Strawberry Fried Pie
Fried pies are best, well, fried. But baked pies are a little healthier. Directions for pan-fried, deep-fried and baked pies are below it’s your choice.
2 pints fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
1½ cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1½ cups, plus 2 tablespoons, all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces (see note)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold
3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
Note: Return butter pieces to the refrigerator immediately after cutting. Chill until pieces are very hard.
To make strawberry filling: It’s best to begin the filling the night before you want to make the pies.
Combine strawberries and sugar in a large bowl. Toss gently. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
In a saucepan, mix cornstarch and lemon juice until there are no lumps. Add strawberries, along with all the juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Cool completely.
To make dough: Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Using your fingers, pinch butter and shortening into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add 2 tablespoons water. Work crumbs and water together until dough comes together. Add 1 tablespoon water if needed, to make the dough smooth. If necessary, add 1 to 2 tablespoons more. Do not over-mix.
Form dough into disk; wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
To make pies: Remove dough from refrigerator; let it rest about 7 to 8 minutes. Cut dough into 2-ounce pieces (golf-ball sized).
Roll each piece into a 1/8-inch thick circle. Place about 3 tablespoons of cooled strawberry mixture, using mostly strawberries instead of jelly, on one half of the circle, leaving about 1 inch of dough around the sides. Fold other half over. Pinch dough together over the filling; use a fork to make crimped edges.
There will be some leftover jelly from the filling. There are just about enough strawberries to fill eight pies.
To bake pies: Heat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Melt ¼ cup butter. Brush melted butter over pies. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 375 degrees and continue baking about 20 minutes. Juice will ooze quite a bit while the pies bake. Fields says there’s no getting around it.
To pan-fry pies: Heat a thin layer of melted shortening, about 1/3 cup, in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Fry pies about 6 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Flip carefully. Add shortening, and reheat, as needed, to keep an even layer in the pan.
To deep-fry pies: Heat about 2 inches of melted shortening in a deep pot. (Make sure the pot is less than half full the oil will bubble high.) When oil is hot enough to shimmer, drop pies one at a time into pot. After about 2 minutes, the pie will rise to the surface. When pie is golden brown, remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
Any holes in the pie crust will let the bubbling oil in, which will then explode the pie, or make the filling soggy. So be careful.
Whichever method you use, serve pies immediately, or cool and store tightly covered for 2 to 3 days. The pies also freeze well, and can remain frozen up to a month.
Makes 8 pies.