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Autumn is by far my favorite season. I love the crisp air, the falling leaves, and, most importantly, the food. Autumn is when I feel like baking bread, making soup, and baking pies.
Recently I went apple picking with my husband, Red, and sure enough, like many people do, we came home with far too many apples. I love apples, and could eat them all day long, but we came home with 20 pounds of apples. Red loves to make apple pies, but eight pies later, we'd both had our fill — and we still had pounds and pounds of apples to use up. So, I thought back to the days of my youth — when diabetes and high cholesterol were strictly the fears of old people — to McDonalds fried apple pies. I like apple pies, and I like fried things, so what could possibly be better? (The answer: nothing.)
2 1/2 pounds apples; peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
Splash Grand Marnier, rum, and/or brandy (optional, but highly recommended)
2 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons shortening
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Alternately, you can use packaged biscuits (like Pillsbury) for the crust. This will give you a lighter, fluffier crust, but it doesn't keep as well, and should also be cooked immediately prior to eating.
Using either a pastry blender or your fingertips, mix the flour, butter, shortening, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk an egg in the milk, drizzle over the flour mixture, and gently stir until just combined. Squeeze some dough together. If it doesn't hold add milk — 1 teaspoon at a time — until it holds together. Knead the dough three (3) or four (4) times. Separate the dough into two (2) balls, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Heat three (3) tablespoons of butter over high heat. Add the apples and toss until glazed in the butter. Reduce the heat to medium, and cover for about five to seven minutes. Increase the heat to high, then add the sugars, cinnamon, and liquor. Cook the apples at a rapid boil, until the apples break down and the filling becomes syrupy.
Divide each ball into six (6) pieces, and roll out into a 6" circle. Alternately, you can use this Progressive 4-piece Dough Press Set which is a handy cutter, folder, and crimper all in one. Place two heaping spoonfuls of filling, fold in half, and crimp with the tines of a fork. Transfer to a large piece of either floured parchment or wax paper, and repeat until the dough is used up.
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat to 360 degrees. Fry pies two (2) or three (3) at a time, turning occasionally until a deep golden brown. Place fried pies on a cooling rack. Let pies cool slightly, then sprinkle powdered sugar over the tops, and serve.
Reheat oil between batches.
Story and Photo Copyright 2009 Shoestring, LLC.