Fork & Plate Fried Pies

Monday, December 27, 2010

Someplace...somewhere...I read an almost-treatise on the origins of fried pies in the past year.  Did they begin as savory pastries?  Was it because they're the perfect size to tuck into a pocket?  Was it something about the miners having something that wouldn't readily spoil?  I can't remember.  Maybe all of that.  

But who doesn't remember being at a fruit stand somewhere in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of summer, and biting into a glorious apple, peach, or berry fried pie?  A hot fried pie.  A hot, crispy, fried pie.

Oh yes.

So there are fried pies to be had in summer, held in one hand and swaddled in paper towel.

In the winter, they're bigger and made for forks and plates.

Especially this past weekend, when it snowed (!!) here.  And who doesn't want to curl up with a flaky, golden-brown pastry oozing with fruit and juice when it's all I'm-Dreaming-Of-A-White-Christmas outside?

Recipe (makes 6 or so 6" pies, depending on how thin you roll them out):
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
10 tbsp cold, cold butter - diced 
Ice-cold water - probably around 3-4 tablespoons
...plus more flour for dusting worksurface
...and oil for frying, vegetable oil is perfect, about 1/2" in skillet

Use what you like!  Basically make a pie filling.  If you're using fresh peaches, slice them, add them to a pan with some brown and white sugar, a little cornstarch for thickening, and cook on medium heat until softened.  Same thing for apples and berries.  So easy.  You can also use a few squares of chocolate bar for chocolate pies.

Important: cool the filling to room temperature before putting it on the pastry. 

In the Cuisinart with the low blade, combine all the dry ingredients.  Next, add the butter and pulse until the dough starts coming together.  

Fried Pies

Add enough water to make the dough fully come together, but do not overwork.  It should look like this when you pull it out of the bowl - not sticky at all but certainly not over-dry and crumbly:
Fried Pies
Form the dough into a disc shape and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Prepare worksurface for rolling these out by flouring it and the rolling pin pretty generously.  Find your template - probably an upside-down cereal bowl at 6" or so diameter for cutting circles in the dough.  There's enough dough here to make about six circles.  

Prepare a plate for the hot pies - a large plate or platter with two or three layers of paper towel.

When you're ready to begin rolling out the dough, pour oil into skillet to about 1/2" height.  I use an electric skillet for this just so I don't have to think about what temperature the oil is at the whole time.  Set it to 350*.

In the middle of each circle, put a couple of tablespoons filling:
Fried Pies

Wet the edge of half the circle with your finger.  This helps make the dough 'stick' together while cooking:
Fried Pies

Take a fork and crimp the edges together, then immediately place into the hot oil:
Fried Pies

Fry for a couple of minutes each side until golden brown and you can't take it anymore:
Fried Pies

These are literally so flaky and delicate that you must eat them on a plate with a fork.  Oh my stars.  Delicious.
Fried Pies

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