Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Grandma Simpson's Apple Dumplings

Large chunks of most of my childhood summers were spent visiting my mom's side of the family throughout Wisconsin.  My Grandma Simpson lived in Wausau, which is where we spent the bulk of our time, however we also drove all over the state visiting assorted family members.  I have memories of stops at a restaurant with goats on the roof, a restaurant with a giant Paul Bunyan statue in the parking lot, dipping my toes in the great lakes, exploring the resort where my parents met, and a general sense of amazement- as the California child that I was- by basements, summer rainstorms, and green trees.

 Also, I remember the Killer Apples.

One warm summer evening, 25 or-so years ago, we were all gathered together enjoying a meal in the sunroom at my grandma's house.  Dinner had been cleared and everyone was eagerly anticipating dessert, as we were about to have my grandma's legendary apple dumplings.

The dessert appeared from the kitchen with much fanfare, however the excitement was soon cut short by my sister's tears.

These apples happened to be absolutely giant specimens.  Huge.
My dad made a lighthearted quip about "killer apples."

That was enough to send my younger sister, who was around 4 at the time, into a panic.
She was terrified of those "killer apples."
Total panic.
She cried.  She refused to go near them, much less to take a bite.
It was definitely a memorable (and lets face it...amusing...) end to the meal!

Honestly, that may have been the last time I had apple dumplings prepared by my grandma, but I've certainly heard my mom wax rhapsodic about them plenty of times over the years.  I've had the recipe shoved in a folder full of recipes I've printed out over the years and never gotten around to making and I just recently I finally had the perfect excuse to make them!

So, you know I've been an Allrecipes Allstar for going on five years now and it's just all around an amazing thing.  I've met so many wonderful people and had so many amazing experiences.  It's been incredible.  I just got back from another trip to Des Moines to Meredith Corporation (the company that owns Allrecipes) headquarters full of so many amazing experiences!  Cocktail party, fancy dinner, cooking in the Better Homes and Gardens test kitchen, exploring the Better Homes and Gardens test garden, winning a photoshoot competition for the magazine with my team...aaaaaaah so amazing.  I can't wait to see those ladies (and handful of gentlemen...) again!

Anyway, we were spoiled as always and one of the items I came home with was a 3-in-1 Apple Peeler/Corer, Slicer, Spiral Cutter.  Immediately I knew it was time to make those dumplings!

The slicer itself can be used for way more things than just apples- This would work beautifully on potatoes or any number of vegetables.  I was left with a giant pile of apple peel in such a short period of time.  This is actually just one item in the new Allrecipes cookware line- I'll write more about my love affair with their Sizzle Sensor fry pan another time.  It's fabulous.

Anyway, back to the dumplings!
So I did make a couple of itty bitty changes.
First of all, she left her apples whole and cored- I thought I might as well use the slicing feature and let that cinnamon/sugar goodness soak in throughout the apple as well.  I just grabbed the sliced/cored/peeled apple off of the little device and set the whole thing- still in the shape of an apple- on the square of pastry.

This is a totally unnecessary step if you don't feel like doing it.
Don't have the fancy schmancy little device that does it all for you?
Feel free to just peel and core the apples.

Also, if you look at that image of the original recipe you will notice that I swapped out brown sugar for white in the apple filling and I also upped the spices a little.

I have a hard time leaving well enough alone sometimes, but generally that doesn't turn out to be a bad thing- these were amazing.

If you really want to up your dessert game serve these à la mode.
That would be fabulous.
Not sure how much decadence you can handle, but wow.  That would be good.

So anyway, these are pretty much like little individual apple pies.
An apple is peeled and cored (and sliced, in my case), placed on a square of pie crust, and the center is filled with a cinnamon sugar mixture.  Dot with a little butter, close up the pie crust around the apple, Cover with a spiced syrup, and bake.

These would make such impressive little desserts at a holiday meal or dinner party!

Thanks grandma.  :-)

For Pie Crust:
2 1/4 C flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 C shortening
7-8 tsp ice water, or as needed

For Apples:
6 medium apples
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
2 Tbsp butter

For syrup:
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C light corn syrup
1 C water
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1. Whisk together flour, salt, and cinnamon for pie crust.  Cut in shortening until ingredients are very crumbly.  Sprinkle enough water over mix to just hold dry ingredients together; mix together and form into a ball.  Wrap with wax paper and allow to chill in fridge for 20 minutes.

2. Roll out dough (1/2 batch at a time) to 1/8" thickness and cut into 7" squares.  Any extra dough may be reserved for decorative garnish if desired.

3. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves for apples.

4. Peel and core (and slice if desired) apples.  Place each apple in the center of a square of pastry dough.  Fill empty center of each apple with 1/6 of the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Dot top of apple with 1 tsp of butter.  Bring opposite corners of square together at top of apple and press to seal seams.    Place in baking dish, not allowing dumplings to touch.

5. Preheat oven to 500° F.  Combine all syrup ingredients in pan and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil for 3 minutes.  Pour syrup mixture over the top of all of the dumplings.  Bake immediately, for 5-7 minutes until the crust begins to show slight coloring.  Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes.  Occasionally spoon hot syrup from bottom of pan over the top of dumplings while cooking.  Serve warm.


  1. This is the perfect recipe to welcome fall! I can't wait to try it, I've always wanted use an apple peeler!

    1. It made peeling the apples go soooo much more quickly!


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