Fried Pie Lady
Sorry I wasn’t able to respond right away to your question, CCinNJ. A big storm knocked out our internet. Anyway, the answer to your question is a bit complex. If you try to fill a fried pie with a filling containing both eggs and milk, as in a traditional homemade pudding, the filling will “break” or curdle. It’ll still taste okay but visually it’s pretty nasty. The fried sugar cream pies don’t have eggs. If you want to have a pudding fried pie, you might be able to use commercial pudding (something that has chemical stabilizers in it). I’ve tried selling apricot cream cheese fried pies and they were okay but again the consistency suffered. I sell chocolate fried pies but the recipe is butter, cocoa and powdered sugar, melted and mixed well, with milk and vanilla then mixed in. It gets rave reviews. Because of the butter, it’s very thin when it’s hot but it thickens as it cools.
I don’t use commercial pudding. In fact, the only commercial filling I use is cherry and that only because I can’t find good sour cherries. Nevertheless, I drive 120 miles every other month just to pick up the best cherry filling I can find. Since I live in a sparsely populated area and my only advertisement is word-of-mouth, every single pie that I sell has to be really good. For every person who buys a pie and thinks it’s wonderful, they may tell 2 or 3 people. But every person who gets a blah or icky pie – they’ll tell everyone they know. That’s one of the reasons why I was stressing about the funnel cakes. If they’re not perfect at an event, it’s no big thing but if I try to sell them to my neighbors, they’ll tell a bunch of people that they’re not worth buying.
So – the secret to a fried pie crust is that you have to have a protein binder to keep it from falling apart when it’s put in the hot oil. (Good bakers are chemists without a degree. LOL!) You can use buttermilk, egg-and-vinegar or evaporated milk (which is what I use). If you’re baking the pies, it doesn’t matter. I worked for about three months to get a fried pie dough recipe that 1) was really tasty – important because most of the volume of the pie is the dough so it better taste good, 2) would hold together from the first bite to the last so people could walk around an event eating it from a bag and 3) be light and flaky.
The pie isn’t in the oil long enough to cook the filling, just the dough. So if the cheesecake filling you’re thinking of needs to be cooked, you might have to make adjustments. And 6Star is right – you won’t know until you give it a shot. Anyway, I hope this answers your questions. Feel free to PM me if you have any others. And, of course, I’ll be checking out this thread too.