Saturday, November 19, 2011
Deep Fried Apple Pies
Okay. I know what you're thinking. Deep fried apple pies? For Thanksgiving? Why....YES! Come to think of it, these are perfect for any time of the year. I'm planning to make these next week and I'm sure they'll be a hit with everyone :-)
Now what gave me the brilliant idea to make these delectable treats? Well, I actually went to my favorite fast food restaurant and ordered their famous apple pie. It's been decades since I've enjoyed these pies so I thought I'd try them again. But much to my surprise, when I got my pie, it wasn't the same pie I knew from many years ago. What happened to the golden crispy crust? What happened to that intoxicating aroma that wafted up to your nose before you even opened the box? And, wait...a...minute, what happened to the cute red box?!?
What?!? They've replaced it?!?
Alright alright alright. So they're trying to make things healthier nowadays. Kudos to them. I can respect that. But I sure do miss those fried apple pies. Don't you? So for nostalgia's sake, I decided to take a crack at making these sweet pastries from scratch. And since it's the holidays, I thought wouldn't it be nice to take my friends and family down memory lane with me? Of course.
First, I wanted to recapture that ooey gooey apple filling. When I'm making apple pies, I like to use two or three different types of apples. I think this gives the apple filling a nice balance of flavors and textures. So for these fried apple pies, I chose Granny Smith for its tartness, Rome Beauty for its firm texture and mild sweetness, and then Jonagold for its blend of tartness and sweetness. I cooked the apples with some brown sugar and cinnamon then I used a simple water/cornstarch mixture to thicken it.
For the crust, I borrowed an idea from my mom. She used to make pineapple pies back in the Philippines and she made an empanada dough for the crust. I thought that would be the ideal crust for my fried apple pies as well. It was nice and flaky and had a wonderful golden color when it was fried. I added a touch of brown sugar just to give the crust a bit of sweetness.
Instead of making the pies rectangular-shaped like the ones in the fast food place, I chose to shape them the old-fashioned way. I don't know about you, but these crescent-shaped pies made me think of a time when life was much simpler. That's probably why we love comfort food so much. They remind us of happier times and maybe it's a way for us to reconnect to our past.
In my case, I used to love these fried apple pies when I was a kid. I guess I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about happier times during my childhood when the holidays roll around. It's kinda nice that I can whip up something in the kitchen and relive those food memories all over again and pass them down to my little ones. I wonder what food memories they'll have of their childhood :-)
I hope you'll take a trip down memory lane with me and make these fried apple pies. If you're pressed for time, it's okay to use store-bought pie dough. You can also serve these with some vanilla ice cream and maybe drizzle them with some caramel sauce.
Deep Fried Apple Pies
Makes 10-12 pies, depending on how big you want them
Allergy Note: contains wheat ingredients
3 apples (i.e. Granny Smith, Gala, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Rome Beauty ) peeled, cored and cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
2-3 Tbs. brown sugar (depending on the apples you choose, you may need more or less brown sugar)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. water
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice cold water
vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
cinnamon sugar (1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon plus 1/2 cup sugar), optional
*You can substitute with store-bought pie dough. They're usually found in the frozen food aisle near the cookie dough.
To make the apple filling:
Combine apples, 1/2 cup water, sugar and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until apples are slightly tender. Mix together the tapioca starch and water. Stir into the apple mixture until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
To make the pie dough:
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the shortening into tiny pieces until the flour mixture resembles the texture of cornmeal. add a little bit of milk and stir gently with a fork If the mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add the remaining water, 1 teaspoon at a time for the smaller quantity of dough, a tablespoon at a time for the larger quantity, until the dough holds together easily.
To assemble the pies:
Roll the pie dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and cut circles of about 4-5 inches in diameter. You can use a cookie cutter or place a ramekin on top of the pie dough and cut around it using a paring knife. Scoop about a tablespoon of filling and place into the center of each circle. Fold over and seal by pressing a fork all around the edges. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
To cook the pies:
Heat oil in a skillet or deep fryer to 375 F degrees. (Tip: An easy way to test if the oil is hot enough is by dropping a small piece of dough into the oil. If the dough starts bubbling fast, then the oil is hot enough. If the bubbles are slow, the oil isn't hot enough) Fry each pie till golden brown around the edges. Use tongs to gently flip over gently and cook the other side for one minute.
Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar while it's hot. Serve immediately.