Before yesterday afternoon, I was an apple dumpling virgin….and let me just tell you, life is so much sweeter on the other side.
This is another one of my great grandmother’s recipes. If you weren’t around on Saturday, I explained I was starting a new fun project of baking through my great grandmother’s recipe collection in it’s entirety and blogging about every Crisco smeared moment of it. I’m calling this project “The Recipe Box Challenge” and in the future, there will be a special page just dedicated to the cause. I’m doing this to honor my great grandmother and learn more about my own family history (something I’ve always been very interested in!).
But oh my word….these dumplings!
I sort of thought they might be a little “so-so”. Like…I’m making this recipe because I committed myself to the project but I’m not too crazy excited about it. I think apple pie is just “okay” and will opt for cake when given the choice.
However, these totally blew.me.away.
I hope no one is afraid of Crisco around here. Because great grandma sure wasn’t.
In keeping her recipes as authentic as possible, I won’t be attempting to sub out ingredients or make anything “healthy” that clearly should just be left alone. However, I will be making slight changes to ingredients (like clabbered milk or “cakes” of yeast) if something doesn’t work or just isn’t feasible for a modern day kitchen.
Random sidenote: whenever I think of Crisco now I think of the book, The Help, when Minny teaches Celia on the importance of it:
“Crisco ain’t just for fryin’. It will remove gum from your hair and cure diaper rash. You can use it as a moisturizer or to soften your husbands scaly feet. It can clean the goo from a price tag and even take the squeak out of a door hinge. If your lights get cut off, stick a wick in it and burn it like a candle. And after all of that, it will still fry your chicken!”
You can core the apples or just peel them, then all you do is wrap ’em up in the dough, pour the syrup over and let them bake away. I found a great deal on tiny gala apples at Trader Joe’s, so that’s what I’m using here. You’ll want to stick with a small apple or slice them up so they fit in the pastry dough.
The sauce bakes right along with the apples and turns into a magical caramel syrup that I was tempted to suck through a straw post baking. The dumplings themselves have the perfect combination of crispy and chewy corners of crust….so good that they will make a dumpling believer out of just about anyone.
And on that note, can someone please come over to my house and remove the spoon from my grubby little hand? I can’t seem to stop cracking open the fridge and drowning myself in cinnamon sugar syrup.
You think I’m kidding…..but I’m totally not.
Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings
makes 4-5 dumplings
for the sauce:
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
for the dumplings:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
4-5 tbsp milk
4-5 small apples
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a small saucepot, combine the water, sugar, cinnamon and butter. Bring to a boil and stir until the butter melts completely. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the dumplings.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and shortening. Mix with your fingers until dough has a grainy texture (will look sort of like cornmeal). Add the milk and mix until combined.
Roll out dough to 1/8th inch thick on a well floured surface. Cut into 4-5 large squares.
Peel and core your apples then place one apple on each square of dough. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over top of the apple then gently wrap dough around apple, sealing edges with a little water. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t completely enclose around the apples—just do the best you can.
Place the dumplings in a greased pan and pour the sauce over the dumplings and around the sides of the pan.
Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown.