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 forget 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.
Ingredients For Fresh Apple Dumplings:
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
Pie Crust Ingredients:
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
Check out Starla’s video demonstrating how to make a wonderful homemade pie crust in her post on Homemade Blueberry Pie!
To Make Fresh Apple Dumplings
First, you’ll need to make the pie crust. In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, salt & sugar. Next, mix the dry ingredients with a whisk. 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. Lastly, you will add the cold water slowly until the dough comes together. It should be soft and pliable, but not overly wet. I used the entire cup of water when I made this recipe.
Before you begin assembling your apple dumplings, 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. Optional: You can also add some nuts or raisins to the center of the apples.
When the dough is formed, cut the dough in half. Next cut those halves again, and once 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. However, if they are smaller apples, you may be able to get up to 20.
Time to Assemble!
After that, you will roll out each round of dough into a rough circle on a floured surface. Moreover, you will want to make sure 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. This will ensure that each fold of dough sticks together at the top.
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.
Place the dumplings on a large, parchment lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer for an hour. Once 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. If you are baking frozen dumplings, allow 5 extra minutes.
Creme Anglaise to Pour Over Apple Dumplings
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 to low and stir the mixture until it is slightly thickened. It should not be too thick, but should coat the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla or cinnamon to taste! This is a delicious sauce to pour over the dumplings!