Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fried Peach Pies In Cinnamon Crust

Ingredients for the filling:
1 cup sugar
4 cups fresh (or frozen and thawed) peach slices, peeled
4 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cornstarch

Vanilla bean ice cream, for serving

Ingredients for the crust:
2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface
3 T sugar, plus extra for sprinkling the pies
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 T cream cheese, diced and chilled
9 T solid vegetable shortening, chilled, plus more for frying
4 to 6 T ice water

Preparing the pies:
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine the sugar, peach slices, cloves, and nutmeg. Mix until blended. Bring mixture to a boil; turn down heat and allow mixture to simmer until the peaches are softened, 20 to 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peaches from the saucepan and place in a small bowl. Reserve 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the peach liquid in the saucepan and discard the rest. Return the peaches to the saucepan.

In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and the cornstarch. Whisk cornstarch mixture into the peach mixture, stirring until combined. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep from sticking; mixture will be very thick. Transfer peach mixture to a clean bowl and chill for 1 hour, or until completely chilled.

To make the crust, sift together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the chilled cream cheese and shortening and, working with your hands or a fork, mix until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time and gently mix until the dough begins to stick together. Form dough into a round disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and divide the dough into 8 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough piece into a thin circle, about 6-inches in diameter. Place 1/4 cup of the chilled peach filling into the center of each dough round. Fold the dough over, making a half-moon shaped pastry, trim any excess dough leaving a 1/2-inch edge around the filling, and crimp the edges together with a fork. Chill pies for 30 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet, melt vegetable shortening to a depth of about 1/2-inch. Heat the shortening to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and sprinkle sugar lightly over the paper towels. Fry pies in skillet, in batches, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the tops of the pies with sugar. Serve immediately with vanilla bean ice cream.


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