Sunday, November 20, 2011

Apple Dumplings

We all struggle with showing our true selves to each other. I believe it is a very human trait to attempt to project an image of ourselves that we want others to believe is who we are. And although sometimes the censorship is appreciated, I believe that we typically take ourselves too seriously. Working towards complete honesty while continuing to protect my privacy on this blog is a delicate balance. I do not feel the need to share each detail of my life, or even everything that I eat and cook. Where I strive to be very honest is in the passion I have for cooking and the person I am when I step into my kitchen (or any kitchen). My desire is to be helpful, to inspire and learn while sharing with you. 

So I have a confession to make :) Saturday I made home made puff pastry. At the risk of my readers not being interested in making their own puff pastry and considering me to be a food snob, I quickly decided that I would not share my experience through the process and began making apple dumplings to feature on the blog instead. But as I considered my decision I came to the realization above. I was making a choice to hide my first experiment with puff pastry when I had such an excitement and passion to explore a laminated dough. It might make me a bit of a food snob to want to make my own, but that is who I am. 

Currently I do not have the photos of the process and am not sure if I will share the recipe, but I at least wanted to share my excitement as I tackled the huge undertaking of creating a laminated dough like puff pastry and the pride I felt when the whole project (that took all day to complete) was finished successfully!

Although the apple dumplings made for dessert are much more homey and basic then a puff pastry, they were a huge hit with my family and me. Taking inspiration from a baked apple, I chose to fill the cores of the apples with a mixture of currants, walnuts and spices. Hopefully you will take the time to try this delicious recipe and be reminded to open yourself up and be honest with others when sharing who you are.

Apple Dumplings
Source: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (published 1976)
Prep: 20 minutes   Bake: 40 minutes   Oven: 375 degrees F   Servings: Makes 6

2       cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4    teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4    teaspoon ground nutmeg
8       drops red food coloring
1/4    cup butter
2       cups flour
2       teaspoons baking powder
1       teaspoon salt
3/4    cup shortening
1/2    cup milk
6       small, whole apples pared and cored

For syrup, mix first 5 ingredients; cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add butter.

Sift together dry ingredients; cut in shortening till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once; stir just till flour is moistened. On lightly floured surface, roll to 18x12-inch rectangle.

Cut in six 6-inch squares. Place apple on each. Sprinkle apples generously with additional sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; dot with additional butter. Moisten edges of pastry. Bring corners to center and pinch edges together. Place 1 inch apart on an ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking pan. Pour syrup over dumplings. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.

Harmony's Thoughts
I omitted the red food coloring.
I filled the cores of the apples with a mixture of 1/3 cup currants (you could use chopped raisins as well), 1/3 cup walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Divide evenly among the 6 apple cores.
The recipe was vague on how much additional sugar, so I measured about 2 1/2 teaspoons of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg for each apple. Along with 1 small dot of butter. 

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