Monday, March 19, 2007

Yummy Fried Pies

I love breakfast- it's perhaps my favorite meal. I love eggs over easy and bacon, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, muffins, Eggs Benedict. I even love oatmeal.

When we stayed over at Cleo's, her breakfasts were always a treat. We didn't often have eggs, because she had a cholesterol problem and avoided them. But we didn't miss them, because the other things she made were so delicious. Two of my favorites were Rice and Raisins, and Fried Pies.

I'm not going to give a recipe for Rice and Raisins, because it's just like it sounds- basically boiled white rice with golden raisins, served like oatmeal with butter, sugar and milk. The trick with this is to plump the raisins in hot water before adding them to the rice. I have to say, I have tried this with brown rice, and it just isn't the same. I guess it's the layer of memories that makes this the only time I prefer white rice to brown!

Fried Pies, though, are another story. Filled with dried apricots, cooked and mashed, these things were so marvelous just thinking about them makes my mouth water even now. When Cleo died, we didn't find a recipe for them amongst her things, and she hadn't made them for years. My sister and I discussed how we could reproduce them, based on some pretty old memories.

Enter the Internet- I did a search on Fried Pies, and came up with several recipes. None seemed quite right to me- I was convinced that Cleo made a yeast raised dough for these. But none of the recipes were yeast raised, and most of them had an apricot filling, so I thought perhaps my memory was faulty.

I found this recipe on Texas Cooking Online, and made some changes.

Grandma's Fried Fruit Pies
Makes 12 fried pies

3 cups all purpose flour (I used 1 & 1/2 cup white, 1 & 1/2 cup white whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Crisco or other good vegetable shortening (I used butter)
1 egg, lightly beaten (I used 2 eggs)
1/4 cup cold water (I used 1/2 cup cold water)
1 teaspoon white vinegar.

Mix the flour and salt together, cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like large crumbs. Mix the eggs and water together, sprinkle over the flour mixture, Sprinkle in the vinegar. Mix lightly, until ingredients are well combined. (At this point, I thought my dough was too dry, so I added the additional egg and water)

Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap , refrigerate for at least an hour.

3 cups dried fruit; apricots, peaches, apples (I used some commercial apricots, some apricots I dried myself, and some commercial dried raspberries)
1 & 1/2 cups water
6 Tablespoons sugar (I used 1/4 cup apricot flavored honey)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (left this out)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (left this out)

On low heat, simmer the dried fruit in the water for 30-45 minutes, or until very tender. Add more water if necessary to prevent scorching. Allow to cool, mash fruit slightly, stir in sugar and spices. (I put the fruit, water, and honey in my large Pyrex measuring cup, set the microwave at 40% and cooked for 20 minutes, checking after 10 minutes to see if it was soft enough.)

Divide the pastry into 4 equal pieces, then cut each of these into 3 equal pieces. You should have 12 golf ball sized dough balls. (I was only able to get 8 dough balls, larger than a gold ball- I am not very good with dough.) On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball into a 5-6 inch circle.

Put 2 generous tablespoons of filling onto one side of the dough circle. Fold over and seal the edges. The picture shows 2 sealed pies, one pie with filling and one dough circle.

Deep fry 3-4 minutes, or pan fry in about 1/2 inch oil, turning as needed. Sprinkle the hot fried pies with confectioners sugar or cinnamon sugar. (I didn't do that)

The pies were OK. The dough was much as I remembered it, which surprised me since it had no leavening in it what so ever. The filling was tasty. Given my inexpertise with dough and frying, I think they turned out pretty good. I think my sister, who is a better pastry chef than I, would have done a better job with them. I had much too much filling left over, but I didn't measure the fruit very accurately. I can always find a use for cooked dried apricots! My husband ate them warmed over the next day, and felt there was too much whole wheat, but other than that they were good. Again, I think if I were better with pastry and had been able to get the dough thinner, he wouldn't have had a problem with the whole wheat. By the way, the picture of the finished pies, at the top, are shown on a small plate- they aren't as big as they look!

1 comment:

Shane Marie said...

Hi there,
I am visiting your sight via the Inadvertant Gardener, and I just had to comment about these pies. My husband's Meemaw makes apricot fried pies, most recently when she came to visit last December. (Her leaving Arkansas to visit California was a Pretty Big Deal.) I had never eaten a fried fruit pie and was quickly a big fan!

To surprise my husband, I recently made a batch using dried peaches. I know he was being polite when he said they were as good as Meemaw's.

Your March tribute to your grandmothers' recipes is delightful!