Apple dumplings are a favorite dessert during Fall. This recipe for also includes a recipe for a lemon custard sauce to serve over the dumplings. The recipe comes from a booklet published in 1945 by the Pillsbury flour company. The title of the booklet is “Bake The No-Knead Way.” None of the recipes in the book require kneading but are otherwise very traditional.
The recipe is unusual because the apples are wrapped in a yeast dough instead of a biscuit or pastry dough. The apples are peeled, cored and the cavity filled with sugar, nuts, raisins and cinnamon. They are placed on squares of the yeast dough, wrapped, sealed and baked.
The method of making apple dumplings was brought to the Americas by settlers from Europe. Fruit dumplings were made in all countries from ancient times. Apples grew well in the Americas and the housewives of the new land used the fruit to make many of the same types of dishes that had been popular in their homelands.
In the 1800s housewives used their large batches of yeast bread dough for making baked goods other than loafs of bread. They would take some of the raised dough to make pancakes, muffins, rolls, doughnuts and other fried breads, coffeecakes, dumplings to serve with stews and many other items. Recipes from that time period often say to take so much of a raised bread dough and then work in eggs, butter, sugar and other ingredients depending on what was being made.
The recipe will serve 8. The sauce recipe makes 2 cups of sauce.
- 1 package of dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast)
- 1/2 cup of lukewarm water (body temperature)
- 1/3 cup of shortening, melted (butter or margarine can be used)
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 egg
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1/4 cup of chopped nuts
- 1/4 cup of raisins
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 8 apples, peeled and cored
Heat the oven to 350 degree F. Grease a baking pan that is large enough to hold the apples.
Pour the lukewarm water into a mixing bowl. Add the yeast and blend. Add the shortening, sugar and salt. Blend in the egg. Add the 2 cups of flour and work in well.
Lightly flour a work surface, the ball of dough and a rolling pin. Roll the dough out about an 1/8 inch thick. Cut the rolled dough into 8 six inch squares.
Combine the brown sugar, nuts, raisins and the cinnamon in a bowl. Sit an apple in the center of each dough square. Fill the cavities of the apples with the filling mixture. Dot the top of the filling with a generous teaspoon of butter. Moisten the edges of the dough squares with water. Bring the corners of the dough together over the apples and seal all edges. Place the dough wrapped apples in a greased baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap or foil. Let rise in a warm place free of drafts for 45 minutes.
Bake the pan of apples in a 350 degree F. oven for 1 hour. Cool before serving. Serve with Lemon Custard Sauce.
Lemon Custard Sauce
- 2 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons of grated lemon rind
- 1 egg
Beat the egg in a small bowl. Combine the other ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens and become transparent. Blend a little (about 14 cup or so) of the hot mixture into the beaten egg to temper it. Pour the egg mixture into the mixture in the sauce pan and cook and stir another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a serving dish or a sauce pitcher.
If you add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the dough it will make it easier to roll out.
Another way to use this recipe is to peel, core and chop the apples. Stir the apple pieces together with the filling ingredients. Place the mixture on the squares of dough, moisten the edges and fold them in half to form turnovers. Seal the edges well. Rise and bake the same as the dumplings. Serve with the lemon sauce or a glaze made with powdered sugar, a bit of milk and vanilla or lemon extract. They would be nice to serve with breakfast or brunch.
The dough can be used for other items such as savory turnovers filled with meats or cheese, crust for quiche and crust for pot pies. It could be used for tarts. The dough recipe can be easily doubled.
Pears can be used for this recipe. Soft fruits could be used but they would not need to bake as long.
Use your favorite nuts in the recipe. Walnuts are traditional for apple dumplings.