Carnival Foods – Fried Pickles and Funnel Cakes

My June 28 In The Kitchen column was originally intended for their PM Fine Living magazine, but got cut for lack of space (hey, it happens!). So it ran in Friday’s Lifestyle section instead, but without two of the recipes I’d included (check out the link while it’s free for the article with recipes for corn dogs and cotton candy). Here are the missing recipes, for those  of you who just can’t resist bringing a touch of the carnival midway into your summer kitchen.


Photo from On a Stick! by Matt Armendariz/Quirk Books, 2011

Photo from On a Stick! by Matt Armendariz,
Quirk Books, 2011

Fried Pickles with Ranch Dressing

Adapted from “On a Stick!” by Matt Armendariz, Quirk Books (2011)

8 servings

8 sturdy wooden cocktail picks or short skewers

1 quart vegetable oil

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 eggs

2 tablespoon buttermilk

1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced

1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs

8 gherkins

8 cocktail onions

8 pickle chips

Salt and pepper

1 cup store-bought ranch dressing, for dipping

Slowly preheat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, mix flour and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, and dill. Place bread crumbs in a second shallow dish.

Thread 1 gherkin, 1 cocktail onion, and 1 pickle chip on each cocktail pick. Once oil reaches 350 degrees, toss picks in flour mixture, shaking off excess; dip in egg and then dredge in bread crumbs until fully coated.

Drop picks gently into oil and fry 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with ranch dressing.

Funnel Cakes

Adapted from

Makes 4 12-inch cakes

Tip: If you make more than 4 cakes or wish to make the batter up to an hour in advance, increase the amount of baking powder by 1 teaspoon to help give it lift during its long wait before frying

4 large eggs 2 2/3 cups milk 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar 5 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oil in an electric deep fryer or cast iron pan to 375 degrees. You will need at least an inch and a half of oil. (An electric fryer recovers its heat quicker and keeps smell and heat out of the house.) Line plates with paper towels, as the process will go fast once you start.

Mix eggs and milk together with a wire whisk or fork until combined. Stir in other ingredients until batter is smooth.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, or use an actual funnel, or zip lock bag with corner snipped off.  Squeeze batter into oil in a random, yet overlapping pattern. (Overlapping batter helps it stick together when it’s time to flip.) Once it’s floating and golden brown (usually 60 seconds), flip using tongs, allowing the other side to cook.

Continue cooking until desired color is achieved and remove from grease and drain on paper towel lined plate. Apply powdered sugar liberally to the top, add fruit toppings if desired.



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