It’s early in these warm weather months and I’ve already jumped from a dock into a lake. And, to be honest, it was more of a reluctant fall into a lake than a confident jump because, well… everyone knows lakes are full of fish, moss, and lake monsters – enter at your own risk – which I did – and I’m here to tell the tale of that and, more importantly, fried pies.
The lake is Lake Martin. The state is Alabama. I have just a hint of a sunburn on my shins and the sway of that boat dock still in my bones.
The days feel just celebratory enough to fry our fresh fruit pies, in true Southern style. Buttery crisp handheld pockets of warm fruit. It’s summer picnic dreams made divine. And if you can work a lake dock into the mix, I really just don’t think it gets better than that. And here’s the thing – now here until September, we’re never not frying our little baby pies.
These sweet baby angel pies might feel like they combine two baking intimidations: making pie crust AND frying things.
You know I’m here to help.
Here are a few things to set you up for success:
MMKAY let’s fry pie!
We’ll start by making pie crust.
Flour, three cups. Sugar, 2 tablespoons. We’re using the sweetness to compliment the fruit.
Salt, because where there is sugar there is also salt. Balance.
My favorite way to get cold bits of butter into a pie crust – grate the butter on an old school box grater. The trick? Make sure the butter is very chilled – right from the refrigerator or a quick stint in the freezer and grate quickly.
(I quickly break up that butter nub into the flour mixture as my fingers approach the grater. I’ve grated my finger tip one too many times.)
Toss the flaked butter into the dry ingredients and quickly work the ingredients through your fingers. Working the butter into flour mixture for about 2 quick minutes.
Buttermilk to bring the pie crust together.
Enough to create a moist and shaggy dough. For me that’s about 1/2 cup but a tablespoon or two more won’t hurt anything.
Onto the counter goes the shaggy dough. Knead it together, working any dry patches into the more moist bits.
In about 10 to 12 kneads turns you’ll have a big disk of dough.
Fridge time is quality time.
The butter will rechill and the buttermilk will hydrate the whole shebang.
Divide the dough disk in half, rolling out half at a time into a roughly 10×14-inch rectangle.
The edges of your rolled ‘rectangle’ will be shaggy. Trim em up and bust out the kitchen ruler (in my case a tape measurer) to cut six even squares out of each half of dough.
My squares were 4 x 4 1/2 – inches.
Brush the top and right side of each square lightly with egg wash. It’s glue!
And dollop a generous 1 teaspoon of jam into the top right corner.
Top each jam dot with a few blueberries. Three or four will do.
Combine all the points, folding the square into a triangle.
Press lightly with fingers. The egg will help seal.
And a light fork crimping just to make sure the pies don’t leak blueberry in the fry oil.
Refrigerate the pie triangles. A little chill in the refrigerator makes handling and frying much easier.
I fried three pies at a time in about 2 1/2 inches of oil heated to 360 degrees F.
It sounds like math, but it’s just a few steps for frying success!
After four minutes or so – fried pie!
Dust the cooled pies with powdered sugar and pack them up for outdoor summer friend vibes… or just have at it. You deserve at least two warm pies, all to yourself.
The insides are juicy, sweet, and mellow. The outsides flakey and crisp and lightly sugared. As good as you think these are – they’re that good, maybe even better. The simplicity is why they shine. That… and the frying, and the summer, and the fresh blueberries.