This recipe is not nearly as hard as it looks. Trust me. That being said, there are a couple variables that help the recipe along and make it almost fool-proof. I tested this recipe three times, making sure it was perfect. See? Multiple sets of apple dumplings to painstakingly eat and evaluate. This is the kind of quality control that I put myself through for you guys.
I love my job. Hee Hee.
Tip #1: Use an apple that will hold up even while baked. The first time I make this I mistakenly used an apple from my apple picking that I thought was a Granny Smith, but was apparently a golden delicious or Courtland because it essentially withered away in the oven to mush. This is what happens when you get all hopped up on sugary cider and then let your energy loose in an apple orchard, you get confused. You pick ALL the apples and then lose track! This also happens to me in bookstores, cooking stores, farmers markets. It’s a problem that I have zero intention of solving ☺ The second time I made sure to use an actual Granny Smith apple and it held up much better when baked.
Tip #2: You CAN use pre-made pie crust in this recipe. You want the dough to be chilled and flat as much as possible before using so it holds up to the temperature of the oven. I love the Immaculate brand pie dough for this (I purchase it from Whole Foods) but any brand will work. I am just a big fan of theirs because it’s easy to work with, tastes great and is quite forgiving. Don’t worry, I encourage store bought in this case because I think the other tastes in this dish will overpower any real texture and taste of the dough. It is a very delicious and tasty vessel for the apple-y goodness.
Apple-y? Is that even a word? Well it is now. Says me.
And for my third tip: The first round I poured the caramel sauce over the apples before putting them in the oven and baking. This essentially made the pie dough slide down the apples and into the bottom of the pan. Which was delicious but I wanted it to stay on for presentation. The second attempt I just kept the sauce on the bottom of the apples but then the crust doesn’t get any extra flavor and can easily burn. The third time though, THAT was the Eureka moment. I drizzled the sauce over the apples in the last 10 minutes of baking time. Then the sauce gets all up in the dumpling crust but by that time its cooked long enough and can withstand the sauce without melting.
This is a dish that’s very easy to assemble, the only annoying part will be peeling the apples. I use a flat handled peeler, like one you’d use for carrots, etc. And it worked great because it allows me controlled force when going around the apples, since I can hold the peeler in one hand and the apple in the other, keeping my dominant hand on the apple as my fulcrum. Controlled force = no boo-boos from slipping with the blade. We’re learning so much today, aren’t we?
I also used a little leaf cookie cutter to put on top of the dough-covered apples. But you don’t have to, I just couldn’t help adding a little bit extra zazzle. So go forth and impress the crap out of your friends, family and loved ones. This dessert will be be a standout when served to guests all on it’s own!
4 Apples, peeled and cored
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp butter
4 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 box pie crust, defrosted
1 C. Packed brown sugar
½ C Water
3 tbsp butter
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Place peeled and cored apples in a bowl and toss in lemon juice to avoid browning.
Place a sliver of the butter into the cored center of the apple, followed by a tsp of the brown sugar (see photo above)
Cover the apples in pie dough, I used strips and covered the apples up and around but you can also cut out circles and fold it around the apples. Place leaf cutouts or other decorations on it if you’d like!
Place the apples in a pie plate or baking dish
For the sauce, combine the brown sugar, water, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan and cook on medium heat until boiling and then remove from heat
Pour the sauce in the bottom of the pan but not over the apples
Bake for 30-35 minutes, spooning the caramel sauce over the apples during the last 10 minutes of baking.
Serve immediately and enjoy!