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.