The month of December as we all know is most popular for Christmas. But did you know there are other days that are important in the food world? December first is National Fried Pie Day. Who can resist the sweet, moist, warm wonderful fruit entangled with a crunchy, soft, yummy pastry? Fried pies were introduced to most of us by our grandmothers. They are the chefs of all chefs when comes to making fried pies. The most popular is fried apple pies, my favorite, and the next choice is peach. Now that I have made you want to run to the grocery store to make fried pies, where did they come from. Who wanted a fried pie?
Fried apple pies were first introduced in McDonald’s in 1968, originally fried in lard. Lard? What is lard? Lard is pig fat in both its rendered and unrendered forms. It is obtained from any part of the pig where there is a high proportion of adipose or fatty tissue. I know reading the definition is really disgusting, but, it is the most important ingredient in the crust when making a fried pie. The lard makes the crust flaky and light. Though the lard makes the crust delicious, it is not used much anymore due to health issues. Today most of our fried pies are prepared using other ingredient for a good fried pie crust.
Historically in the American South, fried pies were known as “Crab Lanterns”, a term that dates back to at least 1770, and may originate from crab apple pies that had slits for ventilation, thus resembling a lantern. New Hampshire fried pies were popular with U.S. president Franklin Pierce. Can you imagine the taste of crab apple fried pies? The tart taste would make your ears backward and your lips pucker.
FRIED PIE DOUGH
This pie dough is excellent for making fried piecrusts (like hot apple pies and turnovers), because it absorbs very little grease. If small turnovers or turnovers with pre-cooked filling (fruits or meats) are being made, they may be fried at a slightly higher temperature (375°F) but reduce heat if they brown too quickly. If uncooked filling (fruit only) is used or larger turnovers are being made, lower temperature to 360°F.
1 can (12-13 oz.) evaporated milk
1 egg, beaten
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon shortening
- Combine milk and egg, and set aside.
- Whisk together flour, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening. Toss lightly with egg and milk mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened.
- Roll into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- When ready to use, roll pastry on a lightly floured board into 6 inch circles, 1/8 inch thick.
- Fill half of the circle with desired filling. Fold half of circle over filling to make half-moons or turnover shapes. A fold over turnover press can be used for perfect shapes.
- Deep fry in hot shortening or oil, approximately 365°F.
1 can pie filling
Oil for frying
- Heat 3 to 4 inches oil in deep pan.
- Roll dough into 6 inch circle.
- Place 1 heaping tsp. pie filling in center of dough.
- Fold dough over; being careful not to tear dough;
- Seal and crimp edges securely.
- Fry in hot oil until dark golden brown, on both sides.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar
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