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Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

(recipe, Megan Scott)

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This recipe is a bit involved; however, the end result is well worth the extra trouble. You may even begin plotting your next batch as soon as you polish off the first.


    For the cream-cheese pastry dough
    1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
    2. ¼ tsp. salt
    3. 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
    4. 4½ oz. cream cheese
    For the dumplings
    1. 6 small or 3 large apples, peeled and cored
    2. 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar, divided
    3. 2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
    4. ½ tsp. salt, divided
    5. ½ stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
    6. 1 egg, lightly beaten
    7. 1 small lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
    For serving
    1. Heavy cream, lightly sweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream


    1. Make the cream-cheese pastry dough at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Whisk together the flour and salt. Cut in the butter and cream cheese until the dough comes together. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
    2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously butter a large, deep baking dish (a 9-inch-by-13-inch glass baking dish works well).
    3. If using small apples, leave them whole. If using large apples, cut them in half. Mix ½ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small bowl until blended. Add ½ stick butter and blend it in well. If using whole apples, pack this mixture into the hollow of each apple where the core once was. if using halved apples, pack some of the mixture into the hollows and reserve the rest.
    4. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into six pieces. Roll each piece into a rough 7-inch square. Lightly brush each square with the beaten egg.
    5. Place an apple or apple half in the middle of each square. If using halves, place them cored side down and spread the remaining brown sugar mixture over the tops of the apples. Bring the 4 corners of the dough together and pinch them to close the dumpling. Prick the top of the pastry several times with the tines of a fork.
    6. Place the dumplings in the baking dish and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they begin to color.
    7. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Whisk together the remaining ½ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon salt with 1 cup water. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the sliced lemon. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. After the dumplings have begun to color, pour the syrup over them, lemons and all. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the apples are tender, about 35 minutes. Every 10 minutes, baste the dumplings with the syrup to form a glaze.
    8. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve with heavy cream, lightly sweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.