Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Chocolate Fried Pies

That's not the way to feel about anything as delicious as Chocolate Fried Pies. In fact, it's an insult to a Southern delicacy that's rarely made these days! I hadn't thought about fried pies in a long time, but Saturday when my BFF Chocolate kept knocking on my front door... I caved and went into the kitchen and made myself (I say myself because my better half knows to keep his mitts off my chocolate cravings!) some homemade chocolate pudding. The recipe is from Hershey and it's simple: 

1/2 Cup Hershey's cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark Cocoa)
1 1/8 Cup sugar 
1/3 Cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
3 Cups milk
3 TBS butter 
1 1/2 tsp good vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, mix cocoa, sugar, cornstarch and salt, whisk well. Gradually add milk to dry ingredients in saucepan. Whisk til smooth and well blended. Cook over medium heat. Stir constantly. Mixture will come to a boil. Boil 1 minute, remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Whisk to blend. Pour into serving dishes, or into cooled baked 9" Pie Crust. Cover with plastic wrap. Cool in refrigerator 4-6 hrs. Or till firm. 

Now I grew up on this stuff and it's as different from the little square boxes of  Jello as day and night. 
It's Pure Comfort, Mama loves you, The World is Round Food. 
It will take you away from politics, or the state of the economy or even a failed relationship. I don't think it can cure cancer though, that would be great wouldn't it?

I ate a few spoonfuls when I was pouring it into serving cups, you know from the the pan. I had to do that, it's wasteful to leave any smidgen~ Then I put the plastic wrap on each serving and put them in the fridge. About 9pm I remembered them, oh daddy! The first bite was Heaven, but you know... it was little RICH! I used to be able to eat chocolate buttercream out of a bowl with a big spoon but age has robbed the glutton clean out of me. I get ACID REFLUX, if I abuse my stomach it's just not worth it. So I ate a few bites and put it back in the fridge : (

The next morning after a few cups of coffee, my brain started working again and I knew just what to do with that decadent chocolate pudding/pie filling! Chocolate Fried Pies... just like Mama used to make and Grandma and probably her Grandma.

It's easy as 1-2-3 to stir up the crust, no waiting for it to chill. You just measure out 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup Crisco and 1/2 cup milk. Cut in the Crisco into your flour and salt with a fork or your fingers, just work it into a flaky consistency. Then add the milk and stir gently to moisten. If it's just a little dry and won't pull together, add a teaspoon more milk. Pat into a disk and then divide up into about 10 balls. 

Flour your surface and roll out the balls to make little 5 inch circles, not perfect circles unless you want them to look like store bought Hostess Fried Pies and that's not what you are making. You're making Grandma's Fried Pies and she'd be mortified if you cut them out to make them perfect!

Add a dollop, a rounded tablespoon or two to each little pie. 

Then dip your finger in a bowl of water and run it around the edge of the crust. Fold over and press, crimp the edge with a fork and place on a plate in preparation of the frying of the pies!

Don't they look purty? 

Heat the oil up to medium high, to test you can dip the edge of the crust into the oil a little. If it's just right, it will bubble slightly.

Slip them in, one at a time and watch them like a 2 year old! Don't be trying to clean up the kitchen or put away the flour or answer a text cause this is where you can mess up quick! 

Patience Grasshopper, you are looking for golden brown. Not tan, not brown, golden. 

Drain on paper towels and admire each one as they come out of the pan. Talk to them, tell them 
"I love you!"

Last one, and you are finished!  

Luckily, we had company this weekend and the fried pies went home with them. There's few things more dangerous than a fried pie on the kitchen counter. Especially if it has chocolate filling!

That is all.

Fried Pies

Fruit fillings are delicious too... just boil down some dried fruit with sugar and water and a little spice.
6-7 ounces dried fruit (peaches, apples, apricots or even a mix of all three)
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/4 cup butter 
 T lemon juice 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp salt
1/2 C Crisco
1/2 C of milk 
Place dried fruit in a pot and add water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer until fruit is tender. Add butter, lemon juice and cinnamon, mash together with a potato masher or fork. Set aside to cool while dough is prepared.
In medium bowl, place flour and salt. Stir together. Cut in shortening with a fork or your 10 little fingers! Add in milk and stir until dough sticks together. Divide into ten portions. Roll each portion out on a floured surface into a five inch circle. Place two tablespoons of filling in each. Use your fingertip to wet the edges with water and fold over, crimping with a fork. Cook in oil which has been heated on medium heat, until golden browned on both sides, turning as needed. Remove to paper towel lined plate.

PRINT RECIPE (Chocolate Filling too)

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Waiting for the New Year

Susan Branch is one of my favorite artists. She is a talented writer, illustrator, author and her cookbooks transport me back to wonderful childhood memories. Her Christmas post was about a dinner party that she held recently. As eight dinner guests sat around a beautiful holiday meal, candles glowing, wine glasses sparkling... someone said, "You can always see the kid in a person if you look closely." There was a hush over the chatty table, guests leaned forward looking into the faces of each other. Suddenly they were transported back in time, little girls in party dresses and black patent shoes swinging back and forth under the table...little boys squirming and fidgeting in their seats trying to be good!

What an insightful notion, that inside each of us.... is that wide-eyed child of long ago. Waiting and hoping for snow on Christmas or that one special present under the tree. Thrilled with the simple pleasures of the lights on the Christmas tree or that delicious coziness of flannel pajamas and a hot cup of cocoa topped with marshmallows. 

Let this be our resolution for the New Year, to allow ourselves to recapture that sweet magic of childhood. To keep kindness in our hearts and expect good things to happen. We all need that special quality of youth to give us hope and encouragement for the New Year ahead!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Old Cookbooks

As we get closer to Christmas, my heart wrestles with the holiday favorites. The tried and trues versus the bright shiny new ones I find on Pinterest. I often cave in, trying the new recipes but sorely disappointed with the results. 

I can’t help but remember the pride I felt when I’d help with Christmas cookie making at Grandma’s house, each one cut with old aluminum shapes of Santa, Snowmen, stars and wreaths, also used for donuts!

Her cookbook looked like this, worn out, dog eared, with stains on nearly every page. Turning the pages was difficult, tucked in between the pages were recipes jotted down on envelopes or neatly clipped receipts from magazines or the local Harrison Daily Times. The Cook of the Week column ran for years, sharing the wealth of good recipes from cooks in the area.

Many of the recipes Grandma jotted down were only ingredients, after all she pretty much knew how to stir up a recipe and the really old recipes simply say “Bake in a hot oven until done.”

I treasure the old file cards that Mom, Aunt Burline or Aunt Joy sent me through the years, Woolworth Cheesecake, tomato pickles, Chicken Dumplings, divinity and fudge recipes from a dear cousin now gone. So all you Memory Makers out there, knee deep in your cookbooks and saved Pinterest recipes... try some new ones but don’t forget the old. They’re the ones with a secret ingredient, love!

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