Mixed berry fried pies are the perfect summer time treat. Blueberries and strawberries are simmered with sugar and fried in a flaky pie crust.
Whoever invented the fried pie should be given a posthumous James Beard Award. Think about it. Everything that is good about pie packaged into a neat little handheld package. Then deep fried. As we say in the South, everything is better fried.
While we can’t take credit for the invention of fried pies down here, they are undoubtedly a popular treat. Roadside stands and farmer’s market booths selling homemade fried pies, also known as hand pies, can be found all over the state.
Make the Filling First
You never want to fill a pie with hot filling. It will cause your pie crust to go soft an mushy and make it nearly impossible to cut the dough and crimp the edges. Prepare the pie filling first, then allow it to cool while you prepare the crust.
Fried pies can be filled with just about anything and come in both sweet and savory versions. I want to go with a fun, patriotic theme for my pies, so I chose blueberries and strawberries for my filling. Fresh or frozen blueberries can be used without thawing. For the strawberries, I recommend fresh or thawed strawberries. We want to chop the strawberries into smaller pieces first.
You’ll need two medium sized saucepans to get started. In the first pan, heat two cups of fresh or frozen blueberries over medium heat until the berries start to release their juices. This should take between five and seven minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice to the pan.
Next, sift together 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, one tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Add to the pan and stir to combine. Return the berries to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook until berries are soft and juice has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Set the pan aside to cool.
Now for the strawberry filling. In the second saucepan, heat two cups of hulled and crushed strawberries over medium heat until they start to release their juices, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low.
Gradually whisk in 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of cornstarch. Simmer the berries until the juices thicken, approximately 3-5 minutes. Set the pan aside to cool.
Make and Cut the Pie Crust
You’ll need enough dough for (4) pie crusts measuring approximately 12-inches across and 1/8-inches thick. You can use either store bought crusts or make your own homemade pie crust.
I used the largest cutter out of this star-shaped cookie cutter set. It measures 3. 5” inches wide. You don’t have to use a star shaped cutter. Any 3.5 – 4 inch cookie cutter will do.
Lay the dough out flat. Cut the dough into 32 star shapes. These can be cut ahead of time. Just be sure to store them covered in the fridge do the dough doesn’t dry out or become soft.
Assemble the fried pies
Lay 16 star shapes out in a single layer on a clean work surface. Carefully spoon one tablespoon of blueberry filling into the center of 8 pie crust stars. Repeat with the strawberry filling.
Gently place one remaining pie crust stars over the top of each of the filled pies. Dip the tines of a fork in flour and carefully seal all the edges of the pies. Using a sharp knife, carefully poke 3-4 tiny slits in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape. Place the pies in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
Fry Them Up
Heat 2-3 cups of vegetable oil in a large skillet. I prefer to use a cast iron skillet when I’m frying. One the oil is hot, add the pies to the hot oil a few at a time. Don’t crowd the pan. The pies will stick together and cook unevenly. It can also cause your oil temperature to drop.
Fry the hand pies two minutes on one side. Carefully flip the pies over and fry for an additional minute until the crust is golden brown.
Immediately remove the fried pies from the hot oil. Drain them paper towels. Serve warm.
How to Store Leftover Pies
Leftover fried pies can be stored at room temperature for up to five days in an airtight container with waxed paper layered in between.
To reheat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 5-10 minutes.
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Mixed Berry Fried Pies
For the blueberry fried pies:
- 2 cups whole blueberries fresh or frozen
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the strawberry fried pies:
- 2 cups hulled and crushed strawberries
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Dough for four pie crusts
For the blueberry pies:
- Heat blueberries in a medium saucepan over medium heat until they start to release their juices, about 5-7 minutes
- Add the lemon juice.
- Sift the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon together. Add the mixture to the berries and stir to combine.
- Bring berries to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and cook until berries are soft and juice has thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
For the strawberry fried pies:
- Heat strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until they start to release their juices, about 3-5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium low.
- Gradually whisk in the cornstarch.
- Simmer the berries until the juices thicken, approximately 3-5 minutes.
To assemble the pies:
- Roll out each pie crust until it is about 1/8-inch thick and 12-inches in diameter.
- Using a 3.5-inch star-shaped cookie cutter, cut the dough into 32 star shapes.
- Carefully spoon one tablespoon of blueberry filling into the center of 8 pie crust stars. Repeat with the strawberry filling.
- Gently place the remaining pie crust stars over the top of the filling.
- Dip the tines of a fork in flour and carefully seal all the edges of the pies. Place the pies in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
- Heat 2-3 cups of vegetable oil in a large skillet.
- Add the pies to the hot oil a few at a time. Fry for two minutes on one side. Carefully flip the pies over and fry for an additional minute until the crust is golden brown.
- Drain pies on paper towels.