In the spirit of science and the interests of understanding, we set out to answer one of the big questions: does deep frying always make things better?

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Image: The big Homemade investigation: Will it fry?

Can you guess what this was before it went in the fryer?

Have you ever got halfway through an apple and thought "I wonder what this would taste like battered and deep fried"? Have you stopped midway through the first nibble on a Cornetto and thought "you know what would really improve this? Plunging in hot oil."

 

I have. And then it was pretty much all I could think about. After a couple of sleepless nights I decided to ring up Jim Thomlinson and his partner Emma Thomas (aka baking legend Miss Cakehead) the proprietors of "Fry Hard", the nation’s first deep fried pop-up in Shoreditch, London.

 

This Easter weekend they’ll be slopping batter all over Easter eggs, pizzas and even a whole lamb dinner, then plunging them in the fryer. Jim has promised that: “if it’s ethically sound and it fits in the fryer, I'll do it,” so we decided to take him at his word.

 

In the name of science* we vowed to live out your greasy-fingered fantasies by submerging all manner of things in oil. Because there are some very serious scientific* questions to be answered here. Does everything taste better fried? How will we fry it? Hell, will it even fry?

 

*No, you’re right, it’s not very convincing.

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Apple

First up, we decided to take one of the cornerstones of healthy eating and fry it hard. This could go either way. Apples are nice in a tart.

 

Did it fry?

We had to peel it to make the batter stick. After two mins in the fryer it even looks pretty. Totally fried! It's a little soft around the edges, but still mainly crunchy and not at all pulpy.

 

Taste verdict

Would be good with some sort of a dip – Jim suggests a truffled honey one. Fancy. This still counts as one of your five a day, right?

 

Final score: 7/10

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Hmmm ...

 

Lettuce

Because lettuce is essentially synonomous with sadness we thought we might be able to jazz it up with a session in the fryer. As most of it is water this was a bit of a dangerous experiment. “Stand back,” says Jim dramatically, “this is probably going to spit oil everywhere.”

 

Did it fry?

Surprisingly, the wedge stayed in pretty good shape, its mainly hot, limp leaves encased in batter. It takes a load of salt and a dousing of sriracha sauce before it makes it to my mouth. It's odd – watery, mushy with just a little bit of crunch, yet also quite greasy.

 

Taste verdict

Sort of like a bad Chinese cabbage dish. Not great at all.

 

Final score: 3/10

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Cornetto

I had high, dizzying hopes for this one.

 

Did it fry?

After two minutes in the fryer, the ice cream is still firm! And it tastes glorious! The batter has stayed intact and it's studded with little bits of molten chocolate around the top.

 

Taste verdict

The ice-cream is super-sweet and has just reached that lovely melting stage. The best bit is that the waffle cone end has sort of caramelised in the heat and there's a last little bit of chocolate in wait at the bottom. Oh my gosh, is this one the winner?

 

Final score: 9/10

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Burger

I'm scared to eat this. I hate burgers like this, and although the batter has sort of improved most of the food so far, there's every chance it will make it even worse than it already is. 

 

Did it fry?

It gets battered up and the two halves of the bun go first, soaking up loads of the vegetable oil in as they cook. Bleeeee. The pallid burger patty goes in next, then we assemble it all again, complete with plastic cheese slice and sauce. It's all the same beige colour. It looks like a Victoria sponge of pure filth. The grease is seeping out onto the table.

 

Taste verdict 

And it tastes exactly like it looks – oily, like I've just had a mouthful of the contents of a deep fat fryer, which I have, really. Even Jim's not a fan, and spits out his mouthful. “I don't need that in my life right now. I know I eat a lot of s**t food, but that's crossed a line. I bet some people will love it though.”

 

Final score: 0/10

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On goes the sauce

 

Pasty

Cornish pasties? Good. Battered Cornish pasties? Better. Makes you feel a bit dirty just thinking about it doesn’t it?

 

Did it fry?

Very much so. Batter holds the shape of the pasty well and puffs up in the oil, making it a bit of beast once cooked.

 

Taste verdict

With a bit of HP sauce this is a triumph. Jim says: “Normally pasties are quite soggy, but the batter really crisps it up, it just makes perfect sense” He's right.

 

Final score: 9/10

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So next time your loved one catches you tossing a Ginsters into the fryer, tell them we're very, very sorry. Same goes for your GP.