Monday, November 9, 2009

Fried Peach Pies

The pastry recipe my mother swears by, the one her mother also used, is the one in the classic red-and-white checked Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook:
• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/3 cup shortening
• 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
Stir together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until pieces are pea-size, being careful not to overwork the dough.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball, again, not kneading the dough. Messing with the dough too much causes gluten to form, which is good in bread but not so much in pie pastry.

At this point, you can refrigerate the dough while preparing the filling.

Peach Pie Filling

Place the dried peaches (2 6-ounce packages) in a medium saucepan and add enough water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and let cook until most of the water is evaporated and the peaches are tender. Use a potato masher to mash.

Drain off the remaining water and taste. Depending on how sweet you like your peaches, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar. I'd add just a dash of cinnamon here but that's just me.

(My grandmother also makes a mean fried apple pie that she puts apricots in the filling. Talk about good.)

Make the fried pies:

On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edges until it’s about 1/4-inch thick. Cut out circles about 5 to 6 inches in diameter.

Place about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of each and fold over dough to make a half-moon shape. Use a fork to crimp the edges together.

In a black skillet (or other heavy pan) heat 1 inch of canola or vegetable oil to 350 degrees. Cook pies for about 2 minutes per side. Let drain on paper towels.

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