Monday, October 1, 2012

fried apple pies

I have a confession to make.  Up until my daughter was born, my husband and I had a tradition.  Every time we went to Europe, we would find a McDonalds.  I know, I know. What kind of jerk travels around the world to fabulous destinations like Amsterdam, Berlin, and Switzerland, to be surrounded by delicious, genuine, local fare that you would never really find in the States, only to go to a McDonalds?

This jerk, that's who.  Why?

Three words:   fried      apple      pie.

That delightfully greasy, flaky, molten lava hot deliciousness is not available in the States anymore.  And until 2007, I could only find it overseas.  In 2007, however, McDonalds put that awful baked apple pie on the menu everywhere.  My beloved fried apple pie was gone.

Why I had never thought to make it before is beyond me.  Maybe I was in denial.  Maybe I was trying to forget the apple pie of my eye, so that it couldn't hurt me anymore.  Whatever the reason, the time for grief and woe is past.  This is the dawning of a new era.  A new era that includes fried apple pies.

Whenever I want.

fried apple pie

1 half of a double crust pie dough (recipe to follow)
4 apples, peeled and chopped
3 tbs Earth Balance butter
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbs brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
scant 1/8 tsp allspice

Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.  If you put in a thermometer, it should reach about 350˚F.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and sugar together in a skillet over high heat.  Add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice, and cook, stirring often, until tender with crisped edges, about 10 minutes.  

Take 1 dough patty and roll it out into a rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick.  Cut the large rectangle into 4 smaller rectangles, or rectangle-like shapes (which is what mine turned out to be).  Put a couple tablespoons of the apple mixture on one side of the shape.  Be sure to leave about a half inch dough border.  Smear a watery finger along the dough border, and fold the other side of the shape to seal.  Crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers.  Or both, as in my case.  

I probably could have made them look neater, or I could have taken better pictures, but with the constant chorus of "Fried apple pie.  Fried apple pie!  Fried apple pie, mama!!  Fried apple pie!!!" I had to move quickly.  The natives definitely won that war....

pie dough for double crust pie

2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 sticks Earth Balance dairy free butter, cubed and very cold (I will cube my butter first and put it in a bowl and into the freezer while I get my other ingredients together)
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt (the Earth Balance is salted, so I usually omit the salt here, or at most I'll add a pinch.  If you use unsalted butter however, add the salt)
8 tbs ice cold water, give or take

This dough is fantastic.  I usually freeze half to ensure I can throw together a pie at any given moment.  Because you never really know when you'll need a pie.  Which happens over here.  A lot. 

I have done this by hand for years, but just recently I started using the food processor.  I have found that since having kids, I am usually in a hurry.  Food processor pie dough is perfect.  But you have to be careful not to over process.  You want to be able to see chunks of butter throughout the pie dough because when the butter melts, it forms pockets of buttery steam which is what makes the dough light and flaky.  If you don't want to use a processor, than by all means, just mix it with your hands or a pastry blender until the butter is about the size of small peas.

Put flour, sugar, and salt into food processor.  Pulse a couple of times to blend dry ingredients together. Add butter all at once and give it about 5 pulses.  I don't like to pulse it too much here, because there is more pulsing to come and at the end, I want my butter in bigger chunks.  Add the water, a couple of tablespoons at a time.  Pulse 2 or 3 times after each addition, just to mix it in.  The pulses should be very quick.  The butter chunks should be the size of large breadcrumbs or small peas.  

Once the dough has come together, turn it out and gather it into a flat ball.  Cut it into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other.  Wrap each patty in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for at least an hour to let the dough rest.

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