Monday, October 21, 2013

Apple Dumplings with Cinnamon Sauce

Here it is - our #1 favorite, most excellent and sumptuous autumn dessert! We first encountered this heavenly pastry enrobed sweet from another time and place, amidst sword -swallowers, madrigal singers, and Renaissance garb and weapons, next to the turkey drumstick booth.  This medieval version was served with a warm cinnamon sauce and vanilla ice cream.  Inspired, I set out on an momentous quest to re-create the Renaissance Fair Apple Dumpling. My daughter champions the Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Dumplings sold in Reading Terminal in Philly as an able opponent to my version below - a worthy rival, I will concede. But the cinnamon sauce of the Fair version, a slightly thickened simple syrup, buttered and cinnamonized, tips the battle in my favor.  A duel between recipes in my kitchen might lead to fighting words - or at least some sword play in defense!  Be sure to cook only until a knife pierces the apple with just a hint of resistance.

Apple Dumplings with Cinnamon Sauce:

         4 medium Granny Smith apples
         1/2 cup sugar
         1 1/2 tab. ground cinnamon
         1/4 tsp. ground cloves
         1/4 tsp. ground allspice
         1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
         1/2 tsp. salt
         1 tab. flour
         finely chopped walnuts (optional)
         2 tab. butter

             2 cups flour
             1 tsp. salt
             3/4 cup shortening
             4 - 6 tab. cold water

          Cinnamon Sauce:
             1 cup brown sugar
             1/2 cup white corn syrup
             1 tab. ground cinnamon
             1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
             3 tab. butter
             1 1/2 tab. flour
             1/2 cup water.
             dash of salt
             2 tsp. vanilla extract

    Prepare Cinnamon Sauce:
        -Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir in flour and stir with wire whip over heat for 1 minute or until incorporated into butter.  Add water, brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently and let bubble until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Set aside.

   Prepare Apples:
       -Peel apples.  Remove the core with a sharp paring knife or apple corer enlarging, the hole to about 1 1/2 inch in diameter.  Be careful not to cut all the way through the bottom of the apple.   Leave about 1/2 inch of flesh in the bottom of the hole created so the filling doesn't ooze out during baking.
      -Combine sugar, 1 1/2 tab. ground cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, nutmeg, salt and flour in mixing bowl.  Add walnuts if used.   Fill the center of each cored apple half full with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place 1/2 tab. butter in the hole.  Continue filling to the top with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

    To Prepare the Pastry: 
        -Place flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl or in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the shortening, mixing well by hand or with the food processor, until the shortening is incorporated and the mixture is the consistency of damp sand.  Handling or processing as little as possible, sprinkle the cold water over the dough and mix just until it will ball together.  Cover the pastry with plastic wrap and chill until needed, or at least 20 minutes.

        -Follow directions below to create dumplings.  Place dumplings 2 to 3 inches apart on well-greased cookie sheet or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Dumplings should be lightly golden and the flesh of the apple just barely done.  Test with a sharp knife - the apple should offer just a bit of resistance.  It is easy to over-bake the dumplings which may cause them to explode and fall apart!

        -Remove from oven and let cool at least 15 minutes.  They are good served warm or cold with cinnamon sauce and vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.

On a lightly floured surface, roll 1/4 of the pastry into a 10-inch round. 
Place the filled apple in the center of the pastry round.

 Gently pull up an edge of the pastry and press up the side of the apple
 and over the top as far as it will reach.  Holding on
with one hand, pull up another section of pastry and overlap it over the first section, pressing
the pastry into place - this will create pleats around the apple.
The pastry should create 5 - 6 pleats to enfold the apple.  Pinch the pastry
firmly at the top of the apple to enclose all the filling, and press against the seams so none of the apple or the filling is visible. 

 Roll out a small circle of pastry scraps and with a paring knife, cut out leaves, scoring a vein
down the center of the leaf -  3 or 4 leaves per dumpling.

 Wet the pastry at the top of the apple with a bit of cream applied with a pastry brush and arrange the leaves, pressing the surfaces of the pastry together so the leaves stay in place..

Make a dimple in the top of the apple and push a whole cloves into the dimple to create a stem.  Brush the surface of the pastry with cream.


  1. These apple dumplings look amazing! I'm originally from Ohio, and growing up we would celebrate with a Johny Appleseed festival every fall - this reminds me of the apple dumplings we would get there. I can't wait to try this recipe out!

  2. These sound delicious. I love the addition of the freshly grated nutmeg.

  3. These look delicious and the presentation is beautiful. I'll have to try them. Thanks for the comment on my blog. I apologize if I commented twice on here, for some reason my first comment wasn't going through.
    Happy baking! :)

  4. Michele, thank you for your kind comments on my blog, as far as being a Pro...not hardly. I think your take on the dumplings is a more classic bend and I would drink that cinnamon syrup from the pitcher!! Happy Blogging!

  5. Looks absolutely DE-LISH! Can't wait to give it a try!!! xoxo

  6. These do look wonderful. You're such an artist! Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on my Apple Dumpling recipe.

  7. Your apple dumplings look delicious!! I love your blog! Fantastic!

  8. I want to serve these for dessert at a dinner party. Can I assemble in advance and bake later? Or should I bake them earlier in the day and reheat?? Thank you.