Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apple Dumplings

When I was in the high school marching band our big fund raiser was baking apple pies and dumplings from scratch in the fall.  After all, apples are were a big industry in this town.  We'd make the dough in huge bins, starting with a 5lb bag of flour.  The recipe includes egg and vinegar, which are unusual crust ingredients but give really good flavor and texture.  This crust has made me kind of a pie crust snob.  It has to be worth the calories, and crust made with just flour, salt, water, and butter just doesn't cut it for me.  So here is what I consider to be good crust, followed by the band recipe for apple dumplings:

Never-Fail Pie Crust
Makes enough for two double-crust pies or six apple dumplings (I like my dumpling dough to be thick)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shortening (Please don't judge me, just do it and enjoy the flakiness.)
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup cold water
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Cut shortening into flour and salt. You can use a food processor for this step, but a pastry cutter works fine and is easier to clean. Combine egg, water, and vinegar in a separate bowl.  Pour liquid mixture into crumbly mixture all at once.  Blend with a spoon or your hands just until flour is moistened.  Do not overmix.  Chill one hour before rolling to allow gluten to relax.

Apple Dumplings
Makes six
1 recipe Never-Fail Pie Crust, unbaked
6 medium apples
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup butter
1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 400. Grease the bottom of a 9"x13" baking dish.
  2. Peel and core apples.  I use a peeler/corer/slicer tool which makes quick work of this, plus the apples are easier to eat when they are presliced.
  3. Combine water, 1 cup of the sugar, 3 Tbsp. of the butter, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon in a small saucepan.  Allow to boil, then remove from heat.
  4. Mix remaining 1/2 c. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a small bowl, preferably with a pouring spout.
  5. Roll out dough into a large rectangle approximately 16" x 24", flouring your rolling surface underneath as you go.  Cut into six squares.
  6. Place one apple on each square. Fill cavities with dry cinnamon-sugar mixture, and dot with remaining butter.  With slightly wet fingertips, bring one corner of pastry square up to the top of the apple, then bring the opposite corner to the top and press together. Bring up the two remaining corners, and seal. Gently pinch the seams to seal in the apple.
  7. Lift dumplings carefully off your work surface so you don't lose the filling.  Place in baking dish.  Pour hot syrup around dumplings.  It may seem like they are swimming in juice, but it will cook down and thicken. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crust is browned. 

1 comment:

Casey Henry said...

I have serious nostalgia for our apple pies/dumplings. I'd make my mom buy them for me when I went off to college and keep them in the freezer for me to take back to Charlottesville with me. Thanks for the recipe, not that I have any time to bake, but maybe eventually I will, at some point. Maybe.