Cook's Country (November 2009)
Thumbing through the most recent Cook's Country, we stopped dead in our tracks at the site of these Baked Apple Dumplings.
Pieces of apple, enveloped in flaky dough, dusted in sugar and set in a pool of sweet cider sauce? Adorable and mouth-watering.
They looked so old-fashioned, like something your great-grandmother would make to top off Sunday lunch.
So we made them the first chance we got.
In the Fall and early winter, we almost always have apples on hand. Every Sunday,we buy Honeycrisp apples at the farmer's market, and we love them. Seriously, we practically swoon every time we eat one. We were tempted to try Honeycrisps here, in place of the Golden Delicious that are suggested, but we decided to follow the recipe to the letter. Besides, this being an America's Test Kitchen recipe, we were pretty sure they had already made these dumplings with just about every variety of apple that exists and had chosen the best one.
The only change we made in assembling these dumplings is that we halved the recipe. If you'd like to do the same, we suggest making the full portion of dough and halving the rest so that you have plenty of dough and roll out as much as you need.
These are by no means a quick dessert, but they're an entirely satisfying one.
The basic dough comes together quickly, but needs to rest for an hour in the refrigerator. If you plan ahead and make the dough in advance, this won't slow you down. The apples are very easy to prep.
We were surprised to find that the apples hold a secret: a small mound of golden raisins, butter and cinnamon-sugar where the core used to be. As the dumplings bake, this little package turns into pure deliciousness. We used all of this mixture that was called for, but found ourselves wanting a little more to pile into each apple. Next time, we might make a little extra.
We had planned to eat these with vanilla ice cream. But with the added sweetness of the cider sauce, we found that we didn't need it.
The end result is phenomenal. Like little individual apple pies on a plate, these Baked Apple Dumplings are comforting and delicious dessert that tastes like home, or maybe your granny's house.
Use a melon baller or a metal teaspoon measure to core the apples. We like to serve the dumplings warm with vanilla ice cream and Cider Sauce (recipe below). Other sweet, moderately firm apples, such as Braeburns or Galas, can be used in this recipe.
2½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into ½-inch pieces and chilled
¾ cup cold buttermilk
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
4 Golden Delicious apples (see note)
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1. MAKE DOUGH Process flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined. Scatter butter and shortening over flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer to bowl. Stir in buttermilk until dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead briefly until dough is cohesive. Press dough into 8- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut in half, wrap each half tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
2. PREP APPLES Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. In second bowl, combine butter, raisins, and 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar mixture. Peel apples and halve through equator. Following photos 1 and 2, remove core and pack butter mixture into each apple half.
3. ASSEMBLE DUMPLINGS On lightly floured surface, roll each dough half into 12-inch square. Cut each 12-inch square into four 6-inch squares. Working one at a time, lightly brush edges of dough square with egg white and place apple, cut-side up, in center of each square. Following photo 3, gather dough one corner at a time on top of apple, crimping edges to seal. Using paring knife, cut vent hole in top of each dumpling.
4. FINISH APPLES Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Following photo 4, arrange dumplings on prepared baking sheet, brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until dough is golden brown and juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 10 minutes. Serve with Cider Sauce.
Makes about 1½ cups
To make this sauce up to 2 days in advance, reduce the cider mixture until it measures 1½ cups, then refrigerate. When ready to serve, return mixture to simmer and whisk in butter and lemon juice off heat.
1 cup apple cider
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Bring cider, water, sugar, and cinnamon to simmer in saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to 1½ cups, about 15 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice. Drizzle over dumplings to serve.