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Funnel-Cakes-art - 7/15/12


"Yes, Funnel Cakes are Period!!!" by HL Alianora de Olmondiers.


NOTE: See also these files: fried-breads-msg, Ital-Fnl-Caks-art, jumbals-msg, Litle-Morsels-art, oatcakes-msg, pretzels-msg, wafers-msg, Bagels-art, bagels-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


Thank you,

Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



This article was first published in "The Clarion" in 2012.


Yes, Funnel Cakes are Period!!!

by HL Alianora de Olmondiers


In preparation for the Barony of Forgotten Sea's Funnel Cake Fundraiser at The War of the Lilies I did a little research into Funnel Cake recipe and redactions. I have had requests for more information about the origins of Funnel Cakes, so here we go! J


We had a taste test at our local fighter practice and found that the modern day recipe and the period recipe redaction from Cindy Renfrow's book Take a 1000 Eggs or More really were that different. There was no shortage of folks ready to help out with the little experiment and populace in attendance were about split in half on which recipe they liked better. Both versions were tasty and smelled wonderful when frying in the oil. The only real difference that was noted in the populace that evening was that of texture. The period redaction offered in Ms. Renfrow's book was a bit chewier. I'm assuming the difference in texture occurred due to the different methods used for leavening. The redaction used egg whites and the Country Fair Style Funnel Cakes utilized baking powder for leavening.


It was decided to utilize a version of Ms. Renfrow's redaction. The reason I say a version of it is because I found the batter a bit thick and added more milk to it to create a smoother running batter. I added milk until I could pour the batter easily with about a #2 pencil size stream. I didn't measure the difference I just added it until it looked right. It was about the consistency of a thin pancake batter.


It was so much fun making them I'm thinking I might have to experiment a little more and try other some of the other versions of Funnel Cakes that I have found so far. The Le Menagier de Paris version is different in that it include whole eggs and wine.


The information found in An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th century appears to be a variation of another bread utilizing sourdough yeast starter, fried in sesame oil, and finished off by coating it in a syrup or honey.


Funnel Cakes and similar fried breads are found in several cultures throughout history. In fact there are several examples later in this article. I also seem to remember reading a possible Norse version somewhere and now I can't remember where, sigh. With this in mind, and with the knowledge of similar recipes such as Finnish tippaleipa, Indian jabeli, and Chinese you bing and you tiao floating around in cyberspace, I would love to hear more about funnel cakes and funnel cake type breads information that folks could steer me towards. As well as possible translations or redactions that they may be aware of. I'm sure I'd find some taste testers somewhere.


In the meantime, try out one of the recipes listed below and enjoy the fun that is simply...Funnel Cakes.



Period Funnel Cakes from Take 1000 Eggs or More by Cindy Renfrow ISBN 0-9628598-1-8


redaction from Two 15th century Cookbooks Harleian MS.279 – Leche Vyaundes and Harleian MS. 4016


Translation in book: 115 Cryspes- Fritters. Take white of eggs, milk and fine flour, and beat it together, and draw it through a strainer, so that it is running, and not too stiff; and cast thereto sugar and salt. And then take a chauffer full of fresh grease boiling; and then put thy hand in the batter and let the batter run through thy fingers into the chauffer; and when it is run together in the chauffer, and is enough, take a skimmer, and take it out of the chauffer, and put out all; the grease, and let run; and put it in a fair dish, and cast sugar thereon enough, and serve it forth.


Variation 1:


1 cup flour


2 egg whites plus enough milk to make 2/3 cup liquid (when Alianora utilizes this recipe I add more milk by sight to create a smoother running batter. I added milk until I could pour the batter easily with about a #2 pencil size stream, when making several funnel cakes I also find it very handy to pour the batter from a watering can like the ones you  use to water flower pots, it has a nice long handle to help you keep from getting burnt by grease too.)


