The original idea for Coca Cola Battered Cherries came about last year while I was working at my Kiwanis group’s annual fundraiser, the World’s Largest Walleye Fish Fry at Walleye Weekend in Fond du Lac, WI. Over the course of 3 days we will thaw, clean, bread, fry and serve approximately 2500 pounds of Walleye. While they are long days and a lot of work there is also quite a bit of down time during which I usually find myself getting into all sorts of trouble. My wife, who had come out to help, had brought along some snacks. Included in those snacks was a bag of Bing cherries. I don’t remember who originally came up with the idea, but sitting around, surrounded by all that beer batter, I started to wonder what beer battered cherries would be like. From there it wasn’t a great leap to consider replacing the beer with Coke and adding a bit of sugar to make the batter a little on the sweeter side. Well the experiment turned out quite good with a number of people really enjoying the fried cherries, but I never really did anything with it.
This year, during Walleye Weekend, while frying up fish, I had forgotten about last year’s creation so I didn’t get a chance to repeat it. Then about a week or so ago I was surfing around the web and came across a recipe for Fried Coke, which had been popular as a fair food for a few years around 2006. It reminded me of my experiment with the fried cherries so here it is.
In this recipe I used sweet, Bing cherries. I have not tried it with sour cherries, but I imagine it would be pretty good also. If anyone gives it a try with them let me know how it goes. Also this recipe makes more batter than you will need. Not to fret, though, the batter won’t go to waste. It makes a great funnel cake, so after the cherries are fried make a few up. Finally, because the cherries are so juicy you will want to serve these pretty quickly after frying as moisture will quickly soften the crust. Finally, don’t expect a blast of Coke flavor, it is very subtle, but if you ever had Fried Coke you will remember that the little fritters weren’t overly flavorful and relied on a drizzle of Coke syrup to give them much of their flavor.
Coca Cola Battered Cherries
serves 6-8 people
1 pound Cherries, sweet such as Bing
2 cups Coke or other cola, divided
2 Tbs. Sugar, granulated
1 1/2-2 cups Flour, all purpose + more for coating cherries
2 tsp. Baking Powder
Take 1 cup of the cola and reduce, over high heat, to 1/2 cup. Cool to room temperature. Meanwhile pit the cherries and set aside. One of the best gadgets I own is my cherry/olive pitter. It makes pretty quick work of pitting lots of cherries or olives. If you haven’t seen one before, below is a picture of the 1 I own.
In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs then add the sugar and the cola. It will foam up quite a bit, but will eventually go down. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour with the baking powder and salt. Mix well then pour in the liquid ingredients and mix until combined and the flour is well hydrated. The batter should be of medium consistency, about the consistency of cake batter. Add the remaining flour if necessary to get the right thickness.
Meanwhile fill a large pot with 3-4 inches of oil and heat to 375°F. Working in batches, toss a handful of cherries into flour to coat.
Then toss into the batter and stir to coat.
Using a pair of tongs, remove the cherries, 1 at a time from the batter and drop into the hot oil to fry.
Fry until a deep golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
As you get a couple of batches done place them on plate and dust, liberally, with powdered sugar and serve immediately.