There are times when celery sticks just don’t hit the spot, especially during the dark half of the year. Your personal favourite may be hot chocolate or homemade mac and cheese. If your tooth leans to the sweet side then this apple dumpling with a brown sugar, cardamon, apple cider vinegar caramel sauce may do the job.
It also works great as warm up after a good walk in your local beauty.
You will need:
pastry for 4 apples, either homemade or store bought
4 small to medium apples
1/3 – 1/2 cup marzipan
cinnamon to sprinkle on the pastry
1 tsp. butter per apple
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. water
6 cardamon pods
The pastry you choose for this recipe can be store bought or home made. When I am making pastry for an apple dish, I often add cinnamon and nutmeg directly into the flour for the pastry. If using store bought pastry, sprinkle the cinnamon directly over the pastry before cutting.
I see lots of recipes that say cut your pastry squares to 6×6 or 7×7 inches. The size you will need is dependent on the size of the apple once cored. Choose apples that are all similar sizes and test with the first apple before automatically cutting to a specific number.
There are many ways to cover the apple with pastry and this design is by no means the only option. I do it this way because crispy is appreciated in this house. If you would like a softer finished product don’t leave edges out when wrapping the apples.
Marzipan fills the cored apples in this recipe. Another option would be to pack the hole with a mixture of raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon and a little butter. So let’s get started.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Gather your ingredients, wash hands and take a couple of deep breaths. Use the warm water and release of breath to release any nigglies keeping you from being fully present in the kitchen. Invite the compassionate spirits and begin.
Peel and core 4 small to medium apples. The choice to leave the stem attached is personal. One bonus is that it can help keep the pastry from falling open. Push the corner of the pastry down over the stem and use it like a hook.
If the choice is to core all the way through then the stem will go and the entire center section can be filled with goodness. The pastry can be wrapped over the apple and the gathering point turned upside down so the thick part can sit in the sauce and remain soft.
Roll out the pastry to the desired thickness, just over 1/8 of an inch.
Roll the marzipan in your hands to create a thick cigar stub and pack it into the emptied core of the apple.
Test the size of the apple in the pastry. Ideally the points should come up to the top of the apple and meet. If the pastry is a little larger, poke the stem through the corner of the pastry square to hold in place.
When the size is correct, add 1 teaspoon butter to each pastry and a sprinkle of cinnamon if not in/over the pastry already.
Bring all four side up to the top, gently lifting the pastry up without stretching to the breaking point and secure to the apple using the stem or a little damp water.
With clean fingers and a little extra water bring the edges together and gently squeeze them so they will stay closed. The water between the edges will act as glue holding the steam in the packette.
The leaves can be free formed with any left over pastry. Cut out a leaf shape and then using a dull knife, run it down the center. Turn the knife 45 degrees and create the design on the leaf as seen in the first picture above. If you have a scalloped dough cutter, using that to cut the outside of the leaves adds a little extra fun but these can be made using just a straight edge.
With a few drops of water attach the leaf/leaves to the top of the dumpling. This is actually a good way to hide any not so pretty parts at the top.
Gently transfer the dumplings to their baking dish. Choose containers that keep the apples as close together as possible. Too much extra room and the caramel sauce will spread out, cook more and not keep the bottoms of the dumplings soft.
Place over medium heat until the butter is melted and the sauce has just started to boil.
Evenly distribute the sauce to the dumplings and transfer the baking dishes to the heated oven.
Baking time is 50 – 60 minutes. The larger the apple the longer it will take for the apples to soften.
Baste the dumplings with the sauce a couple of time throughout the baking time being careful not to break the pastry open.
Carefully transfer to serving dishes without breaking the dumplings and spoon the remaining sauce over the top. If the bowl is large enough, a scoop of ice cream would probably go over well with this tasty comfortfilled dessert.
Apple Dumplings with ACV Caramel Sauce