Wednesday, February 18, 2009

FRIED PIE (FRAH PAH)

I had been talking and thinking about fried pies for a while. On road trips my dad would sometimes buy those gas-station varieties for my brother and me, but I quickly developed an aversion, convinced that they gave me a headache (with the amount of preservatives and artificial whatever in there, they probably did). But when my Texas friends started raving about homemade pocket-size pies dipped in grease, I was ready to give the fried pie another shot.

A few Saturdays past, we were graced with 65 degree weather here in the Washington-metro area, so I ventured to Baltimore to visit friends and have an impromptu winter barbecue. After homemade black bean burgers (thanks Ben and Angela), cabbage soup, and beers, it was time to frah some pahs.

We used the recipe for "Fried Apple Pies" in Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie by Ken Haedrich, which calls for dried apples. Surprisingly, the local grocery store had none (though the dried fruit mix "Tropical Temptations" sounded appealing), so we went with fresh apples, cooked down. It was just as well, maybe better.

First, Bob prepared the pastry,

combining:
3 c. all purpose flour+ 1 Tblsp. sugar+ 1 tsp. salt in the food processor. after a few turns on pulse, he added 1 stick of cold, unsalted butter, pulsing 5-6 times. Then he added 1/2 c. shortening, pulsing 5-6 times. After that, he sprinkled 1/4 c. water, pulsing and fluffing the mixture, and then another 1/4 c. of water until it looked like coarse crumbs. he used his hands to form the dough into a ball, flattened it, wrapped it in wax paper, and put it in the fridge for about an hour.

Meanwhile I cut up about 5 baking apples and put them in a frying pan with some splashes of orange juice, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Matt sauteed them until they became tender.We heated about 4in. of vegetable oil in a saucepan on medium high-heat, until it was hot enough to fry a test-corner of the pie dough. As the oil was heating up, Jamie made the petit pocket pies, rolling out about a 5-in. circle of dough,
  dropping on 2 dollops of filling, folding it over, and fluting it around the edges.

When it was hot enough, I dropped the pies, one-at-a-time, in the hot oil, frying them for about 4 minutes. It took some finesse to get it right (we overfried the first one, though it still was pretty tasty), but for the most part, frying pies is a breeze! This recipe made about 8 pies. For the first batch, we merely sprinkled the pies with confectioner's sugar,

but for the second, Bob took it up a level and made a glaze to coat the pies. WOAH! Beware, these pocket pies pack a punch--the frying accentuates the flakiness of the crust, their shape makes for a perfect, bite, every bite.

All in all, their small size, layers of crust, tender fruit, and soak in oil makes for an intense experience that goes straight to your head...just look what it did to these guys!

It also might make you play the banjo.

video 

And as if we hadn't already had enough fry, Matt had the zany idea to use the oil for fried hash browns (he prefers to call them "latkes," when latkes are actually only shallow-fried) the next morning. I thought he was out of his gourd, but whaddayaknow...delicious.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sun Pie


It was warm in Chicago this week. 65 degrees warm! In anticipation for the spectacular weather, I had a pie party last week with pizza pie and apple sun pie.

It is cold again now, and I'm wearing long johns again, but sometimes a couple really nice days is just what you need to get you through the darkest days of winter.