What the American's know as Corn Dogs, we here in Australia know them more commonly as Pluto Pups or Dagwood Dogs. And this kind of food is what you associate to carnivals and fairs, or for the Sydney siders - The Sydney Royal Easter Show. They lack any sort of nutritional value what so ever, well except maybe for the corn meal, but you can't go past not having one when you go to one of these events.
Pluto Pups also have a bit of history attached to them for me, this story is different though, I lost a tooth eating one of these when I was about 8. I was at Paddy's Markets with my parents and they bought me a Pluto Pup, my tooth was already wobbly to begin with and it took a few bites of this thing to pull it out, though we wern't expecting it to come out like this. All I know is that I was biting away and then suddenly felt a sharp pang in my gums and then my mouth felt a little strange, as if a tooth had fallen out. I hate the sight of blood too so kind of freaked out a bit when discovering what had happened, my parents thought it was just tomato sauce, I had to convince them it was both!
Then there's also the Cheese On A Stick, also another must not miss itinerary item when going to the Sydney Easter Show. I have always wondered how the batter was done, to give it that thick fluffy cake or more bready like texture but yet be crispy on the outside. And boy was I extremely excited when I came across a recipe that would give me just that.
I also had a pack of Quorn sausages to trial and had been trying to think of some cool recipe to use it in so I loved the whole idea of Quorn Dog/Corn Dog. I discovered the recipe, if I remember correctly, browsing the Tastespotting website. One of the photos displayed was of some home made corn dogs which led me to click on it and it took me to the blog by the name of 'A Cosy Kitchen'.
After reading through the blog post and the recipe and the description of the end product I was hooked. I actually had to sit on this for a few weeks as every weekend seems to be so busy now so was super excited when I had a chance to squeeze it in. I also doubled the recipe as I knew I had to make plenty of these to feed the family and also the boyfriend, the larger quantity was also easier for dipping.
Recipe adapted from Adrianna at 'A Cozy Kitchen':• 1 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour (plain flour)
• 1 cup of yellow corn meal (I used polenta for this which worked fine)
• 2 tablespoon of baking powder
• 2 teaspoon of salt
• 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (I was a little puzzled as American recipes always list this, I used bicarbonate of soda)
• 3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust accordingly here to your own taste)
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
• 12 hot dogs, frankfurts or sausages
• 1/2 cup of cornstarch (cornflour)
• 12 skewers or wooden disposable chopsticks
• Oil for frying (vegetale or canola oil should be fine)
1. Put all dry ingredients (except the cornflour) into a bowl and mix together.
2. In a large jug/tall jar, whisk the milk and eggs together.
3. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in batches, whisking well in between, you should have a pancake like mixture.
4. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes, the original recipe says to rest for 10 minutes, I found that the bicarb soda reacted and airated the whole mix and thickened it greatly. I just added milk and whisked the batter until it was a good dipping consistency, you don't want it too thin though.
5. Heat the oil up in a pan, make sure that you find one deep enough for deep frying (at least 10-12cm deep) but also wide enough to fit your hot dogs with the skewers in (I had to trim my skewers down to about 4cm left sticking out the end).
6. Spread the cornflour on a plate. Stick the skewers into your dogs and then roll them into the cornflour.
7. Once the oil is hot enough (drop some batter in and if it bubbles it's ready) dip the dogs into the batter, letting any excess batter drip off (or keep it on if you want a thicker coating of batter). The batter browns quite quickly so lower the heat once the dogs are in, you don't want undercooked dogs on the inside. If you are using meat sausages, I recommend that you perhaps poach them before hand to help the cooking process, even frying them on extremely low heat they were still a little pink in the centre.
8. Keep an eye on them and rotate so that they brown evenly. Once golden take out and drain on some kitchen paper. Serve dunked into some tomato sauce/ketchup or whatever else your heart desires.
Quorn sausages ready for some battering.
Frankfurts/hot dogs are probably the dog of choice as these give you a more genuine experience and possibly some spouts of nostalgia.
Also bought some gourmet beef sausages from the butchers, probably trust what is in these more than the frankfurts. Remember to poach/half cook them before battering and frying.
Home made corn dogs/pluto pups in mass production. I had bought 6 frankfurts, 6 sausages and had 6 Quorn sausages, I ended up cooking 4 of each. Ran out of time cooking plus I think I had more than enough here so the rest goes into the fridge for the next day. The leftover batter also goes into the fridge.
So we have a Quorn Dog, A Corn Dog, and a Sausage Dog.
I had a wedding to go to so had to pack up my Pluto Pups and some sauce and eat them in the car. Dunked in tomato sauce is the traditional way to eat them. Had to be careful not to get it all over my dress.
While in the car with Ryan I exclaimed "I forgot the cheese!". Another favourite show food is Cheese On A Stick which is pretty much cheese dunked in the same batter and deep fried. I could not make home made Pluto Pups and miss out on making Cheese On A Stick. The next day I'm sending my brother to the corner shop for a block of tasty cheese.
I had about a cup of batter left from the day before and made half as much more as I originally made (the quantity which the original recipe calls for) and mix it all together. I think I may have cut the cheese too thinly and it was probably still quite cold and hard so cracked when I shoved a skewer in. One ends up crumbling when I try and batter it. I end up frying the rest of the cheese with no sticks.
So there you have it - home made Pluto Pups and Cheese On A Stick. They were pretty awesome, everyone who saw/heard about them was pretty gobsmacked that such a thing was able to be made at home. Until now, they were something only regarded as being available at carnivals/fairs, or The Easter Show, and you would have to pretty much wait a whole year to eat them, or they were only a treat whenever they appeared at any fairs/carnivals. I'm actually more inclined to call them Corn Dogs now, at first it sounded strange because I'm so used to calling them Pluto Pups but the word Corn Dog is growing on me.
Innards shot. L - R: Tasty Cheese, hot dog/frankfurt, beef sausage, Quorn sausage. They were sooooo good. Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, savoury sausage/cheese in the middle. Ryan actually could not tell that the Quorn sausage was not meat, he kept confusing it with the beef sausage whenever we were trying to refer to it. It actually didn't taste too bad cooked like this so would make a great vegetarian option to the Pluto Pup/Corn Dog. Who needs to wait until the Easter Show now? =D
***Oh and don't forget to enter my first ever giveaway - An Edgell Hamper worth approximately $100, the basket is pretty sexy!***