Troy woman finds secret to success in fried pies
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TROY, N.C. -- Just about every day Karen Saunders makes a delivery to P.R. Moore Produce in Biscoe.
Just about every day the fried pies she brings are all sold by the next morning.
Customers arrive early to make sure they don’t miss out.
"There's nothing like it. Nobody can make a dough like that or a pie like that,” said a customer.
Fried pies have been for sale at this market for many years. It is operated by Karen’s parents, who asked her to try making the treats after a previous supplier retired.
Those first efforts were not so good.
"The oil was too hot. It would smoke. It would splatter. The dough wouldn't stay together," said Saunders.
Karen kept at it though in her home kitchen in nearby Troy, where she discovered the keys to good fried pies: Peanut oil for the frying.
"It doesn't smoke and it just seems like it crisps the dough up,” she said.
Amish butter made in Winston-Salem for the dough.
"All it is, is cream and salt. You can read the ingredients. Homemade," she said.
For the filling, dried apples instead of fresh and no cooking the blueberries in advance.
"Because if you break that skin of the blueberry, it's not good," she said.
Adhere to that formula and the results are virtually assured.
"The crispiness of the dough and, you know, just the sweetness,” she said.
Things turned out so well that Karen now ships her pies every Monday and Tuesday to customers all over the country.
Pies have been sent as far as California and people in Ohio have really taken a liking to them.
"Beach traffic people coming into the fruit stand, trying them and then they call me or friend me on Facebook,” she said.
Taste and texture are the most appealing features, but Karen’s Fried Pies also conjure up memories of the past.
"It just reminds you of grandmother or your great-grandmother. Just something that you remember from your childhood,” she said.
That feeling is so strong that many people are surprised when they find that Karen is the one who makes the pies.
"When I take them up to the fruit stand and the customers see me bring them in, they're shocked to see that I'm not a 60- or 80-year-old woman," Karen said.