Friday, July 12, 2013

Fried Pie.

Now, here is a decadent idea – Fried Pie. I can hardly wait for your memories and comments, my American friends. I understand that in the South, fried pie is, or used to be, a popular treat, and a useful way of using up the scraps of dough left over from making breakfast biscuits.

 Here is a little snippet about its use amongst Rebel prisoners during the Civil War, from the New York Times of August 31, 1863.

Fort Delaware.
An Inside View of Captive Rebeldom.
Wilmington, Delaware, Saturday, Aug. 22, 1863.
Twelve hundred letter reach the island daily for the prisoners, which are duly read and distributed, if not contraband. More or less money is constantly sent them, which they are allowed to spend at the sutler’s, a Yankee soldier acting as the go-between. The rebels buy in this way, molasses, fruit, extra pork, pie, and milk. They are not allowed to buy spirits. The inner portion of the sea-wall on the west side of their quarters, is constantly alive with cooks, operating over chip fires, with fire pans in which they fry pork, crackers, crumbs, a little fish taken from the ditches, and pie. A fried pie seems, from some reason or other, to be the most desirable, as it is, perhaps, the most expensive of these superaided and greasy luxuries. Imagine on the sloping foot of an embankment fifty or sixty individuals, such as I have described, begrimed with smoke and dirt, melting with the heat of the sun above and the fire below, a curious and motley crowd behind them, staring with envious eyes at the fortunate kitcheners, rich in fruition of crackers, skinned ells, pork-chop, and adamantine pie. This is the culinary apex of rebel prisonerdom.

And here are the instructions on how to make these treats:

Fried Pie.
A very good and saleable sort is precisely like Bismarcks except the shape. Cut out large flats, wet the edge, put a spoonful of fruit in the middle and double the side over like any other sort of turnover. Rise an hour and fry. Another sort of fried pie is made of common covered pie paste, in shape like a turnover, with a little fruit inside. Close the edges well Fry as soon as made, light colored, in hot lard. The others are a kind of fried bread and light. These are fried pie paste, yellow and crisp.
Cooking for Profit: A New American Cook Book Adapted for the Use of All who Serve Meals for a Price. Originally Published in the "San Francisco Daily Hotel Gazette” (1893) by Jessup Whitehead.


Aurora Lucia Marinella said...


Sweet potato Fried pies! I lived in Atlanta, Georgia, USA for the summer back in 1983-ish and pretty much *lived* on them. I'm going to have to try making some. Thanks! :)

Baydog said...

Cooking for profit. Now there's a novel idea!

SometimesKate said...

Once upon a time, 'lo these many years ago, McDonald's sold fried apple and cherry pies. They were much tastier than the current baked variety, not to mention had more filling. Back then, McDonald's was frying things in lard or suet or a combination thereof, which was the secret to their fries, IMO.

korenni said...

Does anyone have any idea what an "adamantine pie" is? Sounds like something you'd use as a doorstop!

The fried pies I've eaten (mostly in Memphis, Tennessee) were definitely made with pie crust, not biscuit dough -- I often make biscuits myself, and I can't imagine trying to use the dough for fried pies; I'd think it would fall apart. Of course, that kind of dough is often used for the kind of dumplings you put on top of a dish like chicken and dumplings and it holds together fine where it touches the liquid, so maybe it would be okay in a frying situation? I'd love to hear from anyone who has done this.

Shay said...

In reading a book about Paris under the Nazi occupation, I ran across a statement to the effect that people deprived of adequate nourishment develop an unusual appetite for fats and sweets.

(This was four or five years ago but I seem to remember that the author was referring to the popularity of pork and sugar on the black market).

Certainly, if you could not get enough bread, meat, eggs, fresh vegetables, etc, a fried pie which did not use those scarce commodities would be very popular.

The Old Foodie said...

Hello all, and thanks indeed for your moments. I am only just catching up with everything after being away for three weeks, hence the late response to your comments.
This fried pie idea does intrigue me very much - I am going to see what else I can find out about them.