Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mom's Apple Dumplings

Apple Dumpling…apple dumpling…ample duppling…… This is one of those things that Mom and I used to laugh over when I was a kid. Try to say “apple dumpling” three times really fast and see what comes out. Yes, we were silly. And no, for some sad reason, now when I try it it comes out correctly every time.

Frankly it was more fun when Mom and I were giggling in the kitchen over the ample dupplings. This is one of the things I remember very early on helping Mom make. She would make the dough and cut up the apples and I would hold the dough in my little hands while she piled in the apples, spices and a couple of dabs of butter. Then I got to fold them up and put them in the baking dish. Like lumps of wobbly rocks in a sack, I had to be careful not to lose any apples during the process and I was always to proud that I helped make this wonderful dessert.

Me and Mom having fun in one
of those photo booths. We really
liked to giggle!  1962
I cannot count the number of cold, winter Saturday nights when these were our actual dinner if we’d had a bigger lunch that day. There is always something warm and comforting about a hot dumpling fresh from the oven served with a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of ice cold milk on top. Ahhhh….that really hits the comfort spot.

Meanwhile, it’s actually been over 20 years since I made these but I miss them terribly, especially in the fall when the apples are abundant. Mom had a special crust recipe she used for these but as a busy single cook I don’t really have the time to fuss with that so I’ve taken a shortcut by using store bought pie crust and it tastes just fine. Someday when company comes over I'll dig out the real recipe, but for now this will do just fine.

These little bundles aren’t fancy but they are like a warm piece of apple pie a la mode turned up just a smidge.  The ingredients are like apple pie, so if you have a favorite spice blend feel free to use it here, that's what I do.  The big difference is that this pastry bundle has a sauce poured over the baking dumpling that makes the crust all gooey and sweet.  The sauce thickens as it bakes and the idea is to baste the bundles once or twice during the baking time to keep the top moist. 

Feel free to serve this with some wonderful vanilla ice cream on top but frankly I cannot wait for the ice cream to melt so I top mine with some cold milk.  If you find your dumpling not quite sweet enough, a sprinkling of sugar on the top is a delightful addition to the bowl. 

I purchased a package of a double pie crust from the refrigerated section of my grocer.  Baking for one pretty much rules out baking an entire pie, so I rolled out each crust on my board and cut each into quarters.  One was left out for today's dessert and the rest were wrapped in plastic wrap and tucked into a plastic freezer bag for storage in the freezer.  When I need a small crust for something it's a simple task to pull out one piece to work with leaving the rest for later use.

Mom used to assemble these and put them into the freezer unbaked.  They were always a hit with company and because she had them pre-assembled it was an easy dessert that she could thaw out that day to bake and the house would smell of warm cinnamon and apples by the time company arrived.


1/4 of a 9-inch pie crust
   1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced (about 1 cup of apple slices)
   sprinkle of cinnamon, ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg to taste
   1 teaspoon butter, cut into quarters
    1/4 cup water
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon butter

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.  Set out a small baking dish and butter it.  Set out the piece of crust onto a board. Feel free to roll out the edges so make the piece a little larger. Pile the sliced apples and spiced into the center of the crust and top with the butter pats.

Pull the edges over the apples to enclose the filling being careful not to puncture the crust.

Put the dumpling into a baking dish, tucked seams down and smooth side up.  Cut a slit into the top to allow steam to escape.

Put the dumpling in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile prepare the sauce.

In a small heavy saucepan, combine the water and sugar over medium-high heat.  Allow the sauce to come to a boil.  Add the butter to the sauce and allow to simmer until the sauce just begins to turn gold.  Swirl the pan - do not stir. 

Once it has turned light gold, remove from the heat.

Pour the sauce over the top of the baking dumpling.  Return to the oven and bake an additional 25-30 minutes (will depend upon how thinly you sliced your apples). 

Every 10 minutes, baste the sauce over top of the dumpling.  Dumpling are done when you can run a knife into the center and it comes out easily. 

Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before serving. 

I prefer mine with some ice cold milk on top. 


Leanne said...

Those look amazing! I had no idea it could be that easy. I've got a whole bag of apples from apple picking... do you know how many dumplings that could be?!?! Yum!

Bobbi said...

I hope you make some of these Leanne! They are so good and are like your own personal gooey apple pie! Let me know if you try them.