2 Tablespoons sugar


dash salt




powdered sugar


Beat together flour, egg whites, milk, sugar and salt. Heat oil to 37r degrees F. in a large frying pan or deep fryer. Using your fingers or a funnel, drizzle the batter very quickly into the hot oil. Cook for 30 seconds. Flip the fritter and cook 30 second more, or until golden. Remove from oil and drain. Top with powdered sugar and serve warm.


Variation 2:


Use egg whites and enough milk and ale to make 2/3 cup liquid.


County Fair Style Funnel Cake (http://www.momswhothink.com/cake-recipes/funnel-cake-recipe.html">http://www.momswhothink.com/cake-recipes/funnel-cake-recipe.html)


1 egg
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp. sugar

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder




1. In a deep skillet, heat about two cups of oil over medium-high heat until hot. Test the temperature by dropping a pinch of flour into the hot oil. If it sizzles right away without smoking, it's perfect.


2. Beat egg and milk. Mix all other ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to the egg mixture, beating until smooth.


3. Using a funnel, drop into hot oil working from center outwards in a web pattern. (You can use a gallon sized freezer bag instead of a funnel by pouring the batter into the bag, snipping off a small corner of it, and squeezing the batter into the oil.)


4. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, remove from the oil when golden brown and crispy.


5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve





See Below for more reference to funnel cakes in the Middle Ages and where to find them! J


Online Copy of Forme of Cury available at http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/foc/FoC114small.html


From the http://cunnan.sca.org.au/wiki/Forme_of_Cury" title="Forme of Cury">Forme of Cury.




Take flour of pandemayn and medle it with white grece ouer the fyrer in a chawfour and do the batour þerto queyntlich þurgh þy fyngours. or thurgh a skymour. and lat it a litul quayle a litell so þe þer be hool þerinne. And if þer wilt colour it wiþ alkenet yfoundyt. take hem up & cast þerinne sugur, and serue hemforth.



From the http://cunnan.sca.org.au/wiki/Forme_of_Cury" title="Forme of Cury">Forme of Cury.




Take and make a foile of gode Past as thynne as Paper. kerue it out & fry it in oile. oþer in þe grece and þe remnaunt, take hony clarified and flaunne þerwith, alye hem up and serue hem forth.


Translation  http://cunnan.sca.org.au/wiki/Cryspels_(recipe)


(tentative) Take and make a leaf of good pastry as thin as paper. Kerue it out and fry it in oil. Other in greece and as for the remnant, take honey clarified and custard therewith, alye them up and serve them forth.



Two 15th Century Cookbooks


Take white of eyroun, milk, and flour, and a little berme, and beat it together, and draw it through a strainer, so that it be running, and not too stiff, and cast suger thereto, and salt; then take a chafer full of fresh grease boiling, and put thine hand in the batter, and let thine batter run down by thy fingers into the chafer; and when it is run together on the chafer, and is enough, take and nym a skimmer, and take it up, and let all the grease run out, and put it on a fair dish, and cast thereon sugar enough, and serve forth.


Translation in book Take 1000 Eggs or More by Cindy Renfrow


: 115 Cryspes- Fritters. Take white of eggs, milk and fine flour, and beat it together,and draw it through a strainer, so that it is running, and not too stiff;and cast thereto sugar and salt. And then take a chauffer full of fresh grease boiling; and then put thy hand in the batter and let the batter run through thy fingers into the chauffer; and when it is run together in the chauffer, and is enough, take a skimmer, and take it out of the chauffer, and put out all; the grease, and let run; and put it in a fair dish, and cast sugar thereon enough, and serve it forth.


Ancient Cookery (contained in form of Cury) view online copy at http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/foc/FoC140small.html


For to make cryppys


Nym flour and wytys of eyren sugar other honey and sweyng togeder, and make a batour. Nym white greece and do it in a posnet and cast the batour thereyn and stury to thou have many, and take them up and messe hem with the frutours ans serve forthe.


