An apple dumpling is a pastry filled with apple, cinnamon and occasionally raisins. Apples are peeled and cored, placed on a portion of dough, then filled with cinnamon, butter and sugar. Then the dough is folded over the apples and the dumplings are baked until tender.
Apple dumplings are a native food in the northeastern United States, around Pennsylvania. A very common recipe among the Pennsylvania Dutch, it is often eaten as a breakfast item, but they are also a very common dessert item after meals. It’s also popular to eat them with ice cream or in milk.
The are also popular in Czech cuisine.
In the UK a suet pastry is often used, although shortcrust is also common. A filling of dates, sultanas or raisins is often inserted into the cavity left by removal of the core, and dark sugar is popular there too.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (see note)
- ¾ tablespoon baking powder (see note)
- ¾ teaspoon salt (see note)
- ¼ cup icing sugar
- ½ cup cold butter
- ¾ - 1 cup milk
- 4 small apples, peeled and cored, peels reserved
- ¾ tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 cups water
- apple peels (from above)
- ¾ tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ tablespoon boiled cider, optional, but adds to the taste
- white sugar or demerara sugar, for topping the dumplings prior to baking
- To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar (or whisk the sugar into the self-rising flour, if you're using it).
- Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, using your fingers, a pastry fork or blender, or a mixer, leaving some pea-sized pieces.
- Sprinkle in the smaller amount of milk, and stir. Add a bit more milk as needed, just until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic, and put it in the freezer to chill.
- To prepare the apples: Wash, peel and core the apples, saving the peels.
- Slice the apples in half around the centre. Sprinkle the apple halves with the lemon juice (to keep them from browning), then set them aside.
- To make the syrup: Combine the brown sugar, water, and apple peels in a medium-sized saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Lightly grease a 33 cm x 23 cm pan.
- To assemble the dumplings: Remove half the dough from the freezer and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Roll it into a 30 cm x 30 cm square; it'll be thin.
- Cut the dough into four 15 cm squares.
- Place an apple half on each square, and then sprinkle each with a tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Moisten the edges of the square and bring them up over the apples, tucking them together in the centre of the apple.
- Place the apples, seam-side up, in the prepared pan.
- Repeat with the remaining dough and apples.
- Strain the syrup to remove the apple peels. Stir in the lemon juice and boiled cider, if you're using it.
- Pour this syrup evenly over the dumplings. Sprinkle the dumplings with the white sugar or demerara sugar.
- To bake the dumplings: Bake the dumplings for 45 to 50 minute, until the apples are tender and the pastry is brown. The liquid will bubble and thicken.
- Remove the dumplings from the oven, and let them sit for at least 10 minutes before serving; this allows the dough to firm up. Serve as is, or with vanilla ice cream, if desired