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.
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.