From Le Menagier de Paris translated by Janet Hinson online translation available at http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Menagier/Menagier.html


CREPES IN TOURNAY STYLE. First, you must have the use of a brass skillet holding a quart, of which the top is no wider than the bottom, even by a very little, and the edges should be three or four fingers tall and half a finger thick. Item, you need to have salted butter, melted, skimmed and cleaned, and then turned into another skillet, and leave all the salt and fresh oil as clean in one as in the other. Then take eggs and fry them, and take the whites out of half of them, and the remains of these are beaten with all the whites and yolks, then take a third or a fourth of warm white wine, and mix it all together: then take the best wheat flour you can get, and then beat together enough at a time, for one or two people, and your batter should be neither clear nor thick, but such that it will flow gently through a hole as big as your little finger; then put your butter and your oil on the fire together, as much of one as of the other, until it boils, then take your batter and fill a bowl or a large pierced wooden spoon, and pour it into your grease, first into the middle of the skillet, then circling until your skillet is full; and keep beating your batter without stopping, to make more crepes. And this crepe which is in the pan should be lifted with a fork or a skewer, and turned over to cook, then take it out, put it on a plate, and start another; and keep stirring and beating the batter without stopping.



Mincebek [or, funnel cakes] - This is an article from http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/miscellany.html">Cariadoc's Miscellany. The Miscellany is Copyright (c) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook


Anglo-Norman no. 4 p. 863 (Elizabeth's translation, guided by the Hieatt and Jones translation) from Constance B. Hieatt and Robin F. Jones, Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections Edited from British Library Manuscripts Additional 32085 amd Royal 12.C.xii, Speculum v. 61 n. 4, pp. 859-882, 1986.


And another dish, which has the name mincebek. Take amydon [wheat starch] and grind it in a mortar, and if you do not have this, take fine white flour; and take almond milk or tepid water, and put in it a little yeast or a little sourdough; and then temper it; and take a bowl and make a hole in the middle, and pour the mincebek through the hole into oil or into grease; and then take sugar and make a syrup to boil; and dip[?] the mincebek in it, and put some on top [or, put salt on it]; and then serve them.


1 c white flour 1/4 c sourdough 1/2 c water for syrup

1 c whole wheat flour 2 c sugar oil for frying

2 c water for dough


Mix sourdough and water, stir into the mixed flour, stirring until pretty smooth. Let rise about 7 hours. Heat oil in frying pan. For syrup, bring water to a boil, add sugar and cover. When the sugar is dissolved and the syrup again clear, it is ready. Pour some of batter into a funnel and dribble around into oil at a medium heat, then fry until brown, turning at least once. Each mincebek comes out of the oil onto a paper towel to drain briefly, then is dipped (tongs are useful) into the syrup, then onto the plate to serve.


Das Kuchbuch of Sabina Welserin German (1553) References that could be funnel cakes or something similar to funnel cakes online copy can be found at http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Sabrina_Welserin.html


82   Spritzgebackenes


Then take one third quart of milk and let it boil and take wheat flour,  as if you were making steamed buns, and take six or eight eggs and beat them in one after the other until the dough becomes very soft and put through a pastry bag and fry it slowly.


86   If you would bake good fried Strauben


Then bring water to a boil and pour it on the flour, stir it together well, beat eggs into it and salt it, take a small Strauben funnel, which should have a hole as wide as a finger, and let the batter run through and fry the Strauben. The batter should be warm.


99   To bake white Lautensternchen


        Take flour and pour cold water thereon and salt and make the dough thick and thin it with pure egg whites, until it becomes thin enough. After that take a small Strauben funnel, which should have a very small hole, and take a small pan, and it should run through so that it looks like Lautensternchen and fry them therein.


141   To bake Strauben for a meal


Take six eggs and a little milk with water, salt it, beat it together well and put the flour into it. Do not make it thick, then it is =161   To bake white Strauben


Take egg whites, well beaten, and some wheat flour, make a thin batter out of it, and let it run through a skimming ladle. Turn the Strauben at once in the fat. Wind them around a rolling pin, then they become curved.


