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Grandma’s Apple Turnovers

Meet the Rebelmom: Tryna Fitzpatrick. Tryna is from Hilton Head South Carolina and works from home as a marketing specialist, TV commercial copywriter, and content director. She is a home based business owner and partner in a marketing and media agency and is a nationally published writer. She is married and has three daughters. Learn more about her on her website.

Mag (Margaret) Gore was my great grandmother on my mothers side from Logan, West Virginia, and her apple turnover recipe is more than 100 years old. Mag was a spunky old lady. I called her “Big Mamaw” because she was not just my grandmother, but my GREAT grandmother, meaning to my five-year-old self that she was somehow large and in charge. Bigger than life. The Grand Puba. I always loved to visit her, and it wasn’t just because she always made these pies for me.

The great thing about this recipe is that it completely and utterly lacks any healthy lifestyle awareness. It’s moutain-style, southern fried and filled with Crisco – but it’s so good. And it never hurt Mag who lived to be nearly 100 years old. Enjoy them occasionally and in moderation. By all means, do not take them to the classroom party at the elementary school.

Back in the day, which in the case of Mag’s Apple Turnovers was in the 1930′s – 1950′s, she would gather fresh apples in August, peel them, dry them and store them in tins until she was ready to make her pies. Sometimes she would soak the apples overnight in their rich sauce. When the pies were done she would set them out on a rack to cool so that every kid in the holler would catch the smell and make their way to her kitchen like the children of Hamelin. She was like a real life “Pie’d” Piper (ha, punny…), but instead of drowning the kids in the river, she fed them Apple Turnovers.

Tryna Fitzpatrick

Vintage Recipe: “Big Mamaw’s” Fried Apple Turnovers using Fresh Apples


  • 3 med. apples peeled and sliced (Mag liked to use the tart Granny Smith variety)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/3 c. Crisco shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 to 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
  • Pinch of butter (for frying the apples)
  • Cooking oil for frying


Preheat oil in a skillet for frying.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the apples and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves,  1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Continue cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar.

Add the water.

Bring the liquid to a boil and add the cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water.

Whisk the vanilla and the cornstarch mixture into the liquid.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until the apples are soft.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Mix together the shortening, egg, and 3/4 cup of milk.

In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together.  Gradually add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, working it to make a thick dough.

Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough pieces into thin rounds, about 5 inches in diameter or about enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Put 1/4 cup of the apple mixture in the center of each round, fold the dough over and crimp the edges with a fork. (Should make a half moon shape)

Fry the pies, two to three at a time, in the hot oil, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Powder the pies with the powdered sugar (optional).