I received a text from my friend Little Richard (not THE Little Richard), and it read: "Have you used an air fryer for your pies??? You have to try it!!!" He got excited when he successfully air-fried my pocket pies and knowing that I'm a neanderthal when it comes to technology, he had to let me know with three exclamation marks to grab my attention.
Prior to last year, air fryers were foreign to me. Yes, I've heard of them but I grew up using a toaster oven so why would I bother with an 'As Seen on TV' product? A couple of weeks later, another friend let me know that she used an air fryer to cook my pies, and then another... you get the point. Finally, my friend Wayne got one this past month and he insisted on trying it on the pies. Despite the successes that my friends were having, I was still skeptical.
I did a test, baking a couple of Cranberry Chicken Brie Pocket Pies from one of my experimental batches in the air fryer and two more in the oven to see the differences. Noting that my friends lowered the temperature and time from the usual baking instructions, I cooked at 380F for 18 minutes in an air-fryer. For the oven, I knew it would work at 400F for 23 minutes on his oven.
It was amazing how they turned out in the air fryer! Nice brown colour without egg wash. Rough grainy surface, but it would've been the same had it gone through the oven; egg wash gives a smooth surface. As for taste, the crust was still flaky but leaned slightly towards the crispy side that's barely noticeable if you've eaten hundreds of these pies. Because it was slightly crispy, the crust was faintly dryer than if you were to put it in the oven. The filling was unaffected.
It's possible that it can be cooked in less than 18 minutes or less than 380F but I'm really happy how they turned out. Overall, it's faster than an oven as there's no pre-heating involved so it can replace your toaster oven. The air fryer also shuts itself down after the time runs out, so you don't have to worry about forgetting and burning your food. Just don't forget to eat it before it gets cold!
Do you have an air fryer? Try one and share your results!
Corey Ma, The Pie Guy