It’s a fall afternoon and what could be more alluring than the aroma of apples slowly simmering in your oven? Especially when they’re encased in flaky pastry. Like apple pie and turnovers, Apple Dumplings are another version of this kind of dessert sure to please flaky pastry lovers.
I'm definitely an apple-a-day person but the fall season does give us a chance to emphasize all the incredible ways to celebrate apples. Apple Dumplings are sort of old-fashioned but certainly worth making in the here and now. The idea likely originated in Britain and they were also a favorite in the early period of the American colonies, especially with the Pennsylvania Dutch who liked to bake simple pastries routinely and in good quantity.
The scent of these pastries baking will drive you crazy. So have your plates, knives and forks at the ready to serve them as soon as they jump out of the oven. Seriously, what better way to greet the season? It’s not going to feel like it’s truly fall until you’ve added a dash of pleasure to your table. I say, revel in these intoxicating flavors and aromas as soon as you can!
- The pastry dough can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to two days ahead. If it's kept much longer than that, it starts to turn a very unappealing grey. The sauce can also be made ahead and rewarmed.
- Apples should be smallish medium in size. I used Fujis. Granny Smiths are also great.
- If the rolled-out sheet of dough gets too soft, chill it while you prepare the fruit.
- Add a splash of brandy or rum to the sauce for some seasonal warmth.
- These are best served warm straight from the oven with sauce and vanilla ice cream or a dollop of crème fraiche.
- Lots of apple recipes in my Recipe Index. And I love the Apple Cinnamon Cake from The Global Pastry Table.
1 cup (5 oz) flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 oz (6 tablespoons) cold butter
1/4 cup (2 oz) cold water
1/4 cup (2 oz) sour cream
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons (17 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 oz (1 tablespoon) butter, melted for brushing pastry
granulated sugar for dusting pastry
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons (1 oz) water
1 oz (2 tablespoons) butter
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
salt, to taste
For the pastry dough, place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process to combine. Cut the cold butter into 1/2” pieces, add to the flour mixture and process until it looks like coarse meal. Add the water and pulse about 15 times. The dough will look like lumpy like cottage cheese rather than a smooth dough. Gather the dough and place on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a flattened disc and wrap. Chill at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
Combine sour cream, brown sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon. Chill.
Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator and rest on a lightly floured work surface for a few minutes so it can soften just a bit to prevent cracking. Roll the dough out to a 12" square, gently lifting and moving it after each roll and keeping it lightly floured as needed. When you have the desired size, brush off any excess flour. Trim the edges and cut into four 6” x 6” squares.
Peel the apples, cut in half and core. Fill the cavity of each half with the sour cream mixture. Sprinkle each filled apple with 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar. Center a pastry square on top and invert so the rounded side of the apple is facing up. Sprinkle each apple again with 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Gather each corner of the pastry to the center and pinch the seams and corners to seal. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
Brush each dumpling with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 35 minutes.
While the dumplings are baking, prepare the sauce. Place the brown sugar, butter, water and a pinch of cinnamon in a saucepan over medium low heat. Bring it to a slow boil for just a minute, whisking constantly. Take off the heat and add vanilla and a pinch salt, to taste.
Plate the dumplings with a dollop of sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serve immediately.