With an exterior that tastes like the best carnival funnel cake, my fried pies are made of a shattering dough that blisters on the surface when it hits the hot oil. Buttermilk provides tang, acidity, and lift, and it’s appropriately reverential to great Southern cuisine, where buttermilk is king. The dough is a little damp but it will pull together as it chills. Use this dough for my Apple Funnel Cake Pie.

Makes enough dough for 12 (3-inch) fried pies.


  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (113 g) lard or vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk, at room temperature


1. Place the work bowl of the food processor on the scale, set the scale to zero, and weigh the flour into the bowl. Weigh in the shortening and then add the sugar and salt. Move the bowl to the food processor base, insert the metal blade, cover, and use the Pulse function to cut the flour and shortening into flour-covered pea-sized pieces, about 15 quick pulses. Add the buttermilk all at once, then process until the dough almost comes together in a ball. The dough will be wet and batter-like.

2. Generously flour the counter and scrape the dough out of the bowl. Turn the dough over to coat in flour, then gather the loose mass, fold it over on itself a couple of times, and form a soft block about 6 by 4 inches. Form an X with two long pieces of overlapping plastic wrap and lightly flour the surface. Dump the dough onto the center of the plastic wrap. Wrap the dough in the plastic and, at the same time, use a bench scraper (not your warm hands that might melt the shortening clumps) to form the dough.

3. Once wrapped, use a rolling pin to gently press across the surface of the block. Flip it over and do the same on the other side. Now let it rest: Refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. Alternatively, slip the plastic-wrapped dough block into a ziptop bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost gently, overnight in the refrigerator.

Excerpted from When Pies Fly: Handmade Pastries from Strudels to Stromboli, Empanadas to Knishes by Cathy Barrow (copyright © 2019 by Cathy Barrow).  Reprinted with permission from Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.