Big Ben Franklin recommended an apple a day for the benefit of your health. I recommend an apple dumpling as often as possible for the good of your soul.
Lately I’ve been missing Apple Works who decided not to do the Market this year. It’s not that I miss their apples and other produce so much, although it was lovely. I really yearn for their apple dumplings. I guess I’ll just have to bake my own.
Baked Apple Dumplings
Makes 6 dumplings
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch kosher salt
- 4 1/2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1 cup milk (or just enough to make the dough stick together)
Ingredients for the Filling:
- Juice from one lemon
- 6 extra small baking apples (ask your vendor)
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
Ingredients for the Caramel Sauce:
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- Pinch of kosher salt
For the dumplings:
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Add milk — 1/4 cup at a time — and stir until a shaggy ball of dough just begins to form. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a large rectangle or square, about 1/8-inch thick.
- Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 6-inch square. Using the parchment paper as a guide, cut 6 total squares from the dough, gathering scraps and re-rolling as needed. Layer the dough on pieces of parchment paper and refrigerate while preparing the apples.
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Add the lemon juice to a bowl of ice water. If necessary, slice off the bottom of each apple so it sits level on the counter. Peel and core each apple and place in the lemon water to prevent browning.
To make the filling:
- Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bottom of a square of dough with sugar mixture. Place an apple in the center of dough. Put one pat of butter in the core of the apple and sprinkle additional sugar mixture inside. Bring the four corners of dough up around the apple, pinching the edges to seal and folding over excess if necessary. Continue with all of the apples.
- Arrange the apple dumplings in a large cast iron skillet, leaving about 1-inch of space between each apple. Bake until the crust begins to turn golden brown, about 20 – 25 minutes. Meanwhile make the caramel sauce. Remove the par-baked dumplings from the oven and pour the caramel over top and around the apples.
- Reduce oven to 350°. Continue to bake the dumplings until the sauce is thick and bubbly and the apples are very tender when pierced, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before eating. Serve warm with ice cream.
To make the caramel sauce:
Combine the brown sugar, water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 2 -3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and pour over dumplings before returning to the oven (step 3 above).
I like mine fresh from the oven in a bowl with cream. No time for baking apple dumplings? How about any of these amazing apple recipes from Kitchn here, including one for Spelt Crust Pizza with Fennel Prosciutto and Apples (get your spelt crust from Valentine Farm).