Have you made apple dumplings using the whole apple? It is a fun way to make a pretty dessert! Let’s go over some of the basics for making this dessert.
First, pick out fresh apples and refrigerate them. I usually use Granny Smith apples or Gala apples but have used other varieties too.
For this dessert, I peel the apples first so they can be rolled in a sugar-cinnamon mixture. Cut out the core too…
…but leave a little of the core intact so it can act as a cup to hold some more of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Use a small spoon to help dig out the core. I use a corer spoon with a claw to quickly remove the core.
Roll the freshly-peeled apple in a mixture of sugar, flour, and cinnamon. And then pack the same mixture into the core cup. Finish by adding softened butter.
I use an 8-inch prepared and refrigerated pie crust to make these dumplings but you can use your favorite crust instead. I cut the crust in half, ball it up, and then roll it with a rolling pin to make a circle of dough that will fold over the apple. Cut off any extra dough from the top. You will re-roll this leftover dough to cut out leaves.
Pat the apple to help smooth the dough around the apple. Check the bottom of the apple to make sure the dough didn’t crack during the smoothing process. Seal any cracks.
Cut out the apple leaves with a small cookie cutter or cut them out by hand with a knife. Make a stem out of dough and place on the apple or use the apple’s own stem and insert it after baking. The apple dumplings are almost ready to bake at this point. The last thing to do is to baste the apples in heavy cream with a small basting brush. But here is where you can have some fun by coloring the dough.
You can color the cream with food coloring or with all-natural colored food powders. I list sources for colored food powders in the recipe notes.
However, the key to coloring the dough is to use heavy cream to baste the dough rather than milk. The cream being thicker holds the color better and will let you achieve darker colors.
If you are coloring the dumplings, color the apple first, working around the leaves. Then color the leaves with a darker wash of cream. It is a little harder to color the apple with the leaves in place, but if you color the apple with cream and then attach the leaves, they can slide off during baking.
Do not overbake the apple dumplings or the apples can overcook and lose their shape and cause the dough shell to collapse and break apart.
Serve these dumplings with brown sugar syrup (recipe below), sea salted caramel, or ice cream.