Anatomy of a Classic: Fried and True
Strawberry-Moonshine Fried Pies
(Makes 10 individual pies)
4 cups strawberries, trimmed and cut into quarters
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. commercial moonshine or grappa, divided
1 tsp. chopped orange zest
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. salt
In a bowl that will fit in your refrigerator, add strawberries, sugar, 2 tablespoons of moonshine or grappa, orange zest, juice, and vanilla. Mix gently to combine and chill at least 6 hours or overnight. Place chilled mixture in a large saucepan and begin to simmer. Meanwhile, mix water, cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon moonshine in a small bowl. When the berries are tender, about 5 minutes, stir in the cornstarch mixture, butter, and salt, and cook about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the texture resembles jam. Chill.
4 cups all-purpose flour
2½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup vegetable shortening or good-quality lard
¾ to 1 cup ice water
Oil for frying
Mix together flour and salt.Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, rub the shortening or lard into the flour until mixture resembles a very coarse meal. Add water ¼ cup at a time, mixing until dough comes together but is not too sticky. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least an hour. (The dough will keep a couple of days in the refrigerator.)
Sugar Coating Ingredients
2 cups sugar
3 tsp. orange zest
Sugar Coating Preparation
In a large bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Set aside.
To Assemble the Pies:
On a floured surface, roll half the dough into a circle about ¹⁄8 -inch thick and cut into circles 6 inches across. The lid from a large coffee can or plastic container works well. Repeat with remaining dough.
Gently form trimmed parts into a ball, and reroll and cut rounds until you have 10 circles.
Mix the egg and a teaspoon of water into a wash. With your finger or a pastry brush, coat the outer edge of the circle. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of strawberry filling in the center, then carefully fold the dough together over the filling, making sure no filling touches the rim of the dough. Crimp the edges together firmly to make a seam across the top of the filling.
In a deep-fat fryer or a pan on the stovetop, heat oil to 350 degrees. Gently fry pies a few at a time, leaving room for them to float freely in the oil. Cook for about 8 or 9 minutes, until dough is crisp and lightly browned. Remove to crumpled newspaper or paper towels or a rack set over a baking sheet. Cool slightly.
One at a time, place each pie in the bowl of sugar and toss to coat completely.
Serve plain or with ice cream.
Meet the Chef : Joe Trull
Hometown: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Current restaurant: Grits and Groceries, Belton, South Carolina
On the menu: Carolina shrimp gravy and grits, smoked chicken and sausage jambalaya, Hattie Mae’s tomato pie, praline bacon
Must-have while cooking: Music, preferably jazz or blues
Secret passion: Writing poetry
Recent culinary victory: Winning a local Girl Scout dessert cook-off