Apple Dumplings: Past and Present
Whether it's grandma's recipe or a modern favorite, this sweet fall treat is sure to please!
Apple dumplings have been my favorite fall dessert since childhood when my Grandma Bailey served up the apple-filled, pastry packages swimming in a sweet, spiced sauce.
My grandma was one of those grandmas like you see in the movies - all warm and welcoming and serving up Sunday dinners. I can still see her standing in the kitchen, her smile lighting up the whole room. Grandma had the best smile, complete with big, beautiful dimples. You couldn’t help but smile back.
Grandma made this recipe from memory, but thankfully, someone thought to write down the ingredients. I obtained a copy of this ingredient list from my dad a couple of years ago. It was a challenge to interpret the vague copy of this heirloom recipe, but I was determined to re-create the well-loved dessert.
Fortunately, my culinary experience coupled with memories of observing as Grandma assembled her signature dumplings yielded a product that I think she would be proud of. Every time I bake these dumplings for my little family, I think of my grandma and her gorgeous smile.
Grandma Bailey's Apple Dumplings
For the dumplings:
2-1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cups shortening (such as Crisco)
1/2 cup milk
Stir together flour and baking powder. Cut in Crisco. Stir in milk to form a soft dough and knead 2-3 times in the bowl until everything sticks together. Roll out to 1/4" thickness on a floured surface. Cut into 6 squares.
3-4 baking apples, peeled and cored
3-4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons butter for dotting
Cut apples into large pieces and arrange in the center of each dough square. Sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Dot with butter. Lightly brush a small amount of water on the edges of the dough. Fold the corners up to the center. Pinch to seal. Transfer to a rectangular baking dish.
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Bring the ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into the dumpling filled baking dish. Bake dumplings at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Of course, not everyone has the time or patience to mix and roll out homemade pastry. When I’m craving apple dumplings but need a quick fix, I use a more convenient apple dumpling recipe. Refrigerated crescent roll dough serves as the pastry and Mountain Dew is the surprise “secret” ingredient in this modern take on apple dumplings.
I can have these dumplings ready for the oven in a fraction of the time that it takes to make pastry dough, peel apples, make sauce and lovingly shape each dumpling using my grandma's recipe. A pan of these easy dumplings comes together in about 15 minutes. They aren’t grandma’s, but they are pretty amazing!
Easy Apple Dumplings from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
2 whole Granny Smith Apples
2 cans (8 Oz. Cans) Crescent Rolls
2 sticks butter
1-½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cinnamon, to taste
1 can (12 Oz.) Mountain Dew soda
Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in a 9 x 13 buttered pan.
Melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour Mountain Dew around the edges of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.
If you’re interested in a hands-on apple dumpling class, be sure to sign up at Polaris Adult Education. The class will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Strongsville High School from 6:30-9 p.m. or go to coolbeansmedina.com and sign up for the Oct. 13 Apple Dumpling Face Off.