Photo: cobalt123 (flickr)
Apple season is upon us, and local farmers’ markets are rife with varieties like Gala, Jonagold and McIntosh — but if you’re lucky, you have an orchard somewhere near your town that can provide you with artisanal varieties, like the Stayman Winesaps I used in the apple dumpling recipe below. They have a tart, wine-like flavor that lends a sweet, tangy finish to balance the richness of the pastry and cinnamon sauce.
Keeping it Real
After searching through my digital archive of recipes, and all over the internet, I wasn’t happy with the selection with which I was presented. Rachael Ray and Pioneer Woman both favor recipes that use canned crescent rolls and Mountain Dew as base ingredients, and I scoff heavily at making something so deliciously simple chemically complicated with brominated vegetable oil, thiamin hydrochloride, and yellow #5. If you follow Michael Pollan’s advice about “real food” being “things that your great-grandmother” would recognize, those recipes would not fit the bill.
Here’s my solution from a little cookbook I picked up in a small shop at Turkey Run State Park in Parke County, Indiana. A nice local woman by the name of Louise Roberts Myers wrote “Down Home County Cookin’” in order to remind us all of “the kind of food your Grandmother prepared” and out of fear that “someday nobody will be able to fix real mashed potatoes and gravy or homemade chicken and noodles.”
Well, Mrs. Meyers, I share your recipe now to keep that hope alive!
From the Kitchen of Louise Roberts Myers, Adapted by Natalie DeWitt
For the dough:
- 2 or 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup shortening (I use Spectrum Naturals non-hydrogenated organic)
- ½ cup milk
For the filling:
- 4-6 cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
- Sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
For the Syrup:
- 2 cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups hot water
- ¼ cup melted butter
- Combine flour baking powder and salt.
- Cut in shortening until mixture resembles crumbs.
- Gradually add milk to make a soft dough.
- Roll dough into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle. Cut into 5-inch squares.
- Place 2-4 pieces of apple on each square. Sprinkle each with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to your liking. Dot each with butter.
- Moisten edges of dumpling with water; bring corners to center and pinch edges to seal. Place dumpling in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish which has been lightly greased. Stir syrup ingredients together to dissolve sugar.
- Pour syrup over dumplings and bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Enjoy as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream!