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We found inspiration for the following apple confection on the Internet, our newest favorite source for recipe research. This dish hovers somewhere between dumplings and sticky buns and pie and cobbler, combining the best aspects of each. Tangy-sweet, soft and buttery, it's true comfort food.
10 tablespoons (5 ounces, 1 1/4 sticks) butter
2 cups (16 ounces) water*
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar*
2 cups (8 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk, room temperature
2 cups (8 to 9 ounces) peeled, diced apple
1 teaspoon cinnamon
*This is a great place to use boiled cider, a tart-sweet syrup made by simply boiling apple cider till it's thickened. Decrease the sugar and water to 1 1/2 cups each, prepare the sugar syrup, then add 1/2 cup boiled cider.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish; glass or ceramic is preferable. Set the dish aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the water and sugar until the sugar melts. Meanwhile, combine the flour and remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with the tips of your fingers, or a pastry blender, or two knives, until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the milk, and mix until the dough just comes together and leaves the side of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it gently, until it's somewhat cohesive. Because self-rising flour is much lower in protein than regular unbleached all-purpose flour, you can knead with a bit more abandon without danger of the dough becoming tough.
Roll the dough out gently until it's a rectangle about 10 by 15 inches. Mix together the cinnamon and apples, and spread them over the surface of the dough. Gently roll the dough into a log sticky-bun style, pinching the edges together to seal. It may tear, but don't worry; mend it as best you can. (It's actually better if it comes apart a bit as it bakes.)
With a bench knife or serrated knife, cut the log into 16 slices, starting in the middle and moving out towards the edges. Arrange the slices atop the butter in the baking dish as artfully as possible. The slices may want to fall apart, but again, not to worry. The finished product will look fine.
Pour the sugar syrup over the apple dumpling slices and place this quite-liquid conglomeration in the oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. When you take the baking dish out of the oven, the biscuits will be lightly browned on top of a still very liquid syrup. The whole thing can surge from one end to the other very easily if you're not extremely careful as you're moving it.
Let the slices cool a bit, then serve them with syrup poured over the top. I found that by leaving this uncovered at room temperature overnight (we actually did have some left over), the texture of the biscuits remained crisp and it was just as good at this cooler temperature. Yield: about 16 small, but delicious servings.
Nutrition information per serving (1/16 of recipe, 106g): 243 cal, 9.5g fat, 1g protein, 13g complex carbohydrates, 25g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 27mg cholesterol, 173mg sodium, 132mg potassium, 95RE vitamin A, 1mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 57mg calcium, 75mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 6, Autumn 2000 issue.