Monday, November 21, 2011

Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

Want a novel, farmhouse-esque and dare-I-say adorable apple pie alternative this Thanksgiving?  Try old-fashioned apple dumplings.

I don't know why apple dumplings fell out of favor -- or perhaps this home-grown dessert was never in vogue. And when was the last time you saw them on a restaurant menu?  (Cracker Barrel DOES NOT count.)

Recipes are rare.  Perhaps their simplicity -- peeled apples encased in pie dough -- defied the recording of ingredients and instructions. I couldn't find even one recipe in my collection of hand-written cards and only two published recipes (below), one from a 1952 pamphlet "250 Superb Pies and Pastries" and a 1955 Gold Medal baking retrospective.

These homey desserts (although they were commonly served as an entree in 1900) are easy to make -- certainly easier than apple pie.  Simply peel and core apples (choose those recommended for pie, not applesauce), fill the cavity with a combination of butter/sugar/cinnamon, encase in a very thinly rolled pie crust, pop in the oven and voila -- a luscious result.  You can make a sauce with them, or not.

Top picture shows one "naked," below is one with a sauce, which you serve on the side or pour over the entire dumpling.

Growing up, I considered baked apples a wonderful treat. Had I only known that they could be encased in buttery pie dough my entire childhood may have changed.  This year, I hope to influence the lives of both adults and children -- I'm serving these for Thanksgiving.


  1. How does the inside look like? I am curious! It looks very unique and delicious. : )

  2. I absolutely love apple dumplings! Longer ago than I'm willing to admit, our Kmart deli had apple dumplings and they were the only thing that could entice me to go to Kmart with my mom. Although I've already prepped my Thanksgiving dessert, I'm seeing a trip to the orchard in my near future. Thanks for reminding me of these!

  3. Anonymous: Ask and you shall receive. I added a picture (a bit too close-up, though) of the insides. Hope your curiosity is satisfied!
    Tug's Girl: Love your Kmart story! Have a lovely Thanksgiving and thanks for writing.

  4. I'm living in Holland and these are a Dutch tradition!

  5. @Anonymous: Now it makes sense why I just found some recipes in a couple of Pennsylvania Dutch cookbooks! Thanks for commenting, and what a delicious tradition.

  6. Thanks for adding the picture! : ) It looks great.