Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fried Cinnamon Cherry Pies

Dear Readers,

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. 

Cherry Filling:
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
Powdered sugar

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! 

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