Did you know that back in the day McDonald's used to fry their pies? When I heard this, I was immediately intrigued. Alas, the food chain doesn't fry their apple pies anymore so there's no way of trying them. However, when I went to Hawaii and stepped into a McDonald's, I saw that they had fried taro pies! You can only imagine my excitement. And you know what? They were the most amazing fried taro pies I've ever had. It's been years but I still think about them. In remembrance of those pies, I decided to make my own fried pies. These peaches and cream hand pies are filled with creamy vanilla mascarpone and fresh juicy peaches, fried to perfection and finished with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. They are, simply put, divine!
Peaches and Cream Hand Pies
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (592 grams)
- 1 cup shortening (192 grams)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 cup buttermilk (250 ml)
- 4 ounces mascarpone, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar (25 grams)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 4 peaches peeled and diced (13 ounces, about 2 cups)
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (25 grams)
- oil for frying
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar (25 grams)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Make the pie dough. In the bowl of a food processor, blend together the flour with shortening and salt until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the egg yolk and buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together. Alternatively, mix the dough by hand. Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour or until firm.
- Meanwhile, prepare the fillings. Beat together the softened mascarpone with cream cheese, 2 tbsp granulated sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla bean paste in a medium bowl until well combined.
- Peel and dice enough peaches to yield 2 cups. Gently toss the peaches with the cornstarch and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Lightly dust a clean work counter with flour. Roll out the pie dough until it's ⅛ inch thick. Cut out 3 ½-inch round circles with a biscuit counter. Place 1 tbsp of the cream cheese filling in the center of half of the circles followed by 1 tbsp of the peaches. Try not to add too much of the liquid from the peaches or the pastry can get soggy.
- Place a cut circle dough on top of the filled ones and use a fork to seal the edges. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough. Keep the pies in the fridge while the oil heats.
- Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
- Combine 2 tbsp sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Carefully fry the hand pies a couple at a time until they turn golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the pies with a slotted spoon and drain the excess oil on paper towels. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top and repeat with the remaining hand pies. Serve warm.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
We all know that pies are a lot of work (have you seen my earl grey pie recipe?) but we do it because they're always worth it. These peaches and cream hand pies are just as much work as a regular pie but if it helps, they're fried so they cook in minutes. That also means that you can eat them within minutes of them frying - no waiting until it cools. Does that convince you to make these? I hope so because they're delicious!
Let's start by making the pie crust. I always use butter to make pie crust but I decided to use shortening in this recipe because shortening helps keep the dough stay together. I found that butter crusts are more delicate so they can fall apart more easily.
For the same reason, we're going to add an egg yolk to the dough. I used a food processor to make the dough but you can also use your hands. Cut the shortening into the flour and salt until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the egg yolk and buttermilk and mix just until the dough comes together.
This recipe makes a big batch of pie dough so divide it into two to help it chill faster. You can also make the dough the day before and keep it in the fridge overnight.
This recipe makes 16 small hand pies; you can make a smaller batch and divide the recipe in half to make a total of 8 hand pies. Just be warned, they are very delicious so you just may want to make 16!
While the dough is chilling, prepare the fillings. Beat together softened mascarpone with softened cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla bean paste until smooth. You can substitute the vanilla bean paste for an equal amount of vanilla extract if you prefer.
I used fresh peaches for these peaches and cream hand pies but frozen should also work. Toss the fruit with cornstarch and sugar and let it sit for 10 minutes.
When the dough is firm, dust a clean work counter with flour and roll it out until it's about ⅛-inch thick. You don't want the dough to be too thick or it won't cook all the way. On the other hand, you don't want it to be too thin or it won't be able to hold the fillings.
Cut out 3 ½-inch circles and place a dollop of the mascarpone filling in the center of half of the circles followed by the peaches. I didn't add any of the peach juices to the hand pies because I didn't want the crust to get soggy.
Seal the edges by pressing a fork and chill them in the fridge until the oil reaches the correct temperature. You don't want the crust to get soggy and soften while the oil is heating so keep it in the fridge, especially if your kitchen is warm. At this point, you can also freeze the hand pies and fry them later at your convenience.
Gently add the hand pies to the hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. If they start to float up before they turn brown, keep them submerged with a spoon. Remove the pies and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Let it cool for a couple of minutes before digging in.
If I'm completely honest, these peaches and cream hand pies rival the taro pies I had in Hawaii. The crust is different from McDonald's fried pies but it's still a great crust. Pair that with the oozy warm vanilla mascarpone cream and sweet peaches and you have one outstanding dessert!
For more peach inspiration check out these peach bourbon shortcakes!