Sunday, May 24, 2009

Now All We Need Is A Gang: Grandma's Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

I grew up in the 1970s, and cut my entertainment consumer teeth on the offerings of the Walt Disney Company. I saw everything, and loved it all. I didn't necessarily understand it all, but that's part of the fun of a Disney movie -- you can still laugh along. Take The Apple Dumpling Gang. I adored that movie! But... I didn't really know what apple dumplings were. In fact, I didn't have an apple dumpling until ...

Crap. I've never had an apple dumpling. Okay, we'll fix that! And, just because we can, I'll use a recipe from The Fruit of the Spirit: 100th Anniversary of Bittinger Lutheran Parish (Chefly Husband suggests I can try it right away, if I just clean the kitchen! Love is strong in our household, but the cleaning instinct needs a little bit of a push here and there.).
Grandma's Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings
Kristen Shawley

6 med. sized Granny Smith apples
2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. shortening
1/2 c. milk

Peel and core apples. Cut in half. For pastry, sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in shortening, until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle milk over mixture and press together lightly, working dough only enough to hold together. Roll dough as for pastry and cut 12 squares and place 1/2 an apple on each. Fill cavity in apple with sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon. Pat dough around apple, to cover it completely. Fasten edges securely on top of apple. Place in baking pan and cover with sauce (recipe follows). Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes. Baste every 15 minutes, during baking. (Unbaked dumplings with sauce may be frozen. If frozen, increase baking time to approximately 1 hour.)

2 c. brown sugar
2 c. water
1/4 c. butter
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Combine brown sugar, water and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cook for 5 minutes; remove from heat and add butter. Stir until butter is melted.
According to Wikipedia, apple dumplings are a Northeastern thing -- so I don't feel so terrible that my Northwestern self grew up so deprived -- and that they are a common dessert but also breakfast.

Oooo, I'm a fan of hot pastry for breakfast. Hot pastry, with milk or ice cream. For breakfast. Hot, sauce-covered, sugary, healthful apples.


  1. You've never had an apple dumpling?!?! How is such a thing even possible?

    It's just so sad. I'm so sorry, hon.

  2. So, Amanda, were apple dumplings something common in your community, or in your family, or... ? How did they become a part of your culinary history?

    And, are they as tasty as they sound?

  3. My mom's apple dumplings are TO DIE FOR. I have the recipe, and sadly, I only make them once a year or so, as they're pretty labor intensive. But come to think of it, I haven't made them in the past 2 or 3 years.

    We ate them as a main course for dinner, with milk poured over them and plenty of sugar dumped on top (we also used to eat homemade strawberry shortcake for mom was pretty much awesome). But now that I'm an adult, I prefer them for breakfast. Sooooo good. And I'll share the recipe, if you want. I'm surprised that my Mom's recipe doesn't have cinnamon, but it's so good just the way it is.

  4. Yes, PLEASE share, Karyn!

    My mom would let us (well, me) eat strawberry shortcake for dinner, too. Strawberry season was too glorious to NOT eat strawberries as much as possible.