FRIED PECAN PIES
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup all-vegetable shortening
1⁄4 cup cold butter
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
1⁄3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1⁄3 cup dark corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract Canola oil for frying
1 tablespoon sugar
Garnish: 1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder
In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse 2 times. Add shortening and butter; pulse until crumbly, 4 to 5 times. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Sprinkle ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, over dry ingredients, tossing with a fork just until moistened. Place dough on a lightly floured surface; gently knead until combined, 2 to 3 times. Shape into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, bring brown sugar, corn syrup, 3 tablespoons water, butter, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pecans and vanilla. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to approximately 1⁄8-inch thickness. Using a 3 1⁄2-inch round cutter, cut dough into 12 rounds, rerolling scraps as necessary. Using a pastry brush, moisten edges of dough with water. Spoon 2 teaspoons pecan mixture into center of dough. Fold dough over; press edges with a fork dipped in flour to seal.
Fill a large deep cast-iron skillet halfway with canola oil. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°.
Gently place pies in hot oil. Fry in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Adjust heat to maintain a temperature at 350° if necessary. Remove pies with a slotted spoon; drain on several layers of paper towels. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with sugar. Sift cocoa over pies, if desired