I do not believe that I have not posted these earlier. I guess that since I lost the original recipe for the syrup, that I have not had the confidence to do my own half-assed version.
I made them today and they came out perfectly for a Christmas Eve lunch with John's family.
This is a very old fashioned dessert, so do not be surprised when I tell you to boil pastry. Some people try to avoid the soggy bottom of the crust, and go to all sorts of lengths to make hybrids, like apples cooked in pastry with sauce poured over it. No, you have to have it the old way...at least the first time. Dumplings by definition are soggy masses. This, however, has a thick brown and crisp topped crust with the soggy bottom swimming in syrup.
5 cups flour
1 1/2 cups shortening 1 hour in the freezer and cut up into chunks.
1 t salt
1 T sugar
1 cup water icy cold
Mix the salt flour and sugar.
Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or use your fingers to smear or pinch the shortening into the flour till it resembles soft bread crumbs and there are still tiny bits of shortening showing here and there.
Add the water, a few tablespoons at a time. Toss the mixture with a fork trying to incorporate the water without getting big wet spots. Repeat till all the water is in and the dampness is evenly distributed. Press the mass together into a log without over working it.
Cover tightly and chill for an hour or so. and bring back to cool room temp.
Cut the log into 8 pieces. As you use them, roll each out on a pastry board or marble slab into a rough triangle.
Cut 4 very large Granny Smiths or Cortland apples in half after peeling. Try to use an apple that will not readily cook to a mush...avoid Macintosh.
Use a melon baller or a spoon or knife to cut out the seeds and membranes. A grapefruit spoon works well.
Press a small amount of chopped pecans or walnuts into the hole along with a candied or Maraschino cherry if you have them.
Smear 1 T butter over the hole to hold the filling in the hole.
Mix 2 T cinnamon, a pinch of clove, 1/2 t ginger, 1/4 t nutmeg into a cup of brown sugar.
Put a generous tablespoon of the sugar mixture over the butter and wrap the whole thing in a piece of the pastry.
I dip the bottom of the apple in flour to help contain the juices inside the pastry. Lay the rounded part of the apple in the center of a triangle of dough.
Brush all the edges with a bit of ice water. Bring the points up to the center over the apple and pinch the seams together wet side to wet side. Seal up the pastry by pinching together any way you can the first time. You can figure out the neat way of doing it the third or fourth time you do it.
Lay in a lightly greased lasagna pan. Fill the pan with the dumplings but try not to let them touch. If you run out of room, do more in a loaf pan.
Brush the tops and especially the seams with beaten egg.
Bake for 10 to 15 min in a 375 degree oven.
Pour syrup around the apples in the pan and continue to cook up to 35 minutes or until a skewer meets no resistance when you pierce the apple inside. The syrup should come about 1/3 to 1/2 way up the side of the dumplings.
Brush occasionally while baking with some of the syrup to form a glaze. Allow to cool before serving, but make sure they are warm when removing from the pan as the syrup can harden. Warm over in the oven or microwave to serve with ice cream, milk, whipped cream or cream.
3 cups water.
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup Caro light or dark syrup
1/3 cup butter
add any left over spices or sugar not used in the filling.
Boil five minutes till all the sugar is dissolved.
If this does not remind you of wood stoves, long tables surrounded by farm hands and family, Christmas, Thanksgiving and grandmothers, then nothing will!
I am truly sorry I do not have a photo, but they were gone before I had a chance!!!!