162   To bake Spritzgebackenes


        Take one quart of water or milk for a meal and put it into a pan. Bring it to a boil, stir good flour into it, so that the dough becomes fairly dry, take it out of the pan, roll it out well, but with additional flour, put it into a mortar, blend it well with eggs, until it becomes good and sticky, put it in a pastry bag, bake them slowly.


185   If you would fry white Strauben


Take an egg white and a spoonful of water and of flour and stir it together well until the batter becomes smooth. Put sugar in the batter and make it thinner than other batters. Make eight or ten small holes in a small pot [let the batter run through] and fry it through that. And make nice long strips, as long as the pan. They are not as thick as other Strauben. Make a round stick three fingers wide, so that the pastry can be wrapped over it, and twist it around with the stick and take it out, and when you have taken it out, then take hold of the pastry and curve it over the stick so that it goes together like a Hohlhippe. And set them on a board, one after the other, and always set two close against each other.  This is pretty around a tart.


Following information found at http://www.medievalcookery.com/helewyse/funnelcakes.html">http://www.medievalcookery.com/helewyse/funnelcakes.html


Source being Bartolomeo Scappi, Opera dell’arte del cucinare


Per fare fritelle domandate Frascate Cap CXXXVIII
Impastinsi otto oncie di farina con dieci ova fresche, & tre oncie di butiro liquefatto, & due oncie di zuccaro, un poco di zafferano, et sale a bastanze, due oncie d’acqua rosa, & sopra tutto faccisi che sia ben battuta, & habbisi la padella col strutto caldo, & d’essa pasta liquida pongasene in una cocchiara forata, o in uno foratoro mezzano, & con un altra cocchiara non forata si farà passare, facendola andare per tutto, di modo che tenga tutta la padella, & subito che si vederà ch’haverà fatto il fiore, volgasi con destrezza, perche non pigli troppo colore, & cavisi perche tal pasta cuoce presto, & mettasi l’una sopra l’altra, spolverizzate di zuccaro, & se si vorranno conservare tenghisino nel forno caldo temperatamente, e coperte con la carta straccia.


To make fritters called branched Chap 138, 5th book Scappi.
Mix together eight ounces of flour with ten fresh eggs, three ounces of melted butter, two ounces of sugar, a little saffron, enough salt, and two ounces of rose water.  Above all make it so that it is well beaten.  Have a frying pan with hot lard and put this liquid batter into a spoon with holes or into a holed scoup and with a spoon without holes make the batter flow through, and make it go everywhere, in the way that you cover the whole of the pan.  And as soon as you see that you have made a flower turn it with care because you don’t want it to become too brown, and then remove it, because this batter cooks quickly, and put one on top of another and powder with sugar to serve.  And if you want to keep them, put them in into a moderately warm oven covered with a piece of paper.


Modern recipe

8 oz plain flour
10 eggs
3 oz butter melted
2 oz sugar
1 pinch saffron
1 pinch salt
2 fl oz rose water
Olive oil for frying
Sugar for dusting

Mix together the batter ingredients: flour, eggs, butter, sugar, saffron, salt, rose water.  Meanwhile heat a frying pan with an inch oil in the bottom.  When oil is hot, add the batter so that a “flower” pattern is made. Flip over and fry on the other side.  Remove from oil, drain and sprinkle with sugar to serve.


Translated by Helewyse de Birkestad OL, June 30th 2005
Copyright 2005 by Louise Smithson. Email:  helewyse at yahoo.com.
Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications,  
provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


From http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09337/1017912-34.stm">http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09337/1017912-34.stm


Many of those Roman culinary techniques were preserved and expanded in the Moslem world. Medieval Arabs may have been the first to deep-fry blobs of yeast dough, the earliest record appearing in the 1226 cookbook Kitab al Tabikh by Muhammad al-Baghdadi as luqmat al-qadi (mouthful of the judge). The Arabs and Turks spread these irregularly shaped deep-fried yeast-batter balls from India to the Maghreb to the Balkans, called bimuelos in Ladino, lokma in Turkey, loukoumades in Greek, and awamee in Arabic. It would later give rise to the Italian zeppola and Dutch oliekoeken (oil cakes). The loose lokma batter also was used to make a medieval type of funnel cake, popular from the Maghreb to India, called zangula and zelabiya.


