Monday, June 10, 2013

Step by Step Fried Pies

Ok, I have had a lot of inquiries about how to make fried pies.  I know I have posted my recipe on here before, but I am going to do it again and this time with pictures and step by step instructions. Here goes...

Today I made Strawberry Rhubarb Fried Pies.  I started with 3 cups of chopped rhubarb and 2 cups of sliced strawberries.  You can use fresh or frozen.  I put them in a pot and brought them to a simmer until they softened and got mushy.  I added some sugar until I got them to the sweetness/tartness that I liked.  It usually takes anywhere from 1/4c. to 1/2c.

If the mixture seems really runny you can thicken it with corn starch or flour.  While that is cooling I made the dough.  The dough is really quite easy.

1 c. butter flavored shortening, chilled
1 tsp. salt
1 c. flour
1 egg

Put flour and salt into a bowl and cut in shortening until it becomes a crumb like consistency.  Put and egg in a 3/4c. measuring cup and beat slightly.  Fill the measuring cup up the rest of the way with cold water and add to flour mixture.  Mix with fork or hand until it all comes together and forms a nice soft dough.  Should not be sticky.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

After it has chilled, it is time to start!  Here's what you need: dough, filling, wax paper, rolling pin, a little flour in a bowl and a little water in another bowl and a fork.

Get two pieces of wax paper.  Get a small amount of dough and make a ball.  Put it between the two pieces of wax paper.
Roll it out.  You want it thin but not super thin.  If it gets too thin then it will tear when you are trying to make the pies. It doesn't have to make a perfect circle.
Put a tablespoon or so of filling in the middle of the circle.  You don't want to put too much otherwise it will leak out when you are folding and cooking the pies.  Then you end up with a big mess!
Stick your finger in the bowl of water and slightly wet the outside edge of the dough.  Then fold the dough over to make a half circle.  Once you have done that, fold the edges up just a little.
Folding the edges like this helps it not to pop open when it is cooking.  Once you have done this, stick the fork in the flour and crimp all the way around the folded edge.
This makes it look pretty and also helps keep it together during the cooking process.  I do 12 at a time.  I have discovered over the years that if I do too many at once then the oil gets too hot, they burn, etc... So I fill up a cookie sheet and then I fry those before I make the next 12.  In between batches of 12 I take the grease off the burner and let it cool while making the next 12. 
Put a lot of oil in a big pan.  It needs to be at least and inch deep.  I prefer pans that have a higher side so oil doesn't spill out when I am turning the pies.  Turn your burner on medium high - high and let the oil heat to 375 degrees. 
If you  don't have a thermometer (like me - mine broke) then use a little pinch of dough to determine when it is hot enough to cook.  You want the grease to be hot enough to immediately start cooking the pies so they don't get grease logged.  It only takes a few minutes to cook them.

Either before you start cooking or quickly while the pies are cooking, get a big platter.  Put one layer of paper towels on the bottom.  Then get some more and crumple them up.  The crumpled paper towels help absorb more of the grease.
When the pies are golden brown on both sides take them out and place them on the paper towels.  As I said before, the cooking process only takes a few minutes.  I only put four in the pan at a time so it doesn't get over crowded.  They seem to cook better that way.
Just keep layering the paper towels and pies until you have finished.  Put a paper towel over the top when you are done.  When you store them, do not close them up.  I store them just like this on the platter with the paper towels and then just put a dish towel over the top.  If they get put in an airtight container the crust will get soggy.
I make lots of different kinds: any kind of pie filling will work - my favorite is lemon. I have tried pudding.  Those are best when they are cooled off again and you have to eat them the same day otherwise the pudding makes the crusts soggy.  I also make an apricot fried pie.  I use dried apricots for that - soak them over night in water (just barely cover fruit).  Then simmer for 30 minutes mashing up the fruit.  Add sugar to taste, a tsp or so of lemon juice and nutmeg if desired.  I have a friend that has put breakfast stuff in them - eggs, sausage, etc (precooked of course).  I have also put a slice of cream cheese in the middle and then sprinkled sugar over the crust of the pie once fried.  Eat those warm!
You can bake these if you want a healthier version but they do not compare to the fried version (in my opinion).  Just put them on the pan and bake at 350 or so until golden brown.  I think the breakfast version would be good baked, the others I prefer fried.
So, that is my step by step process for making these!  Hope you all enjoy a fried pie or two!

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