batter

The batter, the base element for some of the most famous Italian recipes, is a mixture of flour and other ingredients that vary according to the recipe. It is a fairly fluid mixture, used to coat morsels of various foods (vegetables, fish, meat) that are then fried: the morsels are passed through the batter to coat them completely and are then dipped in boiling fat or oil. Contact with the latter transforms the batter into a golden crunchy crust that keeps the morsel inside soft.

How to maintain the crispness for a long time?

To increase the crispiness of the crust, we suggest beating an egg white not until it is stiff, but semi-liquid, and to pass in it the morsels to be fried, leaving them in it for a few minutes; then, drain them on a sieve for 5 minutes, pass them in the flour and fry them at 170 °C until golden brown. Be careful, though: do not fry large quantities without first changing the frying oil.

 Oriental batter: tempura

Tempura is a dish in Japanese gastronomy based on fish and vegetables which are cut into pieces, battered and fried. This specialty is highly appreciated in the West as well and its name bears witness to the first contacts the Japanese had with European sailors and missionaries in the 16th century. The inhabitants of the Japanese archipelago had noticed how Christian foreigners, at the beginning of every season, observed meatless days, eating only vegetables and fish for three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) and devoting themselves to prayer. These four moments of prayer were called in Latin quattro tempora, hence the name tempura, which the Japanese still use today for this dish.

Different methods of preparing the batter

The batter for regular frying
Ingredients
00 flour     400 g
egg yolks     2
egg whites     3
Evo oil     2 tablespoons
Salt and pepper     to taste
Milk     1 liter

1. Dilute the flour with the milk, beating it well and being sure to remove all the lumps.
2. Let the mixture stand for at least 15 minutes.
3. Whip the egg whites until stiff and add them to the mixture until it has the right consistency to coat the food completely.

By adjusting the doses from time to time depending on the homogeneity and consistency you want your batter to have, you will get astounding results. In any case, to ensure that your foods in batter come out really well, the temperature of the oil must reach approximately 170 °C.

The batter for fruit fritters
Ingredients
00 flour     400 g
Sugar     50 g
Foaming butter     30 g
Milk     500 ml
Salt     to taste
Lemon zest     to taste
stiffly beaten egg whites     3

1. In a bowl, work the flour, the sugar, a pinch of salt, the butter, the lemon zest and the milk until you obtain a mixture with the right consistency for coating the foods.
2. Let the mixture stand.
3. When using the mixture, gently incorporate the beaten egg whites in such a way that the mixture does not lose its volume.

This batter is suitable for apples, pears, peaches, apricots, bananas, pineapples and strawberries. Before dipping the fruit into the batter, we recommend sprinkling it with sugar and flavoring it with a suitable liqueur.

Batter for crispy fried foods
Ingredients
00 flour    300 g
Salt and pepper    to taste
Evo oil    4 tablespoons
White wine     4 deciliters

Mix the ingredients, then dilute with cold water until you get a mixture with the right consistency for coating the food.

This batter is suitable for watery vegetables, and helps retain the crispiness. It can be flavored with aromatic herbs such as thyme (for zucchinis) or savory (for tomatoes).

The batter for soft fried foods
Ingredients
00 flour    200 g
Evo    1 spoonful
Milk    150 g
Pepper    to taste
Cold water    as required

Mix all the ingredients, then add cold water to dilute the mixture until the consistency is right for coating the food.

This batter is suitable for the more coriaceous or chewier vegetables such as artichokes, or for less delicate and watery vegetables such as sage and zucchini flowers.

The batter for tempura
Ingredients
Iced carbonated water     200 ml
00 flour     100 g
egg yolk     1

Prepare the batter by beating the yolk and adding the iced carbonated water. Stir in the sieved flour, stirring briefly, making sure that the batter does not become sticky.
Mix the batter in small quantities and for very short periods, making sure to leave the lumps in the mixture. The latter, together with cold water, determine the typical and unique structure of the tempura: soft inside and crisp on the outside.

Keep the batter cold by adding ice or placing the batter bowl in a larger ice-filled container. Crustaceans, calamari and vegetables with a hard peel should have incisions made on the surface to prevent them from exploding during frying.