"Reclaiming Homemade in a Small Space"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

A couple of months back, I asked on my facebook page what people would like to see me blog about.  My good friend, Jessica, asked for apple dumplings.  I had never made them before or eaten one or even knew what one really was. I stuck that under the category "must try one day".   Yesterday was National Apple Dumpling Day and I decided it was time to celebrate.  I have about a third of a bushel of apples leftover from making apple sauce with some ladies from church.  Experimenting with a new apple recipe would be fun.  I googled apple dumplings and came across this recipe by Micki Wood at Allrecipes.com.  I also found out that the apple dumpling is VERY Pennsylvania Dutch, this was a have-to now.

The premise of an apple dumpling is simple.  An apple is wrapped with flaky pie crust and baked in a sauce with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Kinda like an apple pie in miniature, but without the hard edge of just crust.  And then, there is the sauce.

The original recipe called for 6 large granny smith apples.  I had "seconds" from Simmons Farm which meant the slightly ugly, deformed or small fruit that wouldn't make it to the market.
Here is the recipe:

  • 1 recipe pastry for double-crust pie
  • 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored  (I used 8 small apples)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 There is A LOT of butter and A LOT of sugar in these, so I found myself cutting back on both.  Not so much that you could tell though.

First, I peeled and cored my apples.  I don't have an apple corer (shame!) so I peeled them, cut them in half and took out the core on each side.  Once the apple halves were placed back together, they stuck well.

I rolled out my pie crust and divided it into 8 rectangles.
I placed an apple in the center of one of the rectangles, pushed about 1/2 to 3/4 T. butter in the cored section.  Added brown sugar in the middle and around the bottom of the apple.  Then dusted it with ground cinnamon and fresh nutmeg.

The next step is bringing the dough around the whole apple, sealing it around until it kinda resembles a dough wrapped baseball.  Then I placed it in a 12 inch cast iron skillet.  The original recipe called to place these in a 9x13 baking dish, but I thought the cast iron skillet might work better.
I didn't use as much butter or brown sugar as the recipe indicated.  I had just under 4 T. butter leftover and about a couple of T. of brown sugar.  Time for the sauce!

Again, modifying the recipe like I wanted, I took 2 T. butter, 3/4 c. sugar and 1 1/2 c. water and brought them to a boil for 5 minutes and added 1 t. vanilla.  The sauce appeared very watery. I wondered if it would make the dough soggy.
This was poured over the dumplings.  I was careful not to dislodge any of the crust.  My 350 degree oven gladly accepted this apple-y offering.  They cooked while the rest of our dinner was prepared and consumed, about an hour.  The dumplings came out of the oven piping hot; the sauce had reduced to a wonderful syrup-like consistency.   They smelled so good, we couldn't wait to try them.
I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream that melted all over that dumpling.  The flavor was astounding.  Very much like apple pie, but better.  I was right to use the cast iron skillet, the bottoms were a deep golden brown.  The sauce added an element that was so complimentary to the apple and to my glee, did not make the dough soggy.  The crust was super flaky and the apple had completely baked down to a soft consistency.  What a treat!  It was a little more time consuming than making apple pie, but I think I will do this again.  (But on a weekend perhaps!)  Give it a try and see what YOU think.


  1. Mmm, apple dumplings are one of my favorite fall desserts and I LOVE getting them at fall festivals, being from eastern PA.

  2. I love apple dumplings! My mom made apple pie all the time, but only made apple dumplings occasionally. They always seem like a treat!!

    1. I think they will stay a treat here...a little bit more time and prep work, but they were sooo good!

  3. Better than apple pie. No doubt about it!

  4. I can't wait to try this. I can taste it now.