Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
We all have our comfort foods. A lot of times, our favorite comfort foods come from youthful memories. Though mom didn't do it often, she did occasionally make homemade fried pies and donuts. I don't think she cared for making fried foods so much, but after nagging her, she would eventually give in once in awhile! Fried pies are so much fun! They can be filled with just about anything, and fry up in just a few minutes. My favorites are probably the most typical fillings, such as apple and cherry. Try filling them with other fruit fillings, or something savory — taco meat, cooked up mushrooms and onions, or cooked sausage. Haven't heard of fried pies? It seems like it is a southern specialty, or maybe a country thing. Either you have memories of your mom making fried pies, or you don't. Either way, it's fun to try out!
Fried Pie Recipe
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup shortening (or lard)
3/4 cup milk
Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until it is mixed into dry ingredients to result in a texture like cornmeal. Add the milk altogether and mix thoroughly. Roll out (with flour) just a little thicker than for pie crust. Use a clean tin can with an opening of at least 3 inches to cut out circles (or use a small saucer as a guide to cut around). Add a tablespoon of filling in the center, dampen edges with a little water and fold in half. Press edges to secure.
Heat iron skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to make it about one-fourth inch deep. When oil is hot, carefully add pies to pan. Pies should be cooked about three minutes on each side. If they start burning before that, turn the heat to low. Be careful when flipping and removing. When cooked through and golden brown, remove and set on rack or paper towel. Add more oil before cooking more.
Dried or fresh fruit can be used in fried pies. I think it is best to fully cook whatever filling you use. I used dried fruit for my fillings. In a small saucepan cook half a cup of dried apples (or cherries) with half a cup water. After they reconstitute, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and one-fourth cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of corn starch. Let that cook down for another 2 minutes. Add one teaspoon of butter and half a teaspoon of lemon juice. This makes enough to fill six pies. Canned pie filling can be used as well.
Photos by Sherry Leverich Tucker