Saturday, January 3, 2015


I've decided to kick off 2015 with a new pie project -- a pie a week for fifty-two weeks to represent each of the fifty states, as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. I'll go in alphabetical order starting with the state of Alabama, otherwise known as the "Heart of Dixie." Here are some other interesting facts about Alabama -- the pecan is the state's official nut, peach and blueberries are the state's fruits, residents are called Alabamians, it introduced Mardi Gras to the western world, and it is against the state law to wrestle bears, flick your boogers into the Alabama wind, or drive blindfolded. Alabama is also the birthplace of baseball great Hank Aaron, boxer Joe Louis, crooner Nat King Cole, and actress and libertine Tallulah Bankhead.

ph via eatin on the cheap

Fried hand pies are believed to have originated in Alabama. To make a fried pie, a small amount of filling is spooned onto a round piece of rolled-out pie dough. Then the pastry is closed in the shape of a half moon, sealed at the edges, and fried in deep fat. The pies are dusted with powdered sugar and eaten hot. Fillings for these delicate half-moon pastries are usually fruit...peaches or peach butter.

Fried Peach Hand Pies

6-7 ounces dried fruit, peaches *
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk (more or less)

  1. Place six ounces dried fruit in a pot and cover with two cups of water. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer until they are tender and soft, approximately twenty minutes. To test, press down on one with a fork to see if it mashes up a bit liked a boiled potato, if so, it is ready. 
  2. Turn off the heat and add butter, sugar, cinnamon, and a splash of lemon juice. 
  3. Use a potato masher or fork to mash ingredients together. 
  4. Now make the pastry. Place flour and salt into a mixing bowl; stir together. Add shortening to the flour and cut it in until it resembles coarse meal. Add a little milk, one teaspoon at a time, until dough pinches and holds together. You don't want a wet dough. 
  5. Dump onto floured surface and press dough together into a ball. Divide into 10 balls of dough.
  6. Place ball on a floured surface. You can roll out the dough on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap for easier cleanup. Roll out each ball into 5 or 6-inch circle.
  7. Place about two tablespoons of filling in the center of each circle. Dip the tips of your fingers in water and run them around the outer edge of the dough, fold over in half into half-moon shape, and then crimp edges together with fork prongs.
  8. Heat one inch of oil in a medium to large sized skillet, to 350 degrees. Place pies in hot oil and cook until brown on both sides, turning once or twice to cook them evenly.
  9. Place on paper towel lined plates to soak up excess oil.
  10. Serve as is, or sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

* recipe using fresh peaches
8 peaches
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
  1. Peel and dice peaches. In a medium saucepan, bring peaches and sugar to a rolling boil. 
  2. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/2 c water. Add to boiling peaches. Return to low boil. Boil until filling is thick. 
  3. Allow filling to cool completely before making pies (overnight in the fridge works best). 
* recipe using canned peach pie filling
1 (21 ounce) can peach pie filling

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