Middle Eastern Deep-Fried Dough Balls (Lokma/Bimuelos)


Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup water. Stir in sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.


In a large bowl, combine flour and salt and make a well in center. In the well, pour yeast mixture, remaining water, and, if using, egg, and stir until smooth. The dough will not be very thick. Cover and let rise at room temperature until double in bulk, about 2 hours.


Heat 2 inches oil over medium heat to 365 degrees.


Stir batter down. Dip a teaspoon or tablespoon into cold water and use spoon to drop the dough into the hot oil. (Moisten your fingers to prevent sticking.) In batches, fry dough balls until golden brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes total. Drain on paper towels.


Dip warm dough balls into cooled syrup or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately.




Middle Eastern Funnel Cakes (Zelebi)


Pour batter from a large spoon or squeeze it from a plastic squeeze bottle or pastry bag into the hot oil in a spiral fashion into a 6-inch-long coil. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on all sides, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels.


Makes about 24 medium or 48 small cakes.


-- Gil Marks


Below item found at http://jducoeur.org/Cookbook/Funnel_Cakes.htm">http://jducoeur.org/Cookbook/Funnel_Cakes.htm


Lulabiyya (Funnel Cakes)


Author: Justin


Serves Not Nearly Enough



3 packets yeast


1/2 cup warm (not hot) water


10 cups flour


2 cups honey


1 cup water




Dissolve the yeast in the water.  Add the flour, with enough water to make a batter a bit heavier than pancake batter, but still thin enough to flow.  Combine the honey and water, and set aside.
Heat a deep pan of oil until quite hot (almost smoking); you can check the oil by tossing a drop of batter in -- the batter should cook almost instantly.  Put the batter into a funnel, and pour steadily into the oil, making patterns in the oil.  Turn once, remove from oil and drain.  Dip into the diluted honey, let the excess drip off, and serve immediately.


Notes and Variations


One of those particularly favorite period recipes -- this is similar to modern funnel cakes, but better.  Justin made it for his Islamic buffet feast; it was so popular that not once did the platter actually make it all the way to the buffet table before being denuded by the ravening hordes.
The original does not make the dilution of the honey obvious; this was Jane's suggestion, and seems to work better than straight honey.  Undiluted, it comes out as a sort of sticky glaze over the top; dilute, it soaks in, so you get all the flavor without as much stickiness.  It is likely closer to the original intent; I get the impression that the "one time skimmed" honey was probably a little thinner than modern honey.




This recipe was originally reconstructed by Mistress Elayne Courtenay (Denise Cross), for her Id al-Fitr feast, which Justin helped cook and typeset the recipes for.  It is taken from La Cocina Arabigoandaluza Segune un Manuscrito Inedito, which appeared in an early edition of Volume II of Cariadoc's cookbook, but was subsequently withdrawn due to copyright objections.  To avoid those same objections, I won't quote the entire passage, but just the most relevant bit:


... [Make the batter, then] fill with it a vessel in whose bottom is a small hole in which will go the little finger and you will have put on the fire a frying pan with much oil.  Cover the hole with a finger, and when you have the vessel on top of the frying pan, take away the finger from the hole and drop in the frying pan of that which the vessel contains.  Move the vessel with the hand and make in the manner of lattices and diverse figures of circular forms.  When it hardens into fritters on the frying pan, remove them rapidly, let the oil run off, and drench it in bubbling honey one time skimmed, and leave it in until it absorbs all that is necessary...


I think it is clear that this original is describing funnel cakes, very much as described here.


Resources are as notated in above article


Copyright 2012 by Terri Nelson, <ldy_alianora at yahoo.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited.  Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org