Fried pies are probably the most nostalgic of Texas desserts. You have to remember that home ovens were not always that reliable until the 1940’s. Before that, it would be a wood stove, or a kerosene stove, according to my grandmother. Regulating the heat in one of those things had to be a royal pain. Can you imagine 100°F (38°C) weather trying to bake a pie? No thank you!
Fried Pies are Traditionally Texas!
Stove top desserts were the way to go before electric ovens. Fried pies could be made out of any old scrap of dough and filled with the fruit you have on hand. I decided some exotic mangoes would make a great filling. It was!
Fried Pies are Similar to Empanadas
Some of you might be wondering what the difference is between fried pies and empanadas, and frankly I can say with great confidence that there is no difference. There are certainly types of fillings that would be more traditional – Like pumpkin or pineapple fillings are usually in empanadas and cherry or peach would be found in fried pies. But the crusts are basically the same.
The difference is that empanadas can be sweet or savory, fried or baked. Fried pies are always sweet desserts.
There can be slight variations in pastry, however. Empanadas can be flaky and tender, or crispy. Fried pies should be all of the above – flaky, cake-y, and a little crispy. This dough recipe gets it balance of all three qualities correct.
I would not try using commercial jam for the filling. Runny jam or jelly could cause problems when you start frying. Apple pie filling might be a good experiment for fried pie filling, as it is the right thickness.
My great uncle always his mother’s/my great-grandmother’s fried pies were the best. I wish I had her recipe, but I have to believe this recipe is close.Print
Mango Filled Fried Pies
- Prep Time: 24 hours
- Cook Time: 2 minutes
- Total Time: 24 hours 2 minutes
- Yield: 16 pies 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Frying
- Cuisine: US
4 cups mangoes, peeled and chopped (660g)
Pectin for making jam (I used Pomona’s Universal Pectin)
½ cup to 2 cups sugar (100g-400g)
2 cups flour (240g)
½ cup cornstarch (64g)
¾ cup lard or vegetable shortening (150g)
¾ cup water or as needed (175ml)
Extra flour for rolling
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup sifted powdered sugar (200g)
1–2 tbsp. milk (15-30ml)
Prepare the mango jam/filling by following the instructions on the box of pectin. Different brands of pectin will give different results, but for this recipe I used Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The process is slightly more complicated than traditional pectin but the results are amazingly thick filling that will not run, and you can use less sugar, allowing for more fruit flavor. FYI I used ½ cup of sugar to 4 cups of fruit.
To make the crust, blend together the flour, cornstarch, salt and lard in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Feed the water into the food processor a little at a time until a ball forms. Turn the food processor off and remove the dough. Hand knead a few times on a floured surface so that the dough is springy and holds together. Place in a container and store in the refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to make the fried pies, divide the dough into 16 equal parts. Roll the dough on a floured surface so that you form circles. Place ¼ cup (60ml) of the mango jam in the middle of the circle, and fold over the dough to form a half circle. Press and crimp the edges of the fried pie until it is well sealed. Form all of the fried pies in the same fashion. (You may have extra jam filling left over, which you can enjoy on toast!)
Add about 3 cups (750ml) of vegetable oil to a 3 quart (3lt) saucepan for frying the pies. Heat the vegetable oil until it measure 350°F (176°C) on a deep frying thermometer. Prepare a pan by lining it with paper towels for draining the pies. Using two slotted spatulas or spoons, gently place a formed pie in the heated vegetable oil. Fry for about 20 seconds on each side until it is golden brown. Remove the pie to the prepared pan. Continue to fry the remaining pies.
When the pies have cooled slightly, combine the glaze mixture and drizzle over the pies.