The Beau and I spent a considerable amount of time in Texas over the holidays last December. This had its considerable advantages, including, but not limited to, getting to see dear friends, eating at new restaurants (I could spend an entire month in Austin just eating. Truth.), and spying on my mother-in-law in the kitchen. Moogee is the kind of chef-phenom who whips up a pie, no recipe, from scratch at a moments' notice. For our rehearsal dinner, she cooked a Mexican feast for 100+ people. She is a force of nature, people. One morning, I came downstairs to find her frying up hand pies... for breakfast. PIE. FOR BREAKFAST. We LOVE her. She was kind enough to share her recipe, which was too good to keep to myself. She used apricots, but presumably any dried fruit could work. If you're the kind of cook that requires exact measurements, you may want to look away...
MOOGEE'S HAND PIES:
For the filling:
Take 1 regular sized bag of dried apricots (you know... like Goldilocks. not too big, not too small.). Put them in a pot and cover with water (Moogee says to "more than cover". I'm going with an extra inch or two of water). Bring them to a boil and let simmer without a cover; you want the fruit to plump up and soften so you can mash them up a bit. (Next step: mash them up a bit.). If necessary, add water until you like the consistency-- you want it to be jammy. Once they're soft and mashed, add some sugar. Moogee goes for +/- 1/4 C, but start low and add to taste (see what I mean? This is a recipe for fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantsers.).
For the crust:
Feel free to use a store-bought crust-- it's not the Moogee way, but we won't tell. Otherwise, use your favorite pie crust recipe. After mixing the ingredients together, flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or so. After your dough is nice and chilled, bring it back out, plop it down on a lightly floured surface, and roll it out until it's approximately 1/8" thick. Using something round (a glass, a can, a biscuit cutter... you get the picture) cut out your crust circles. Spoon a dollop of jam into the center of each, fold over into a half moon, and seal the edges with a fork. You're almost there.
For the frying:
Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. Once it's good and hot (look for foam, but don't let it burn), add the pies (don't crowd them). Fry until golden brown on each side. If you're feeling fancy, you can sprinkle raw sugar on them while they're hot-- it gives them a nice little sparkle. Otherwise, eat promptly. A word to the wise: my understanding is that they do keep (store them at room temperature and reheat in the toaster oven), but we didn't have the opportunity to test that theory.