I've seen the episode of Good Eats about fried pies/pasties, so if I tried really hard I could tell you some stuff about the history of them. But I made like 50 fondant bras at work today, and my brain is all mushy, so I'm gonna let Google and The NY Sun take over:
Fried pies are little hot-pocket semicircles of dough that are filled with fruit and, as the name implies, deep-fried. They're particularly popular in the South... Tradition claims that the "pasty" was originally made as lunch for Cornish tin miners who were unable to return to the surface to eat. The story goes that, covered in dirt from head to foot, they could hold the pasty by the folded crust and eat the rest without touching it, discarding the dirty pastry. The pastry they threw away was supposed to appease the knockers, capricious spirits in the mines who might otherwise lead miners into danger... The pasty's dense, folded pastry could stay warm for 8 to 10 hours and, when carried close to the body, could help the miners stay warm.
How's that for a history lesson? Well, I thought it was interesting. Anyway, on to my next point. The "Sounds of the Season" channel is playing the most awesome German music from now through Oct. 4. Usually, I have no interest in German music, but for some reason as the outside air becomes brisk and the season for pumpkins and apples falls upon us, German music just seems right! Lol, I'm sure you don't trust me, so if you get the Music Choice channels I encourage you to try it out this week. Don't be surprised when you find yourself wishing you had a German playlist on your iPod next time you leave the house.On to point numero tres. When I think of fried pies, I can't help but remember those Hostess pies my dad used to bring home from the Newport News Shipyard when I was a kid. He always picked my brother and I up from daycare on his way home, and a few times a week his pockets would be full of Hostess pies. His favorite was lemon, so all other flavors were scarce. But when I saw that red wrapper peaking out, I knew he'd brought a cherry pie for me! When I see those pies now at the grocery store I pass them up, but I enjoy the memory. :D Never fear, fried pies aren't out of my life forever. Thanks to Stephanie Velez, who was kind enough to send me her duplicate copy of "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea," I can make my own fried fruit pies (without the nasty Crisco film on the roof of my mouth, sorry Hostess, but you know it's true!). This book is really lovely for anyone who enjoys the history of food in the South. The stories, recipes, and pictures are full of nostalgia. For these pies, I used the filling recipe and instruction from "Screen Doors," but I used my go-to pie crust recipe for the crust. They are so delicious! The allspice makes them perfect to eat during the winter months. The only thing I'd change next time is to reduce the vinegar from 2 tablespoons to 1. The taste of vinegar didn't cook out like I expected it to and it was pretty noticeable. Other than that, these are perfect!I could just *hug* my camera for snapping this mouth-watering shot! ;)
Peach Fried Pies (from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose)
MAKES TEN 3-INCH PIES
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening or lard
3/4 cups whole milk
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen peaches (I used 3 large peaches)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (I'd reduce to 1 tablespoon next time)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
Canola oil, for frying
MAKE THE PASTRY. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening until no pieces are larger than a pea. Add the milk and combine, using a fork. Gather the dough and knead lightly for 1 minute. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate while preparing the filling.
MAKE THE FILLING. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the peaches, brown sugar, and allspice. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved and the peaches are juicy. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and cornstarch. Add to the peaches and cook and stir for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and glossy. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to a shallow dish to cool.
In a small shallow dish, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
MAKE THE PIES. Roll the dough 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. With a sharp knife or cutter, cut ten 6-inch circles (I used an inverted cereal bowl). Place 2 tablespoons of peach filling in the center of each circle. Beat the egg with I teaspoon water. Brush a thin line of egg wash around the edges of the circles. Fold to form a half-moon shape. Lightly press out any air pockets. Press the edges with the tines of a fork to seal. Pierce one time on top of each pie with a fork to let steam escape while frying. Heat 1 inch of canola oil in a large skillet to 375°F. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with newspaper or paper towels. Gently place the pies, two at a time, pierced side up, in the skillet. Fry to golden brown, turning once, 2 minutes per side. Remove from the oil and let drain briefly on the wire rack. Toss in the cinnamon sugar and allow to cool for 5 minutes.