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Sweet and Spicy Fried Peach Pies

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Yields twelve.

Fried hand pies are a southern tradition; this one makes the most of summer peaches, with hot pepper jelly and a hint of cayenne for a spicy kick.

For the dough
  • 11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4-1/2 oz. (9 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbs. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
For the filling
  • 1 lb. 2 oz. firm-ripe peaches (2 large), peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (2-1/2 cups)
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. hot pepper jelly
  • 1-1/8 tsp. cinnamon
  • Pinch plus 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • Peanut or canola oil, for frying
Make the dough
Tip:
The lemon juice in the pastry helps produce a flaky, tender crust. Gluten, responsible for tough pastry, develops when flour is combined with liquids. The addition of an acid inhibits this process.

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 pulses. Add the milk and lemon juice and pulse until the dough just starts to come together, 8 to 10 pulses more. Do not overprocess. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface, gather it into a rectangle, and flatten slightly. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 3 days.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. On a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it’s 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough with a 4-inch round cookie cutter into 12 circles. (If necessary, gather the scraps and reroll once.) Shingle the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate.

Make the filling

Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with several inches of ice water. Set a smaller metal bowl in the water.

In a heavy-duty 3-quart saucepan, combine the peaches with 1/3 cup of the sugar, the lemon juice, and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the peaches have softened and released some of their juices, about 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 1 Tbs. cold water. Add the slurry to the peach mixture and cook over medium-low heat until thickened, about 1 minute. Add the hot pepper jelly, 1/8 tsp. cinnamon, and a pinch of cayenne. Remove from the heat and stir to blend. Transfer the mixture to the bowl in the ice bath and cool.

Assemble the pies

Brush the perimeter of each dough round with water. Put a rounded tablespoon of filling in the center of each round. Fold the dough in half to form a half-moon shape and pinch the edges together to seal. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 15 minutes and up to 24 hours before frying.

Fry the pies

Combine the remaining 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne in a shallow bowl and reserve.

Have ready a large rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels. Fill a 10-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) with 1/2 inch of oil. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure it doesn’t touch the bottom. Heat the oil to 365°F and fry the pies in two batches until golden-brown, 1 to 1½ minutes per side. With a slotted spoon, remove the pies from the pan, drain on the paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and then dredge in the cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature. These pies are best the day they’re made.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 270; Fat (g): 9; Fat Calories (kcal): 80; Saturated Fat (g): 5; Protein (g): 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Carbohydrates (g): 47; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 20; Cholesterol (mg): 75; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Alexandra Grablewski

So, so yummy. I ate 4! No problem with dough, though my peaches were a bit runny. I just drained them a bit on the spoon before adding the filling to the dough.

Not successful for me. Like some others, dough was very crumbly. Had challenges getting a good seal with the filling oozing out. Lastly, my dough wasn't cooked through after following the cooking time of the recipe. I have some leftover filling so may try again with thinner circles and less filling.

I made these for a gift for someone and they were delicious! The process was a little cumbersome and that would be the only reason I hesitate to make them again. Making a whole pie is easier but these would be perfect for a summer picnic.

This year we made these for a dinner party and our guests loved them. They are the perfect dessert for any dinner that needs something sweet!

Loved these pies! The dough was a little hard to work with. Next time I will make a flatter rectangle before refrigerating and let it sit at room temp for a few minutes before rolling. The pies fried up beautifully and the dough was light and flaky. I did omit the hot pepper jelly, since I didn't have any on hand.

This dough was the worst! It never came together--totally crumbly. I worked my butt off to get something out of it. I could only manage to roll out dough to have 5 hand pies. No matter how hard I rolled out the dough, it was super thick! It fried alright (I used a cast iron and peanut oil). The dough cooked but the insides were definitly chewy. My husband loved it though and said it tasted like a peach churro. I would make this again but NOT with this dough. Does anyone have a good alternative for a fried hand pie? I also made the blackberry hand pie--perfection!! I wonder if I could use this dough?

I followed all directions exactly for making the dough (1/8" thick) and frying the pies (365F), but the dough inside the pies after frying for 3 minutes (1.5 minutes on each side)was uncooked and inedible. I lowered the temperature to 350 and fried the last batch for 15 minutes total. They were a little better but still not cooked all the way on the inside. Does anyone have suggestions (time and oil temp.) for frying them so the inside is cooked?

I could not get the dough to be the right consistency!!!!!! I followed the recipes exactly and the dough came out crumbly and unmanageable. I tried it 4 times and I gave up. I then made the filling and cooked a normal pie. It was delicious! I later found out that you should be careful with dough recipes that use measurements rather than ratio because altitude makes a difference. i am in a high altitude so it might be the reason the dough didn't work. I will try it again and use more milk.

Oh MY! These are so awesome! SO worth every bit of effort and when taken step by step, a cinch to pull off.

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