October evokes happy vibes for me every year. But contrary to popular belief, that’s not because of the changing leaves, cooler temperatures or even Luke Bryan’s Farm Tour.
When I was a college student at Georgia Southern (many moons ago), my good friend and roommate, Amanda, and I began a tradition of singing at the Georgia National Fair in Perry every October. Each year, we would prepare a 30-minute set and perform live on one of the expansive fairground’s many entertainment stages, South or North Gate. We would sing with track tapes or karaoke accompaniment tracks burned onto a CD, and choose cover songs like the greatest hits on country radio at the time, or our favorite classic country songs. I usually carried the melody and Amanda sang harmony.
We would practice for weeks, performing in front of small groups of friends, preparing marketing materials to hand out at the fair and coordinating what to wear. Usually, we’d match in our blue jean jackets and cowboy boots.
Each fall, we’d make the trip to Perry from Statesboro. Come time to sing, we’d park far out in the field, the ferris wheel and iconic Clock Tower standing tall in the distance, and walk in with our special admission passes, bypassing the long ticket lines. We’d hear the Clydesdale horses trotting about, smell the farm animals and hay in the agriculture barns, and get excited for all the big rides and neon signs for lemonade, corn dogs and Italian sausages.
At the stage, friends and family would come to cheer us on, followed by lots of picture taking and a good time at the fair that always included funnel cakes and apple dumplings with vanilla ice cream.
Amanda was from Perry, and many of her folks would attend, along with my mom and dad, aunts, uncles and cousins in nearby Macon and Twiggs County. They’d all be tapping their feet and humming along as we sang, “Young Love (Strong Love)” by The Judds. Long after we graduated and Amanda moved off to New Orleans, I continued the tradition solo. Those fun years are among my most cherished.
Today, in the spirit of fair season, I’m sharing a deep-fried fruit hand pie recipe, adapted from the New York Times Cooking archives. On my blog, I make these delicious pies with fresh peaches, but to save a little time, you can use a canned fruit filling of your choice, such as apple. Warm, sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar and oozing with sweet filling, these individual hand pies won’t last long. They’re Some Kinda Good, and much like my time in college, sing with the flavors of fall.
Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is the author of the memoir, “Some Kinda Good: Good Food and Good Company, That’s What It’s All About!” A finalist on “Food Network Star” and ABC’s “The Taste,” she writes about Southern, coastal cuisine, locally sourced and in-season. Connect with Rebekah on social media by liking this page: Facebook.com/SomeKindaGood, or follow @SKGFoodBlog on Instagram and Twitter.
To learn more, visit RebekahLingenfelser.com.
Fried Fruit Hand Pies with Cinnamon Sugar
FOR THE CRUST:
2 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), chilled and cubed
1 large egg, whisked with enough ice-cold water to make 1/2 cup
FOR THE FILLING:
1 20 oz. can of fruit pie filling, such as apple or peach
In a food processor, pulse together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms crumbs. Pulse in egg mixture a tablespoon at a time, until dough just comes together. Divide dough into 10 equal pieces. Flatten into disks with your palm, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 45 minutes.
Fill a medium pot with 4 inches of oil and heat to 375 degrees. On a floured surface, roll out dough into 6-inch rounds. Place a heaping tablespoon of canned pie filling in the center of each round. Using a pastry brush, lightly moisten edges of each circle with water. Fold dough over filling, making a semicircle, and pinch edges to seal.
Fry pies in batches until dark golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Sprinkle immediately with cinnamon sugar. To make cinnamon sugar, combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.