I took a break the other day from editing Bulldogs & Bullets (the second book in the Dog Town USA Cozy Mystery series that is due out at the end of this month) to make something I've wanted to make for a long, long time, but for some reason, have never gotten around to. A batch of sizzling, crispy, sugary, and tart fried hand pies!
Pie in and of itself is such a warm, hospitable, and cozy dessert. But when you add the word "Fried" to the front of it, well, I think Cinnamon Peters would agree that it's hard to do wrong. I've always wanted to try out a fried pie recipe, but I suppose the frying part always seemed a little daunting and sounded too labor-intensive. Recently though, my sister and brother-in-law bought a deep-fryer, and I was able to give these a try. And I'm so glad I did! Crispy, buttery, flaky, and tart, these little turnovers were a huge hit. I think it won't be long before these appear on Cinnamon Peters' menu at the pie shop!
Fried Cinnamon Cherry Pies
(makes about 12 hand pies)
Pie Dough Recipe
3 cups of flour
3/4 tsp. salt
10 tbsp. cold butter (unsalted)
6 tbsp. cold shortening
1/2 cup ice cold water
In a large bowl, mix flour and salt together. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter and shortening. Without using your hands too much, add the cold water, adding more if needed, until mixture sticks together. Pull together into a ball, wrap in tinfoil, and place in refrigerator for an hour before using.
10 ounces dried cherries
1/2 stick of butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups of water
Crisco or vegetable oil for frying
In a saucepan, combine cherries, butter, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and leave for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until much of the liquid has evaporated. Pour the filling into a bowl and cool it in the refrigerator for at least two hours before filling the pies.
Divide the chilled pie dough into 12 balls and roll each one out into a 5-inch round. Add the cold cherry filling in a thick line down the middle of each round. Bring one edge of each dough round over to the opposite side to create a half-moon. Crimp the dough edges together using a little bit of water and the back of a fork. Be sure each hand pie is securely fastened so the filling will not leak out during frying.
Freeze the hand-pies for about half an hour to 45 minutes before frying. (They can keep in the freezer for up to two weeks like this.)
Frying (the fun part!):
If you're using a deep fryer, set the temperature to 375 degrees and follow the appliance instructions. The hand pies can be fried a couple at a time, and are ready when the dough turns a nice golden shade. I'd say about 4 minutes per batch, but be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
If you're using a regular pan to fry the pies in, add enough vegetable oil or Crisco shortening to get 1 1/2 inches of liquid. Place the pies in a few at a time when the oil temperature reaches 375 degrees. Flip them over when the bottom becomes a nice golden brown. They are ready when the whole turnover is golden brown.
When they're ready, remove the pies from the pan or deep fryer, and place on a prepared baking sheet lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Dust on a good helping of powdered sugar to each pie, and let cool a few minutes before serving. These can get super hot, so be sure not to serve them too soon.
Sit back and enjoy!