This time of year my grandma and her sisters used to spend a weekend making apple dumplings together. She had a yellow delicious apple tree that was apparently always loaded. The sisters would come together to tease and bicker and laugh and bake together. Grandma would pack the freezer full, giving them away at the holidays to friends and family, or popping a few in the oven for dessert on the fly. This is definitely a nostalgic memory of my grandma from my childhood. I’ll never forgot her strawberry themed kitchen.
Though my grandma has passed away and I never really got her recipe, this is my attempt! I think I’m pretty close to the real deal.
16-18 medium sized apples, peeled and cored. I used an old variety that I picked for free from a friend. It is likely a Macintosh.
1 cup granulated sugar
8 tsp cinnamon
1-2 sticks of butter (8-16 teaspoons) (depending on your taste you may want more or less)
2 eggs, whisked
5 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 cup cold butter
1 cup cold lard
1/2 – 1 cup cold water
In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, salt & sugar. Mix the dry ingredients, and then add your butter and lard in chunks (about 1 tsp size) to the flour mixture. With your hands or a pastry cutter, rub the flour mixture and fat together until it forms evenly distributed, course rubble. Add the cold water slowly until the dough comes together, and is soft, but not wet. I used the entire cup of water when I made this recipe.
Your apples should be peeled and cored. Place the 1 cup of sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and mix well. Cut up your pieces of butter. These things will go into the middle of the cored apples.
When the dough is formed, cut the dough in half. Cut those halves in half again, and again until you have 16 pieces. If you are using more apples, cut the dough for the appropriate number of apples. I would not suggest more than 18 apples with this recipe, but if they are small you may be able to get up to 20.
On a floured surface, roll out each dough piece into a rough circle, taking care it is large enough to cover an apple. The thickness will be about 1/8 inch. Place an apple on your dough circle, and in the middle, place a 1 or 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon/sugar mixture and a dollop of butter ( 1/2 – 1 teaspoon). I sprinkled a little over the top of the apples as well. Carefully start folding the dough up over the top of the the apple in pleats, placing a drop of water between folds, so that each fold of dough sticks together at the top.
For baking: When each apples is blanketed, place in a shallow, parchment lined baking dish, giving each about 1/2 inch of space on each side. If you plan to bake all, splitting them into shifts of 5 – 10 is probably best. Do not squeeze too many into one dish. Brush each dumpling with some of the whisked egg mixture and sprinkle with some cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes.
For Freezing: Place the dumplings on a large, parchment lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer for an hour. When they are frozen solid, place them into freezer bags, 2-4 at a time, and place the bags back in the freezer for later use. When baking frozen dumplings, allow 5 extra minutes.
**Optional: You can also add some nuts or raisins to the apples.
Place these three ingredients in a small saucepan:
1 1/4 cups of milk
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
In a separate bowl combine:
1 egg yolk
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
reserve 1 tsp of vanilla/and or a 1/4 tsp of cinnamon for the end
Warm the milk mixture on the stove top until hot, but not boiling. Mix the egg yolk mixture well in the separate bowl. When the milk is hot, turn the heat down very low/off and add about 1/2 cup of it to the egg mixture. Whisk quickly and thoroughly until it is smooth and add the egg mixture back to the remaining hot milk on the stove. Turn heat back on to low and stir the mixture until it is slightly thickened. It should not be too thick, but should coat a spoon. Add the vanilla or cinnamon to taste! This is a delicious sauce for over the dumplings!