This recipe is a version of my husband's Mom-mom Bessie's recipe. She made the BEST apple dumplings. Of course, she had no measurements and just "dumped" the ingredients. I was lucky enough to have spent a few days with her in her kitchen to learn how she made some of her wonderful dishes. These apple dumplings are the closest I could get to hers. I use cider to make the simple syrup to baste the dumplings, but have already made the syrup by adding the apple parings to the boiling syrup and let it boil for about 4-5 minutes, cool, then strain before pouring over the dumplings.
Notes from the Test Kitchen:
Your kitchen is going to smell amazing when this is is cooking. And it tastes divine too! The cider simple syrup added great flavor. The pastry and apples were cooked perfectly. A great comfort dessert!
SIMPLE CIDER SYRUP
apple cider (or apple juice)
all purpose flour
butter flavor shortening
ice cold water
cooking apples (cortland, macintosh or granny smith)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously coat an 8"X8" baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. (If apples are large and do not fit, use a bigger baking dish.)
Simple Cider Syrup: Combine the sugar, cinnamon, water and apple cider in a small saucepan. Mix well and bring to a boil. Let boil, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Pastry: In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until crumbs are formed and pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water at a time over flour mixture. Gently toss with fork and push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat until dough holds together. Divide into 4 equal portions, forming each into a ball and flatten out to make 4 discs. Cover and set aside.
Apple prep: Peel apples, cut in half and remove seeds. Place 1 teaspoon of butter into each of 4 apple half acvities. Divide cinnamon-sugar evenly between apples, placing other half of apple on top of "filled" half. Press lightly together (butter should act as a "glue" to hold halves together). Set aside.
To prepare pastry: On a lightly floured surface, roll each douch disc into a circle about 1/8" thick. Place a filled apple in center of each dough circle. Moisten edges of pastry with water and bring dough up around apples, being careful not to tear pastry. Press edges together on top of apple to seal.
Place wrapped apples in prepared baking dish. Gently pour cider syrup evenly over apples and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until pastry is golden.