Sunday, April 22, 2012

Turn Over the Pies

My Granny is such a giver.  She told me she was going to cook up a batch of fried peach pies for my aunt, who was visiting from Detroit.  Granny knows how her children and grandchildren feel about those pies, so she knew I would want to learn how to cook them too.  I was so excited to get there to start my lesson.  Unfortunately, Granny had already done some of the prep work to the peaches….
She likes to let them marinate in sugar over night or at least 3-4 hours before making the pies.  Granny filled me in on what I missed when she started on Friday (Granny will soon get a camera so she can document such food emergencies).  Here is what Granny said to do:
Boil the 2 packages of dried peaches in water until they become tender.
Pour off excess water.
Mash the peaches (with a potato masher).
Pour sugar on the peaches and wait….

... So the next day when I got to Granny’s the peaches were ready….
They don’t look so appetizing do they? Well, they don’t smell that appetizing either!  But trust me, that’s good stuff!  Granny and I were ready to make the crust, which is the same recipe she uses for cobblers. I was so excited that I knew which ingredients to get and how to start the dough. 
She poured the flour in the bowl and told me “that’s about 2 cups.”  I insisted that she measure so I could be sure to get it right the next time (don't want any repeats of that thick dough I made last time).  So she poured her flour in the measuring cup (and told me I was working on her nerves)…
Needless to say I didn’t ask her to measure out anything else. I can’t wait until I’m that good! Don’t laugh.  It’s gonna happen…one day!
Granny quickly incorporated the Crisco and butter into the flour and salt mixture. She showed me what the dough should look like before adding the icy water.   
This is what it should look like before adding icy water.
  She added the water and started kneading.  What I learned is the secret touch to kneading lies in the wrist.  When Granny was done that dough looked so smooth and silky.  I was thinking that is not what my dough looked like when I made my cherry cobbler (but I didn’t tell Granny that). Granny was a little worried because the dough didn’t feel like she wanted it to feel.  After seeing the bewildered look on my face she said it should feel like silk (I started thinking, my dough didn’t feel like silk, but I didn’t tell Granny that). 
Granny rolled out the dough with a….. ROLLING PIN…not a glass.  She asked if I had gotten one yet.  Nope, I’m going to steal my mom’s.  She hasn’t rolled dough since ….has she ever rolled dough?  I was careful this time to see just how thin the dough needed to be since the last time I tried the dough it was just a wee bit too thick.  

Tortilla thin is what I came up with to give myself some sort of reference
Granny decided she wanted to make these pies a little bigger than she normally makes them (she usually uses a hamburger ring to cut the dough) so she used the lid of a small pot.  
 Once she had a couple of circles pressed out she started spooning on the peaches.  
Next she folded the dough over and used a fork to crimp the edges. 
The pies were ready to go into the cast iron skillet. 
I learned when cooking fried pies it’s important to stand vigilant so the pies can be turned over as soon as the first sign of browning appears around the edges.
I figured now was a good a time as any to conquer my fear of frying.  So I approached the skillet armed with a turner and waited for them to start browning.  I started flipping and thought what have I been afraid of all this time?  Granny came over and showed me how to use my hand to turn over the pies a little easier.  That's when I started thinking...I wonder why these aren't called peach turnovers...And then... SON OF A BISCUIT #$%&@!!!!!! (I can’t say those words in front of Granny).  I tried to turn it over like Granny showed me, but my way is much more effective at keeping hot grease off of my fingers!  Good thing I learned that Cool Water song when my school district implemented the Learn Not to Burn Fire Safety Program.  I grabbed the icy water for the dough and put my finger right in. 
 And that is why I HATE frying things! addition to the fry smell that is none too pleasant.
After I nursed my wounds it was time for me to show off my new cooking skills!  Granny needed more dough to cook up the next batch of pies.  I told her not to worry I could handle it!  She carefully watched me measure the ingredients.  I don’t know who distracted Granny, but she turned away and my dough well…. 
Guess which dough is mine and which silky smooth ball of dough is Granny’s.
Okay okay…I know it’s quite difficult to tell! For those who are stumped, mine is the one on the left.
Granny was not happy (these pies were for my aunt and Granny was not about to let the above mess out of her kitchen).   
She said she would see if she could salvage my dough. I don’t know what she did besides wave her magic Granny wand over it and look at that, somewhat silky and somewhat smooth!
 Apparently I had a little too much heap to my heaping tablespoons of Crisco. “Trial and Error” is what Granny told me.  I think I may have added to much error to my trial. 
I’m glad Granny was able to save the pies and nobody was able to tell the difference between the ones I made and the ones Granny made (well I could tell because Granny’s were much prettier than mine). Even this lady (who kept stealing pies) couldn’t tell the difference.
My mom stealing another pie!
My mom suggested we make more pies (that we don’t have to give away). She laughed when I told her I would be happy to make her some.  Little did she know I had already cooked some of them. 
Granny said she felt good that she could make the pies for my aunt and make someone else feel good. She smiled as she turned over the pies to my uncle later that evening. See, that’s the heart of a giver!   
I wish being a giver made me feel all warm and ooey, gooey on the inside.

Instead, I think I might have shed a tear watching those pies go out the door.  It just made my heart ache a little to know I wasn’t going to get to enjoy the fruit of my …ahem… our labor.  And that is just another way I’m working to become more like my Granny.


  1. You need to have a cooking lesson on a saturday, then drive to clarksville that sunday- that way I can help judge your work....between the cherry cobbler, fried chicken, and now these peach pies I don' think I can choose. So you will need to make all three!!! We will be waiting:)

    Going Nutty!

  2. You're going to cause me to enter my kitchen and attempt these recipes!! But does that also make you responsible for the outcome? Another good post, Camille!!!

  3. Yeah! June 22nd! Whoo hoo!
    Let me make sure it is a CCSS training day.....BRING PIE!


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