Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mini Fried Peach Pies (Arkansas) and Churro Morsels

Miniature fried peach pie dumplings with whipped cream stars
Ozarks in Arkansas
Arkansas Sights
Near the Ozarks (a forest and national park) in Arkansas, the beautiful rolling hills can best be appreciated by driving on the charming winding road that takes you like a seesaw, up and down each hump. Soft green meadows in the valley are dotted with houses. If you are on them near sunset, when dusk arrives, you can circle the entrance of the thick pine forest on the outskirts of the national park, stop, and bend your neck backward to fully admire the glitter that covers the night sky, in a place where no other light will compete with it.
In the daytime, in contrast, you can leave this spiritual experience behind to go to Murfreesboro, Arkansas, in a volcanic region, to dig for diamonds in the midst of a large dug-up and muddy area that is filled with other treasure-seekers. Most of them leave with a geology lesson; after they have been kneeling in the mud under the sun for hours, they head to a shower to wash their rocks off with water and get help from an employee/rock consultant who will fortunately say what type of rock each find is. You will leave with some rocks that will be good-looking after you get them polished. If you´re lucky you might find a small piece of quartz that will leave you excited for a brief moment, as you wonder if it might be a diamond.

Peach filling, cooked in a skillet
History of Fried Peach Pies
Peach pies
Fried peach pies are typical food in Arkansas, and are believed to have originated in Alabama. I had never tried them before (except for McDonald´s or other fast food apple pies, which should count), and didn´t know what to expect. As I often prefer baked versions over fried food (for example: tortillas), I was sure I would want more baked peach pies than fried ones. I was wrong. The delectable, smooth taste of the delicately fried dumpling was worth it.
The fried pie is formed like an empanada or dumpling. A round piece of dough similar to piecrust is folded in half over the filling, which is usually made of fruit. The edges must be sealed shut, and after it is fried in fat, it is dusted with powdered sugar.




Recipe
I used Emeril Lagasse´s recipe, though I made a much smaller version of the pie, a 2.5 inch-diameter half-moon, which I pressed it in a dumpling cutter-presser. I baked some of them, and found the fried version tastier, and similar to a Spanish churro. 
Dumplings of various sizes, ready to be baked in the oven
The cinnamon and cream cheese in Emeril´s dough makes the dough soft, tasty, and easy to work with.

Fried miniature dumpling
 When I had leftover dough, I filled it with nutella, and thus had mini nutella fried pies, which I rolled in granulated sugar as well.


Some nutella, some peach fried pies



To add the small whipped cream stars, you can use a large drop flower frosting tip (for example, a 1C) placed on a frosting bag. If you don´t have this tip, you can use a basic star tip or drop flower tip. After you have filled the frosting bag with the whipped cream, squeeze out a star or more on each dumpling.  

Click here to get the recipe:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/peach-fried-pies-with-a-cinnamon-crust-recipe/index.html

Portable fried pie treats














References
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=7098401
http://www.arkansas.com/dining/recipes/details.aspx?recipeID=116
http://www.foodtimeline.org/statefoods.html

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