Apples are the fruit of the season now with the holidays approaching. Nothing beats a warm apple pie, apple crisp or old fashioned apple dumplings using some of the season’s baking apple varieties. I look for winesaps, Jonathans, Braeburns, pink lady, or granny smiths but scoop up any local apple that will hold its shape when cooked for this recipe.
The pastry for a classic dumpling is no big mystery, any good basic crust will do. In a pinch, store bought pie pastry or even the refrigerated dough in the tubes for crescent rolls make a reasonable quick wrapper for apple dumplings. (My standard go-to pie crust recipe can be found here).
There are a few versions of this popular fall desert. Some bake the dumplings right in the caramel syrup. I prefer a flakier dumpling. I bake the dumplings separately and serve the sauce drizzled over the top right before serving. You can do either it either way with this recipe, just prepare the sauce first and let it cool. Pour into a 9 x 12 baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place the dumplings right on top of the syrup and bake as directed in the recipe.
6 large apples, peeled and cored
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Butter (about 3 tablespoons), room temp
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp milk
Standard pie pastry for a double crust pie
2 cups apple cider
½ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla
1 teaspoon dark rum or bourbon (optional)
Roll out pastry and cut into squares enough to cover apples completely. Peel and core apples. Roll in lemon juice.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon and then roll the apples in the mixture. Place on a square of the pastry. Stuff core cavity with brown sugar, butter, brown sugar in equal parts. (The amount depends on size of core cavity, just stuff full.) Fold pastry up around apple to completely enclose it. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or very lightly greased baking sheet). Brush tops with the beaten egg/milk mixture and bake in a preheated 375 degree over for 45-60- minutes until golden brown.
Prepare sugar sauce by mixing the cider, sugar, butter and nutmeg together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until slightly reduced and syrupy. Stir in the vanilla and rum, if using. Let cool.
To serve, spoon the sauce over the dumplings and serve with vanilla ice cream.