Dessert dumplings are individual-sized pastries filled with fruit. Dumplings are usually baked and topped with a syrupy sauce. The classic dumpling is, of course, made with apples, bountiful with the fall apple harvest, beginning in September. These delicious pastries will become a family favorite (or may be a tradition in your family), and they are the perfect finish to a delicious fall stew or casserole.
Dumplings had their origin in England, spreading to areas of Germany and central Europe. They started with centers filled with meat and evolved into savory fruit-filled creations as a dessert. Dumplings made their way over to the United States and were concentrated in Pennsylvania with the Amish, who often eat dumplings for breakfast. In the United Kingdom, the hole in the center of the apple – made by removal of the core – is typically filled with dates, raisins or sultanas.
Originally, apple dumplings used to be boiled and steamed in water or juice. The German word “dampf” means steam. Original recipes for dumplings described dropping them into boiling water, but today, people tend to bake dumpling desserts in the oven, spicing them up with cinnamon or nutmeg and a little lemon zest. People enjoy their dumplings with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drenched in a syrupy or caramel sauce. Some top their apple dumpling with simple whipped cream.
To make a delicious dumpling, you need to peel and core the apple of your choice. Place it on a portion of square dough, then fill the core with cinnamon, butter and sugar. Fold the dough over the apples and bake them until tender.
National Apple Dumpling Day is Sept. 17, and it reserves the day to pay homage to this amazing, little, rustic dessert. There are many versions of darling apple dumplings, but you can try the following recipe to celebrate!
2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup milk
4 tart apples
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 cups water
1. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl.
2. Cut in shortening until mixture is consistency of coarse corn meal. Add enough milk to make a soft dough, stirring vigorously.
3. Make a dough that can be easily rolled into a 1/8” thick sheet. Cut into squares.
4. Pare, core and halve the apples. Place each apple half on a square of dough large enough to wrap it in.
5. Combine ½ cup of the granulated sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle each apple half with 1 tablespoon of this mixture.
6. Dot each generously with butter, and add ¼ teaspoon lemon juice to each.
7. Moisten edges of each pastry with a little water. Fold the corners of each square dough up around each apple half to the center; seal by pinching together.
8. Place in a shallow baking dish.
9. Meanwhile, cook together for 10 minutes the remaining granulated sugar, butter, brown sugar and water. Place the baking dish in a 375-degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes. Fifteen minutes before done, pour syrup over dumplings and continue baking.
10. Serve warm, and add ice cream or light cream over dumpling.