From Denny: Here's a Southern food favorite: fried peach pies! This chef shares the secret to light and crispy sweet delights!
Classic fried peach pies
From: Chef Scott Peacock
Makes: 24 pies
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 1⁄4 cup lard
• 3 cups unbleached all-purposeflour
• 2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 8 to 12 tbsp. ice water
• Peach-fig filling
• Peanut oil for deep-fat frying
• 3 cups ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tbsp. cornstarch
• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
• 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1. Place butter and lard in the freezer for 10 minutes.
2. Place flour, salt and the 1 teaspoon sugar on a large cutting board. Mix them with your fingers to blend. Place cold butter and lard on flour mixture. Use a pastry scraper or large kitchen knife to roughly cut butter and lard into the flour mixture. (Some butter and lard will be finely cut in, and some will be in 1⁄2- to 3⁄4-inch pieces.)
3. Working quickly, gather the flour mixture in a mound. Use your fingers to shape a lengthwise trench through center. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the ice water along the length of the trench. With upturned fingers toss and fluff together flour mixture and water. Repeat to reshape, sprinkle ice water, and toss and fluff. After incorporating 8 tablespoons of ice water, dough should begin to clump. If necessary, repeat to add more water.
4. Gather rough dough with a pastry scraper. Working quickly, use the heel of your hand to smear (push away) egg-size pieces of dough, one at a time. Regather dough and repeat process.
5. Gather dough in mound. Wrap in a double-thickness of plastic wrap. Press with palms of hands to flatten. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.
6. On a lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough about 1⁄2-inch thick. Brush excess flour from surface of dough. Fold dough in thirds, brushing flour off the underside of dough as it is folded over. Lightly press layers together with a rolling pin. Wrap dough in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
7. On lightly floured surface, roll out cold dough to an even 1⁄8-inch thickness. With 3-inch round cutter, cut 24 circles, rerolling dough as needed. (If dough becomes warm, transfer to baking sheet and refrigerate about 5 minutes.)
8. Spoon a generous teaspoonful of filling on center of each circle. Lightly moisten dough edges. Fold in half, pinching edges to seal. Refrigerate sealed pies until ready to fry.
Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and nutmeg. Sprinkle over the diced peaches and toss. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the peaches soften and the sauce thickens. Stir in lemon juice. Cool completely before using.
Optional: Sweet potato filling (can be substituted for peach filling)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. On foil-lined baking sheet bake two medium-size sweet potatoes for 1-1/2 hours or until very soft. Meanwhile, remove stems and half dried figs (to equal 1/4 cup, packed). Place in small saucepan; barely cover with water. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, about 15 minutes until softened. Cool slightly, drain, and finely chop. Stir in 1 tablespoon honey; set aside. Remove potatoes from oven and cool slightly. Peel potatoes. In a large bowl mash potato flesh until smooth. Mix in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1-1/2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Stir figs into sweet potato mixture. Cool completely before filling pies.
1. Fill a very deep 10-inch cast-iron skillet half full with oil. Heat over medium heat to 365 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry pies, a few at a time, about 3 minutes, until golden brown, turning as needed to cook evenly.
2. Drain on cooling racks.
3. Cool slightly; roll in sugar.
Serve warm or at room temperature