Mama Lorren’s Fried Pies
My father traveled a lot for work. It wasn’t uncommon to wave goodbye to him on Christmas Day as he headed to the furniture shows in New York, Chicago and Atlanta. He was a jet setter even before it was a normal way to travel for today’s businessmen. In the 50’s and early 60’s the planes weren’t nearly as big as they are now and it was exciting to visit the control tower where they actually let little kids in to visit.
On every trip, Dad always stopped by to see his parents in Calhoun, Georgia. I’m sure he enjoyed visiting with them and catching up on the family news but to me, it meant fried pies tucked into his suitcase for the trip home.
These were not your ordinary fried pies like the beautiful ones on the web or from the fabulous cooks of the world. They were good ole’ Southern fried pies, made with dried fruit, wrapped in wax paper and smashed flat between Dad’s clothes for a week. I thought that was the only way they came.
Today, I’m visiting my sister in the Seattle area, talking old memories and feeling a need for some fried pies. We ventured out in the cold rain for supplies and have spent the day assembling the pies tucking little verbal memories in each one. The kitchen is bright with chatter and warmth. Life is good.
Don’t think I’ll bother with the suitcase treatment today, just can’t wait to taste those fried pies.
Fried Fruit Pies
~Southern Plate Cookbook by Christy Jordan
6-7 ounces dried fruit (I used apricots but peaches or apples also taste good, oh yes, there were some prune ones as well.)
2 c. water
1 c. sugar
4 T. butter
1 T. lemon juice
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Place the dried fruit in a large saucepan and add the water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the fruit is tender and the sugar is dissolved, about 20 minutes.
Add all the other ingredients and mash together with a potato masher or fork. Set aside while you prepare the dough.
To make the dough, in a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a long-tined fork. Add the milk and stir until the dough sticks together. Divide into 10 portions. Roll each portion out on a floured surface into a 5- or 6-inch circle. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in each. Wet the edges and fold over, crimping with a fork.
In a large skillet, pour the oil to a depth of ¼ inch and heat over medium heat. Add 2 fruit pies to the skillet of hot oil and fry until browned on both sides, 3-4 minutes, turning as needed. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
Makes 10 pies.