others are pouring from less then two inches. I really hate that this is making me so crazy but I operate on such a shoestring budget that I don't want to make mistakes that other people have already figured out solutions to.
    #27
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/26 20:02:30 (permalink)
    Dr of BBQ

    Fried Pie Lady
    Dr of BBQ

    Fried Pie Lady is your Screen Name. Junior burger is your status

    Holdem is his screen name. Cheeseburger is his status

    Lornaschinske is her name Double Chili Cheeseburger is her status

    Okay. Now I'm embarrassed!  My only excuse is that I've been working like a dog for the last week. Making good money but I'm exhausted. Please forgive my faux pas.


    No big deal I have done worse. And I understand exhausted I have been busy as hell all week also and I'm also worn out. So there is no need to be embarrassed.
    good luck
    jack

    Thanks, Jack! I'm still blushing but at least my week is over (closed Sundays) and I can sit here on the couch with my feet up and with luck I won't look like such a fool in future postings.
    #28
    mikejames533
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/27 07:29:12 (permalink)
     Never refrigerate the batter. Always room temp.  Also we fry at 375 degree's if that helps...You'll get it perfected, don't give up.
     
    Mike
    #29
    Fried Pie Lady
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    Re:Funnel cake difficulties - please give me advice! 2012/05/27 11:25:38 (permalink)
    Aha! Thanks, Mike! That may be the hint that I've been looking for! I wasn't sure if it could go "bad" so I've been keeping it in the fridge. Next week I'll try it room temp only.
    #30
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