Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

Last week, I made several batches of Apple Dumplings.  I took the bullet, made the sacrifice, I did it all for you…yes, really... so that I would be able to tell you the very best way to make Apple Dumplings.  I know, what can I say? What can my waistline say? The  work must go on, the sacrifice must be made.  Somebody has to do it right?  
Look at the cuteness…. the deliciousness of an Apple Dumpling, tried, tested, perfected; well worth the efforts. The first batch was the quick and easy "Poppin Fresh" Cresent Roll  type (but don't tell anyone… it was for the children after all… they wanted a dessert with their fresh picked apples… they wanted it quickly… they asked so sweetly…. it was quick, it was easy… it was delicious).  The next batch was a tad healthier, with a whole wheat crust and coconut sugar syrup. I made the third batch with a standard pie crust and light brown sugar syrup.  I cooked them with skins on and skins off, I cooked them with syrup added at the beginning of the baking time and syrup added in the middle of baking.  

Here is what I thought was the best variation:

Apples Peeled
Standard Pie Crust
Light brown sugar syrup
Syrup added halfway through the baking time


The standard pie crust was the tastiest.  I am usually a whole grain person, and I like to incorporate whole grains in most of my baking.  However, I decided this was a special once or twice a year treat…. well okay, three times a year for me so far this week… but you know what I mean. If I only make this once or twice a year, it will be for a special occasion, and if for a special occasion I count flavor, texture and presentation to be the most important…. Sooo, standard Pie Crust wins.  My next observation had to do with the syrup factor.  Most of the instructions for Apple Dumplings will tell you to pour the syrup over the dumplings at the start of your baking time.  I found that this worked well for the "crescent roll" type dumpling, because you start with sliced apples, and therefore the baking time can be quite a bit shorter, because the apples get done fairly quickly; but for Apple Dumplings made with whole apples, you need at least twice the baking time in order to get the apples thoroughly cooked. All that extra cooking time causes your caramel syrup to become very "glunky", thick and gluey.  Not only that, but the base of the dumplings seemed to melt and spread out.  It was still yummy, but not what I was wanting.

Number three dumpling was made by baking the dumplings in a foil covered dish for half of the baking time, then removing the foil, pouring the syrup in around them, and cooking them uncovered the rest of the time.  This was the best method.  It allowed the apples extra time to bake and soften, it allowed the crust time to bake and hold together, and it allowed the syrup enough time to thicken, without becoming too sticky and glunky.  As for peeling or not peeling the apples: they were equally delicious peeled or left unpeeled.  The only negative part of "not peeling" them, is that on a couple of the dumplings, the crust opened, exposing the apple.  I believe the smooth surface of the unpeeled apple caused the pie crust to slip away from the apple, which wasn't as pretty as it could have been.  

These are a wonderful Fall treat, and make a wonderful dessert presentation.  Serve them hot with extra syrup, or with whipped cream or ice cream, and you won't be disappointed.

Begin by mixing together the ingredients for the nutty filling.

This picture was taken with the batch that was made when the syrup was going in at the beginning of baking; but my suggestion would be to first cover and bake the dumplings half of the time, and then half way through the baking, add the syrup, and bake uncovered for the remaining time.

4 medium sized apples, or 6 small apples
1 recipe for filling
1 recipe for Pie dough, ( you can use any 2 crust pie recipe or even puff pastry dough)
1 recipe for Syrup

For the Filling 
2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
4 Tablespoons butter
5 Tablespoons Chopped Walnuts, Pecans or Almonds
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon

For the Syrup:
2 cups Coconut Sugar or Organic Brown Sugar (use a light brown sugar for a lighter syrup and a dark brown sugar for a darker syrup)
2 cups water
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 425.  
  2. Mix together all the filling ingredients, and stir together to form a nutty paste.
  3. Refrigerate filling mixture.
  4. Divide Pie dough into 4 (or six) equal balls (reserve a small amount to make leaves and stems for decorating) and then refrigerate.
  5. Peel and core each apple.
  6. To put together the dumplings, roll out each of the dough balls into a circle big enough to cover the entire apple.
  7. Place an apple in the center of the rolled out dough.
  8. Divide the filling for each apple.
  9. Fill the empty core of each apple with the nut filling.  Push the filling until it completely fills the core.
  10. Bring the pie dough up around the apple; you can leave the seams of the dough showing or press and smooth the dough to make it look like a smooth apple.
  11. Roll out and cut the leaves and stems from the extra dough, and decorate the apple dumpling with them. 
  12. Place each finished dumpling into a casserole dish.  
  13. Cover the dumplings with foil. 
  14. Bake for  15 minutes, then turn the oven to 375. Bake another 15 minutes. 
  15. While apple dumplings are baking, combine syrup ingredients in a sauce pan, and heat on medium heat.  
  16. Bring the syrup mixture to an easy boil.
  17. Simmer and stir  for 2 -3 minutes and remove from heat.
  18. When apples have cooked a full 30 minutes, pour the hot syrup around them.
  19. Place the apple dumplings back into the oven and cook the remaining 30 -40 minutes, until apples are cooked, crust is lightly brown, and syrup is slightly thickened.

The nutty filling is a delicious surprise inside the dumpling.

Serve it up to someone you love and Enjoy!


  1. Oh Pam... this hits the spot. And, how'd ya know... I was thinking of apple dumplings just this afternoon. Didn't make em, only thought about it. And, of course... I would have never thought of making them this fancy looking.

    Wow!! Thanks for sharing all of this. You inspire...

  2. Dear Pam, What can I say... These look so wonderful and I know that they are delicious! You are an artist with food! Thanks for sharing all the different versions. I vote for the first easy one, as I have gotten lazy. But a girl has to eat "right"?
    Hugs, Roxy

  3. SO pretty....and yummy! I love apple dumplings. You've got me thinking I need to make up a batch...soon. My recipe doesn't call for nuts in the filling...I like that idea. Hmmm....maybe this weekend? Hugs to you! Camille

  4. these are amazing!! I am so inspired! I need to try these!

  5. Dear Pam,
    SERIOUSLY, have you ever made anything that did not look like it should be in a magazine somewhere? If you ever do a cookbook I want to be one of the first in line to purchase a copy or two or three? !!!! I always leave here hungry and maybe a tad jealous. :) You are AMAZING!!!!!

  6. Pam these look delicious! We just picked our apples this week, need to make a pan. Your pictures are always so lovely. I could see you teaching a class to young wives and older ones on homemaking!

  7. I'm sorry, but these look way to pretty to eat! ;)
    Beautiful photos!!
    Have a lovely week, Pam!
    Miss you too.... Hugs, Amy

  8. What a yummy (and so pretty) idea! Love how beautiful they look too. Although food and this gal aren't agreeing lately. Seems I need an apple and not the rest or I will look like a dumpling :-0 haha!

    Always love your posts~ Cinnamon

  9. Pam, I'm in awe .... not only of the baking, but of your photography skills too! What a gorgeous blog post. These apple desserts look amazing! Yeah ... the waistline would love 'em!
    A x