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Reader Linda Sykes asked us if we had any recipes for boiled apple dumplings? She writes: "All I can find are baked, but my husband, who's 74 years old, said his grandmother boiled her apple dumplings."
Well, we did find a recipe for boiled apple dumplings, but once we'd made it, we were all skeptical as to why anyone would want to make it more than once. Texturally and taste-wise, it just wasn't appealing to us. We forwarded the recipe to Linda anyway, and decided to continue the quest for more appealing boiled dumplings.
In the following recipe the dumplings aren't boiled, but they're baked in lots of liquid which boils down into a thick syrup by the time the dumplings are finished baking. We like this recipe very much; it's yet another example of good, old-fashioned comfort food.
3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
4 teaspoons baking powder*
3/4 teaspoon salt*
1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioners' or glazing sugar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold butter
3/4 to 1 cup (6 to 8 ounces) milk
4 small apples (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cored, peels reserved
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) lemon juice
3/4 cup (5 3/4 ounces) brown sugar
2 cups (16 ounces) water
apple peels (from above)
1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) lemon juice
1 tablespoon boiled cider (optional, but adds to the taste)
coarse sugar, white or demerara, for topping the dumplings prior to baking
*Or substitute 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour for the all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
Dough: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar (or whisk the sugar into the self-rising flour, if you're using it). Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly, using your fingers, a pastry fork or blender, or a mixer, leaving some pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle in the milk (starting with the lesser amount), and stir just until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic, and put it in the freezer to chill.
Wash the apples, then peel and core them (remember to save the peels!). Slice the apples in half around the equator. Sprinkle the 8 apple halves with 1 tablespoon lemon juice (to keep them from browning), then set them aside.
Syrup: Combine the brown sugar, water, and apple peels in a medium-sized saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Assembly: Remove half the dough from the freezer and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Roll it into a 12 x 12-inch rectangle; it'll be thin. Cut the dough into four 6-inch squares. Place an apple half on each square, and then sprinkle each with a tablespoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Moisten the edges of the square and bring them up over the apples, tucking them together in the center of the apple. Place the apples, seam-side up, in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Repeat with the remaining dough and apples.
Strain the syrup to remove the apple peels, then stir in the lemon juice and boiled cider (if you're using it). Pour this syrup evenly over the dumplings.
Baking: Sprinkle each dumpling with coarse sugar (white or demerara), and then bake the dumplings for 45 to 50 minutes in a preheated 375°F oven, until the apples are tender and the pastry is brown. The liquid will bubble and grow thicken. Remove the dumplings from the oven, and let them sit for at least 10 minutes before serving; this allows the dough to firm up. Serve as is, or with vanilla ice cream, if desired. Yield: 8 dumplings.
Nutrition information per serving (1 dumpling, 234g): 449 cal, 13g fat, 6g protein, 45g complex carbohydrates, 35g sugar, 3g dietary fiber, 34mg cholesterol, 466mg sodium, 245mg potassium, 129RE vitamin A, 5mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 192mg calcium, 125mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 3, Early Spring 2001 issue.