When I was a little girl, I loved spending the night at Mommaw’s house.

She’d let me take Avon bubble baths and stay up late watching Benny Hill. And then she’d make Cherry Fried Pies for breakfast.

She’d teach me how to do fun things, like making little dolls by sewing cotton into her pantyhose and stitching the faces.

One night, I was trying to sew one of those dolls, and I JUST. COULDN’T. GET. THE. FACE. RIGHT. I ripped out the stitches and started over, and it STILL didn’t look like an actual newborn’s face. Oh, the rage! So, I grabbed my needle and thread and made one long vertical stitch in the middle of what should have been the doll’s face, and I flipped it around to show Mommaw: “Look, I made a big butt!”

Without saying one word, she took the hose heinie from my hand and marched to the back of the house. I sat in total silence, certain in the knowledge that I must be in serious trouble. My grandmother had never, ever, EVER given me a talking to much less gone to her bedroom to look for the right thing to beat me with. I heard rummaging. Was she coming back with a leather belt? A switch? Brass knuckles?

An eternity later, she returned with something behind her back. I held my breath to see how she was going to finish me. Then she slowly unveiled the hose heinie, surrounded by flower petals she’d sewn from scraps of cloth, and mounted in a little flower pot.

“Now we can call it a fart blossom,” she said.

So, when I think of fried pies, I think of all the surprises that were part of spending the night at Mommaw’s.

Instead of her cherry pie filling, I stuffed half the little pockets with a mixture of fresh sweet cherries and cherry preserves and the other half with melted chocolate. Feel free to substitute with peaches and peach preserves, apple pie filling or Nutella. There’s nothing like biting into a freshly glazed fried pie, but you can also wrap these individually in wax paper for a picnic or cookout dessert.

If you don’t deep-fry, baking instructions are included at the end of the recipe.

Cherry Fried Pies

Adapted from Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen”

Makes 6 individual pies

    Cherry Filling:

  • 1/2 cup fresh cherries
  • 1/8 cup cherry preserves

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup ice water
  • Oil, for deep-frying

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. For the Cherry Filling: In a small bow, combine the cherries with the preserves.
  2. To Make the Dough: In a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the ice water while the processor is running, until the dough forms a ball.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Sprinkle a thin layer of flour on a flat board or surface. Roll out each portion of dough to 1/16th thickness, a little thicker than a tortilla. Cut the dough into 5-inch circles; each ball should make three rounds.
  4. Put 1 tablespoon of 1 filling in the center of each dough round. Fold the dough rounds in half; wet your fingers and press to seal the edges with water. Crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.
  5. To Fry the Pies: Pour about 3 inches of oil into a deep-frying pan or Dutch oven, and set it over medium-high heat. The oil is hot enough when a scrap of dough dropped in the pan sizzles and bubbles, about 350 degrees F. (The temperature of the oil will fluctuate during the frying process, so you might want to use a thermometer.) Fry the pies, a few at a time, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain the pies on plates lined with paper towels.
  6. For the Glaze: Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Using a pastry brush, glaze the warm pies. Serve immediately.

Baking Option: If you’d rather bake the pies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush the top of each pie with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water), and bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.