A couple weeks back, me and the family stopped for dinner at a little place called “Miller’s Bar” for a little Burger dinner. Overall not too impressive, just the simple old neighborhood dive bar, simple and small menu of burgers and such. Burgers were good, not extraordinary; onion rings and fries very basic, chili probably came from a can. A place to drink and fill the stomach.
There was, however, something at the end of the menu which caught our eye. The one and only dessert on the menu: “Deep Fried PB and J.”
Soon as I saw this, my thoughts revolved around “this would be a great Food Truck dessert;” it’s nostalgic, a little different, heck it’s covered in batter and deep fried. I mean hey, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen something like it at the State Fair; may not be a hand-held, but Street Food it does scream.
As for how it tasted: Crispy fried crust, gooey sugary insides, almost sinful, which is hard to do with a pb n j. The only problem I had was, other than the obviously from-the-bottle chocolate and whipped cream, they had dredged the thing in sugar after frying. And I mean DREDGED it; not that little sprinkle of cinnamon-sweet, this thick crust of tooth-aching sugar.
Despite that, however, I still think it was the highlight of the night, and figured it would be fun to go about trying to re-create. Not to mention it’s a good excuse to fry some things I probably shouldn’t.
So, we start with the batter. Now, what kind of batter do we use when deep frying desserts? Why, Pancake of course!! I ended up using a very simple recipe, but you can always look around for different kinds depending on your taste, buttermilk would be interesting.
1 cup flour
2 Tb Sugar
2 Tb Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Milk
2 Tb Vegetable Oil
- Mix Dry ingredients, make well in center
- Add rest of ingredients in center, mix until integrated; a few small lumps is fine
Now, a little trick I’ve learned with pancakes is, before adding, separate the yolk and white of the egg. Mix the batter like usual with the yolk, and off to the side whip the egg white to soft or stiff peaks (since it’s just one, can do easily by hand). Once done, fold into the Batter, makes it nice and airy/fluffy.
Not actually sure how well this worked with the deep-frying, I still need to fine tune a few things in the transfer, oil, etc (you’ll see). In particular, I think I might have preferred a slightly thinner batter (more milk), helping create the crispy factor when frying. But it’s certainly still good when using the leftover batter for breakfast in the morning.
Batter done, we can now get to the actual sandwich. We start just like any other PB and J, just make sure that one doesn’t spread all the way to the edges of the bread; need to keep it in the center so there’s no leakage. I used strawberry jam, since that’s all I had and I think that’s what they used at the Bar, but if I had the choice Grape is still a favorite. We could stop here, but I just happened to have some Dehydrated Banana chips. So I garnished the Peanut Butter with some of those, as well as a bit of chopped Dates; nice brown-sugar/honey notes that always go well with PB sammiches.
One last step before going to the fry, you need to slice the center out. This can be done however one wants, could press a circle in the middle to make your own “uncrustable,” but for now I just decided to slice the crust off. The reason for this is 2-fold: crust-ends tend to be very loose, leaving a lot of risk for things getting in or falling our while frying. Secondly, the action of cutting helps to press the bread together; this, along with squeezing the edges with your fingers afterwards, will help to seal the sides nicely. Doesn’t have to be perfect.
One can keep this whole, cut into smaller squares or triangles, however. While you’re at it, you can gather any other sweet treats one happen to has on hand, as I did here.
By now, you’ll have of course gotten some oil (vegetable, canola, grapeseed, your preference) in a pan and heated to at least 375F. IDEALLY, you’ll want this to be a deep pan so that you can actually fully submerge your batter-covered goodness. However, I myself did NOT want to go through all that just to fry one sandwich, so I just did a shallow fry; it’ll still work, will just be a different outcome, and the heat won’t be as stable as a larger mass of oil.
Dip your items in the batter. If you have it, lay it over some sort of rack over a pan/paper to let any excess batter drip off, or just hold it above the bowl. I didn’t do any of this, and I ended up getting all this batter which settled on the first side of the sandwich, so I quite literally had a pancake on one side and a crust on the other.
Fry at 375 (I might actually go higher too, say 400, just to ENSURE it fries hard) until golden brown, flipping over and doing the same. Once done, transfer over to a paper-towel lined plate for a few seconds, pat, then move into a bowl of cinnamon-sugar for a quick little toss. Slice, garnish however you want (still have some of those candied walnuts myself, mmmm), and consume.
Now, some of you may be looking at one of my previous pictures and wondering how exactly those brownies and rice krispies turned out in the friar. And some of you… well the rest of you probably don’t care. But for those that do!! The brownie was good, the deep-fried Maple-Walnut fudge square was gooey; spilled a bit during the fry, think it needs a dredge in flour beforehand so more of the batter sticks. And the rice krispies… actually one could barely even tell they were there; really need to use the denser squares for this.
Good luck on your own home-frying! Tell me your results afterwords!
What’s the last deep-fried item you’ve eaten that gave you that feeling of “Ohhhhh this REALLY isn’t good for me, but I’m eating it anyway”? Is there anything you would like to try deep-fried like that?