Fried Apple Pies
Fried apple pies, oh my!
I absolutely love fried pies and I happen to be a self proclaimed connoisseur of these hand-size beauties!
My mama taught me how to make these when I was in my early teens. She made the best fried pies I have ever had and I could literally eat them all in just a couple of days!
Every fall we took a road trip to the mountains of North Carolina to purchase a large quantity of apples. There is nothing like an apple picked right out of the orchard! North Carolina has some of the very best apples I have ever tasted! Galas, Mutsu, Fuji, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady and Cameo are my favorites! When we arrived home, it was time to peel, core, cook and freeze or freeze dry the apples so we would have plenty of them available to make fried apple hand pies!
You can make your own filling with those fresh mountain apples like we do by cutting up the apples, adding sugar and cooking it down to the consistency of a pie filling, but what if you don't have time? No worries. If you need a short cut, just grab a can of apple pie filling and go for it! If you use apple pie filling from a can, just make sure you chop up the apples to ensure the pieces are bite size.
For the pastry / crust
2 1/4 cups self rising flour
1/2 heaping cup of shortening (this is not a time to substitute for butter!)
1 cup + buttermilk
For the filling
3 cups chopped apples
2/3 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
OR - 1 can apple pie filling
For the cinnamon sugar on top:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the pie filling:
In a sauce pan, combine apples, water, sugar, salt, butter and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer.
Cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat until the apples are tender. Keep them gently stirred.
Continue to cook until the mixture is thick and resembles pie filling. This needs to cool completely before filling the dough. [If the apples have too much liquid, you can add a mixture of corn starch and water to thicken.]
Note: If you are using canned pie filling, you won't need to heat this. Just chop up the apples into bite size pieces before filling the dough.
For the dough:
Combine the shortening with the flour in a large mixing bowl. Use a fork or a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the flour. You will know it is blended well when there are no large chunks of shortening remaining. The shortening will be about the size of peas.
Add the buttermilk and use your fork to gently stir to combine until there is no dry flour left inside the bowl. DO NOT do this with your hands because if you over-mix the dough, it will be tough. The dough should still be VERY sticky.
Turn the sticky dough out onto a surface that has been coated with plenty of flour.
Using your hands, shape the dough into a semi-circle about 1 inch thick.
Sprinkle more flour on top of the semi circle, press down with your hands gently and fold it in half. Press it down to about 1 inch thickness.
Sprinkle more flour on top of the semi-circle, press down a bit with your hands and fold the dough in half.
Repeat this process several more times until the dough is easy to work with and it is no longer sticky. This varies depending on the dough. I usually average about 5-8 times. The idea here is to add flour until it is no longer sticky, but you DO NOT want to squish the dough through your hands. If you over-knead the dough, it will be tough.
Once the dough is manageable, use a rolling pin to roll it out into a large circle. It should be about the thickness of 7-10 sheets of paper.
Cut out circles using a large cutter. If you don't have a large biscuit or cookie cutter, you can use the top of a wide-rimmed cup, lid or glass, or anything with a large circle about the diameter of your hand. You can also make "mini" versions of this by using a regular size biscuit or cookie cutter, just make sure you don't overfill them with filling.
Place a spoonful of filling in the center of the circle.
Fold the circle in half and seal the edges with a fork.
Heat the oil in a skillet. When it has reached frying temperature, gently place one layer of pies in the skillet.
Fry these on medium to medium high until they are slightly brown. Turn them over to ensure both sides brown.
Remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel to drain about 30 seconds before rolling them in the cinnamon sugar.
Return them to a pan lined with paper towels to cool.