Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mamaw Harkleroad's Fried Pies

My Grandmother Bessie Lee Stokes Harkleroad was a wonderful cook, what I remember of her food was it was very simple and tasty.  She passed away when I was 10, so I didn't get to enjoy much of her cooking.  One thing I remember were her fried apple pies.  She made them with her biscuit dough, rolled them out and filled them with fried apples. She would then fry them in a cast iron skillet in a little butter and oil.

This type of pastry is similar to a Mexican empanada.  Unlike pie dough, this biscuit dough if soft and very flavorful. I'll give you an easy biscuit recipe to follow.

1 batch of biscuit dough
2 apples (diced small)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbs sugar
1 pinch of salt
3/4 stick butter (divided into 4)
2 tbs oil

Biscuit Dough
1 cup self rising flour
1/4 cup shortening
1/3 - 1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs sugar

Sift flour into a bowl, add and whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.  Work in the shortening either with a pastry blender, fork, or your fingers until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Add the buttermilk gradually while stirring it in. When all the dough is combined, dust it with flour, as well as dust your rolling pin.

In a saute pan, melt 1/4 stick of the butter, add the apples, sugar, and cinnamon.  Saute until the apples have softened and the sugar is making the apples all tan and sticky.  Take the pan off the eye and set aside.

Knead the dough 8 or 10 times and divide the dough into fourths, roll each piece into a ball between your hands and dust it well with flour.  On your kitchen counter or cutting board, lay down a piece of clear plastic wrap, and dust it with flour. Have another piece of plastic wrap ready.  Flatten the ball of dough in a circle, dust well and lay the other piece of plastic over it.  Roll these out into a thin flat circle 6 to 7 inches across, about the size of a saucer.

Add a fourth of the apple mixture into the middle of the dough circle.  Moisten the edges with water and fold it over.  Use a fork to crimp the edge.  Repeat this process with all the dough until you have your 4 pies.

My skillet only has room for two, so I do them in batches.  Melt the 1 tbs of butter and a tbs of oil in the MED heat skillet, and fry each side until done, brown and crispy.  Try to only turn it once, these are delicate and can break if you handle them too much.

You can use Splenda with this recipe if you're watching your sugar, but I don't have the conversion on the amounts. You also could bake these, but they are so much better fried.  I like them like they are, but you can glaze them if you'd like.

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs warm milk

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  You might need to adjust the milk a bit to the consistency you like.  It should be a little runnier than buttercream frosting.

To my Mamaw Harkleroad, I love you and still miss you.  I think about you often what a wonderful beautiful soul you were.  I was very lucky to have two wonderful Grandmothers.  My maternal Grandmother Marylee Burnette was also a sweet lady and a wonderful cook.  I didn't get much time with either of them, but what little I did was great.  God Bless my Grandmothers.



  1. A beautiful tribute to a wonderful cook and a delightful soul, I was blessed to spend a great deal of time with her, she had a wonderful sense of humor, that was passed to my dad & you as well. She & daddy had the same twinkle in their eyes when telling something funny. Love you Tim

  2. It's wonderful that you have a good recipe from her. I do wish I had met my grandparents.

    Sounds good Tim.

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