Saturday, September 3, 2011

Ninja Turtle Pudding Pies

Packed with puddin' power!  So I'm sure my first post really should be an introduction of myself to the blogosphere, but instead it's going to dedicated something so rich, indulgent, and unholy that it hasn't been produced in over 10 years.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Pudding Pies.
Heroes in a half-shell...TURTLE POWER!

Now if you're not a product of the 80's, or familiar with our favorite oozed-covered, butt-kicking testudines, these 4 brothers basically walked into some spilled toxic gunk, and instead of dying horrific deaths, they grew up to be massive anthropomorphized turtles with a prowess for the martial arts.  Oh, and they loved pizza!  And probably would have eaten these pies by the boatload.  These pies were a promotional product made by Hostess during the heyday of the turtles' popularity.  

Unfortunately, I do not remember these pies.  However, my friend came up to visit this weekend and put in a special request that I make them for him.  Being ever the obliging (i.e. gullible and people-pleasing) friend that I am, I said yes.  First, of course, I had to learn what the heck a turtle pie was, so I jumped my computer and Google searched.  Apparently, there is a huge cult following for the heart-cloggers and several petitions trying to get Hostess to remake them.  This site was extremely informative for anyone interested, but there really was no recipe for me to follow.  I just got that a turtle pudding pie was a deep-fried pie, filled with vanilla pudding-type substance, and covered in a thick green sugary glaze.
Looks appetizing, right?

So I tried to just search pudding hand pies, and came across a few chocolate varieties but no vanilla.  Since these pies were not refrigerated but shelf stable, I figured in order to recapture my friend's childhood memories I had to avoid the gourmet route and instead try to be as processed as possible. 

With an idea in mind, I headed to my grocery store to pick up the necessities: pudding mix, milk, pre-made pie crust (not in a pan), and green food coloring.  Unfortunately, it was decided that I would have to be making my own crust since the store did not have pie crusts not already jammed into a pan.  And thus the adventure began...
Ninja Turtle Pudding Pies
Serves 12

For Filling:
  • 3.5 cups of milk (I used a combination of 1% and 2%)
  • 2 boxes of vanilla pudding, cook and serve variety (I used My-T-Fine because it was on sale)

For Crust:
Based on J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Easy Pie Dough from 

  • 12.5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
  • 6 tablespoons cold water

For Glaze:
  • 1 lb. box of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. cornstarch
  • Approx. 1/2 c. of milk
  • Green food coloring 
To make the filling, I cooked the 2 boxes of pudding, according to the package directions for pie, adding 3.5 cups of milk, instead of the recommended 3.75 cups, because I was paranoid that it would be too thin and was having nightmares about deep-frying these pies with the pudding oozing out, morphing into hot magma that would burst out of my pan! After letting it cool for 5 minutes in the pot, I removed it to a large bowl and covered the top with plastic wrap, pressing all the way down to the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
This pudding needs protection.
  Now for the crust.  This crust is actually excessively simple, however I worked in half-batches because I was afraid my food processor wouldn't fit all the dough.  I shouldn't have fretted as there was plenty of space, I recommend just doing it in one swift swoop.  

Add two thirds of the amount of flour and all the sugar and salt to a food processor bowl.  Pulse twice to incorporate.  Then add the pats of the butter (all 20 tablespoons...this is deep fried pie here, no point holding back), evenly over the dry ingredients and pulse again until the mix appears sandy in texture and is starting to clump, about 25 times.  Add the remaining third of flour, pulsing approximately 5 more times to incorporate.  Transfer contents to a large bowl.  (P.S.  I initially typed bowel here instead of's definitely too early in the recipe for this to be transferred to your large intestines.  It has to be deep fried and sugar coated first.)

This flour is in need of some hydration

Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of COLD water onto the mixture and fold in.  If the mixture isn't clumping enough and the dough isn't forming add more water.  Remember, you can always add more water, but you can't remove it.  When finished it would look like a dough ball.
Quenched dough
Now you may be wondering, why you shouldn't just add the water in the food processor and save yourself this extra step.  The article that accompanies this pie recipe states that folding in the water gives your dough a "headstart" for flake formation.  Since I only made it the one way, I can't compare it to the all food processor method, but I can that the dough was quite flaky.  After this, I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and let it in the fridge for 2 hours.  This allowed for the dough to firm up, as well as for the pudding to set up.

After the chill period, I took out the dough and divided it into 12 balls.  Additionally you want to place a deep-set pan on your stovetop, filling it with oil about 1" deep, and setting it on medium high.  Unfortunately the amount of oil was too low for me to place my thermometer, but you want the oil to be around 375 degrees F. 

Dust your work surface and rolling pan with flour, and, one at a time, roll out the ball into a flat disk.  The shape be a rounded off rectangle, about 5" x 4" (very approximately measurements).

Needs filling.
Next, I took out my handy dandy notebook ice cream scoop and placed 2 semi-scoops onto the lonely dough.
Nice and full.
After filling, fold the top over, making a packet and crimp/fold/superglue the edges so your little pudding packet is nice and secure.  Then continue make to 11 more!  Fry these bad boys one at a time until golden brown and delicious, keeping the remaining raw pies in the freezer or fridge to stay cold.
Deep-fried deliciousness
 Like this wasn't enough, now it's time to make and add your glaze.  Add the sugar and cornstarch and stir to combine.  Add in the milk, a little at a time, until you get a nice consistency.  It should be thick but pourable.  Now add your food coloring to your desired shade of green, and pour onto one side.  Keep 1/2 the glaze for the other side.
Which turtle color are you?
Allow the glaze to set up (I stuck mine in the fridge), then flip the pies over and glaze the second side.  Be gentle with these pies because they can break in half rather easily when warm.  Allow to cool, then devour.  They taste best when warmed up slightly from the chill of the fridge.  
I could only eat a few bites of this rich dessert, but my friend devoured 2 in 1 sitting!
Turtle power

This dessert is not for the weak of heart.
Well I hope you enjoyed this first post.  Please leave a comment, a critique, some feedback, or even just a hello.  And please don't fear: this is NOT my normal type of cooking, but I just had to post this one immediately.  I normally eat  (and will post) healthy, easy, veggie-filled recipes, not deep-fried monstrosities in all their glory.  I do love to bake, but I often try to "healthify" the recipe somewhat and only make truly indulgent food on rare occasions, like my friend coming up to visit from Atlanta.


  1. I'll start pointing people at your blog if you start pointing people at mine! Looks delicious, and I'm very impressed by this undertaking - I used to want to buy these when I was little, but my mother always said they were unhealthy (as she would buy me a Hostess Apple Fruit Pie).

    Since you'll understand what I'm about to send you, you should check out gellan gums. They are gelling agents that are not thermoreversible, and are pretty neat. I haven't yet played with them, but I'm digging to try.

  2. Thanks for the link Alex. Of course I'll send people your way! I'm planning on setting up a blogroll soon. These pies are so unhealthy for you, but everything in moderation, right?

    Those gums look interesting. I actually just purchased some guar gum and xanthan gum. My brother came over last night and was making a pina colada. I took out the xanthan and told him to use it to to thicken up the drink. I told him to use very little and took out a 1/4 teaspoon. Well he didn't listen to the last part, and added a heaping spoonful and ended up with coconut-flavored snot. It was so thick and nasty! It even looked like snot. I could barely even manage trying a spoonful. I'm looking forward to trying it again, but in extreme moderation.

  3. My grandson (age 27) just sent me this recipe for Turtle Pies. Seems like an awful lot of work, but for him, I will give it a try.