These apple dumplings are made with simple, wholesome ingredients. Soft, spiced apples wrapped in tender pastry & baked in a luscious brown sugar sauce.
Hello my friend!
Are you enjoying the season? Here in PA, we are definitely seeing some changes happening. The days are getting shorter and there are lots of colorful fall leaves all over our yard. There’s a little bit of a nip in the air, and all I want to do is snuggle in with something warm and cozy to nibble on.
And so I thought today would be the perfect time to bring you my favorite recipe for apple dumplings!
Apple dumplings are what fall dreams are made of. Soft, cinnamon-spiced apples, wrapped in tender pastry and glazed with a warm brown sugar sauce, then baked until your whole house smells incredible.
The contrast of tart apple, sweet brown sugar, and buttery pastry is out of this world.
So is the contrast of soft fruit and slightly crisp crust, and the contrast of warm apple dumplings and cold vanilla ice cream!
You’ve gotta give this one a try!
WHAT ARE APPLE DUMPLINGS
Apple dumplings are a classic dessert that’s so perfect for fall or for the holiday season.
They are basically just apples, wrapped in tender pastry, topped with a sticky brown sugar glaze, and baked.
The apples go soft, the pastry gets a little crisp, and the sauce is sweet and apple-y, with a hint of warm cinnamon.
They’re fantastic served straight from the oven, and even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
HOW TO MAKE APPLE DUMPLINGS
This recipe consists of 3 main components:
Start with the pastry, so it has a chance to chill in the fridge while you’re preparing the other components.
I like to use a homemade crust (that’s just how I roll), but if you’re pressed for time, you could substitute refrigerated crescent roll dough. It will work just fine, but the homemade dough is really quick and easy to make, and it bakes up so melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Place flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and give it a few pulses to get everything combined.
Next, add the cold butter. Pulse it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You should be able to see bits of butter that are around the size of a pea.
Then, with the food processor running on low speed, stream in the cold milk, just until the dough starts to gather itself into a ball.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge while you get going on the sauce and filling.
I like to make the sauce next, so that it has a chance to cool down a little before it gets poured over the dumplings.
In a small pot, combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a little salt to balance the flavors.
Simmer this over low heat, stirring, until it’s bubbly and thickened. It should only take around 5 minutes.
Take it off the heat and set it aside while you fill the dumplings.
The filling here is pretty simple; it’s just apples.
I prefer apples that are tart and firm. My favorites are Granny Smith and Honeycrisp, but if you have a certain variety you especially like for baking, go for it!
Peel the apples, cut out the cores, and slice them into eighths.
Then roll out the pastry and cut it into long, skinny triangles (mine were about 3-inches wide by about 5-inches tall).
Place a wedge of apple at the wide end of a triangle, then roll it down to the point, wrapping it in the pastry as you go. You can see what I mean when you watch the video in the recipe card below.
Line the dumplings up in a baking dish.
And then pour on the sauce.
The last step is to drizzle apple cider all around the bottom of the pan. This extra liquid will help to soften the apples and it will also give an extra hit of apple flavor.
Bake the apple dumplings until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender. You’ll know they’re done when the tip of a sharp knife slips easily into an apple.
WHAT KIND OF PASTRY TO USE FOR APPLE DUMPLINGS
As I mentioned above, you can use the simple pastry recipe below, or you can substitute with refrigerated crescent dough for an easy shortcut.
Any of these variations would be amazing!
SHOULD APPLE DUMPLINGS BE MADE WITH SODA?
I’ve seen a lot of apple dumpling recipes that call for Mountain Dew, 7up, or Sprite, but to me that seems like a missed opportunity. Wouldn’t you rather use something that really amps up the fabulous fall apple flavor?
In the US, apple cider is easy to find in the regular grocery store. You can usually get it in the produce section, and sometimes they have it near the orange juice and iced teas too.
It’s a non-alcoholic beverage that’s basically just unfiltered apple juice. It’s a little hazy and darker in color.
If you can’t get your hands on it where you live, you could substitute regular apple juice or hard cider. (Apple cider vinegar is NOT a good substitute.)
CAN THESE BE MADE AHEAD?
You can definitely make these apple dumplings ahead.
To get a lot of the prep out of the way in advance, make the dough, roll the dumplings, and prepare the sauce a day ahead. The sauce can be left out at room temperature (covered), but the dumplings should be tightly wrapped and refrigerated.
On the day you want to serve them, allow the dumplings to come to room temperature, drizzle on the brown sugar mixture, and pour the apple cider all around. Then bake them off and serve them while they’re still warm.
HOW LONG WILL THEY KEEP?
Once baked, these apple dumplings will keep in the fridge, tightly covered for around 5 to 7 days.
They can be reheated in a 170 degree F oven until warmed through, or you can just pop them in the microwave for about 30 seconds per dumpling.
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For the dumplings
To make the dumplings
- Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add the cold butter, and pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
- With the food processor running on low speed, drizzle in the milk until the dough gathers itself into a ball.
- Form the dough into a disc, wrap it tightly, and chill in the refrigerator.
- Peel, core, and cut the apples into eighths.
- Roll the dough out to a rough rectangle shape, about 15-inches x 10-inches.
- Cut into 16 long, skinny triangles, wrap each around a wedge of apple, and place the dumplings in a 2.5-quart baking dish.
To make the sauce
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until bubbling and slightly thickened.
- Pour the sauce over the dumplings, and then drizzle the apple cider all around the bottom of the baking dish.
- Bake the dumplings for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are soft.