"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived."
-Jean Luc Picard

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My undying devotion to Alton Brown and a recipe for apricot fried pies

I've had a serious crush on Alton Brown for several years. It's mostly because he reminds me so much of Mr. Hairball. They are both smart, attractive, glasses wearing, science loving, sweet guys who like to cook. When we lived in Georgia, there was always that tiny, tiny, chance that I might run into Alton at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or Kroger. Sadly it never happened. Maybe that was for the best. I probably would have passed out or just stood there pointing at him with my mouth hanging open like a complete and utter doofus.

One of my favorite episodes:

Part II

This particular episode is one of my favorites because it reminds me of my late grandma. My grandma made these killer apricot fried pies and we used to fight over the darn things. One time when Brother Hairball was going to school and living with her, she made up a whole mess of pies for the relatives in her town and a batch for my family, the out of state Hairballs. So Brother Hairball leaves her house with about five dozen and started the long drive back home. He's got the pies on the seat beside him and they are calling to him with their flaky goodness and that perfect blend of sweet and tart that is the perfect apricot fried pie. Long story short, he eats at least 1/2 of the pies while driving back home. He walks in the house where we are eagerly awaiting the fried pies, (oh and him too!) one of us snatches the Ziploc bag out of his hands and says "where's the rest?" He sheepishly grins and reminds us that it's a long drive from grandma's house and he just couldn't help himself. So then an insane little game of hiding the remaining fried pies ensues. Father Hairball and I found them and hid them behind the toaster from Mama Hairball who then found them and hid them from us, etc.... until we ate every last crumb.

In reading over my grandma's recipe you will notice that she used a traditional pie crust instead of the biscuit-like dough that Alton prefers for his pies.

Grandma's Apricot Fried Pies
makes 10-12 pies
2 cups AP flour
2 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
about 1/2 cup water
apricot filling - recipe is after the pastry

Sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the shortening and add enough water to make a firm dough. Roll out dough so it is 1/8th inch thick and cut dough into 5 inch circles. Place fruit on one half of circle, moisten dough edge with water, fold over and press edges with a fork to seal. Fry in deep fat heated to 375F for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Drain on a rack placed over newspapers or paper towels and dust with granulated sugar. Let cool before eating.

Apricot filling-
Open package of dried apricots before use, place on paper towels, and check for any debris or bad pieces of fruit. Discard any bad pieces or debris. Then put the package of dried apricots in a saucepan, barely cover with water, and bring it to boil until tender. (It will take at least 10 minutes to reach the desired texture.) Take off the stove when tender and mash up the apricots and whatever water remains in the saucepan with a potato masher. Slowly add sugar to taste until still a little tart but, not too tart. The filling needs to be cool before you make your pies so leave it out for about 45 minutes and then place in the icebox *grins* for several hours or overnight. Later or the next day, make your pies as described above.

*I'm sorry but, I don't know how many ounces the original package of dried fruit contained. I buy mine in the big package at the wholesale club, and just dump some out in a saucepan. If I make too much, I keep it in the refrigerator and use it on toast, biscuits, etc...

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