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What am I celebrating today?

September 17, 2012

Today is Apple Dumpling Day.  It is still officially summer, but there’s a little nip in the air and the locally grown apples have begun to appear in our markets.

My mother made the best apple dumplings.  I do not have a recipe because she did not use one, but here is approximately how she made them.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare pastry, as for a pie crust – these are approximate measurements:

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt – whisk into flour

1/2 cup shortening (she used Crisco) – cut into flour mixture with a pastry blender (or two knives)

moisten the dough with a couple of tablespoons of ice water
– add this a little at a time until the dough begins to come together

Roll into a rectangle about 1/8 of an inch thick

Cut into squares.

Place a peeled, cored apple in the middle of each square.  You probably don’t want apples that are really big for this recipe.

What kind of apple?  My mother always said, “Don’t buy the computer apples.”  But if you don’t mind mushy apples, go ahead and buy the computer apples (also known as Macintosh.)  Granny Smiths are good, as are any apple with a lot of flavor and a little tartness.

Fill the hole in the apple with butter and red cinnamon hearts – these will melt and make a sauce.  Alternatively, you can fill the cores with sugar, butter, cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, or any combination of the above.

Splash the apples with maple syrup and fold up the dough to cover the apple.
Bake until the crust is browned and the apples are soft – I’m guessing about 30 to 45 minutes.

In my opinion, these don’t need ice cream or whipped cream or any other embellishment – but if that is what you like, go ahead and enjoy! Actually, I do like them with accompanied by  a wedge of cheddar cheese.

I love the names of the old apple varieties:  Stayman Winesap, Northern Spy, Pippin, Sheepnose, but they are difficult to find these days.  The poster above is from MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair from 2009.  The Fair takes place every September in Unity, Maine.

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