Ever want to make something after having it in a restaurant? It happens to me all the time. It is one of the reasons I love to dine out. I get to try new things and have foods I do not often cook at home. Take seafood for example, I love it raw (sushi), steamed, grilled, pan seared, roasted, and just about every way except deep fried. My husband is the exact opposite. He likes batter-dipped deep fried fish and chips. Add in the fact I have to drive 30 miles to get any fresh seafood other than the limited selection at the grocery store and that is why I typically go out when I have a seafood craving.
Being disappointed is another reason to make something at home. When you see something on the menu and it sounds so good you order it. There is the anticipation of a tasty bite and then it arrives and is nothing like what you wanted. This is the case with apple dumplings for me. There is a restaurant where we have ordered it before. It is a very large dumpling and is really too big even for the two of us to share. Lately they offered a sampler size which we thought would be great. Not so much. I left the restaurant with a mission to make apple dumplings.
The recipe hunt began. I searched the internet and did not find one I wanted to make. I moved on to my cookbooks and found what I thought would be the one. I ran into a snag when I tried to roll out the dough for the number of dumplings in the recipe. I am quite sure the dough should not be 1/32nd of an inch. There was no way it would work. It went into the trash and I found another dough recipe. The second one came out just right. Both recipes had a sauce, one to pour over before baking and the other to pour over when serving after baking. I decided to pour it over before baking and they turned out great. A little rustic looking too:
Have I mentioned I love kitchen gadgets? I got to use my handy-dandy apple peeler/corer/slicer that I have not used in a while. I love that thing. You can get your apples ready in a flash. I have had mine for several years and bought if after hearing how much my parents liked using the one they have. I get to use it again soon because I have extra apples and some leftover crumble topping in the freezer.
My recipe is an adaption/combination from the two I used. The original ones can be found in The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion and Southern Living 1984 Annual Recipes cookbooks. Both are excellent cookbooks and I have used them on many occasions. I do not know what I would do without cookbooks. The internet is great (ahem, like getting recipes from blogs like this one – hint hint) but their is something about flipping through the pages of a book. Thank goodness there are both resources available.
What have you wanted to cook after dining out? Was it from a good or disappointing experience? I have been inspired many times and I am very glad when I can turn a not-so-good into a fantastic one at home.
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- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup shortening
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 medium tart baking apples (Granny Smith)
- ½ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- Additional sugar or turbinado sugar for decoration
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the shortening using a pastry blender until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Gradually add milk, stirring to make a soft dough. Shape dough into a rectangular disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- In a sauce pan, combine the sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and set aside. Stir occasionally to melt butter if it has not melted.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Lightly grease a 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine ½ cup sugar and ¾ teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
- Peel, core, and cut apples in half across the equator.
- Divide dough into thirds. Roll each out on a lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness and about a 7 by 14-inch rectangle. Cut in half to get 7-inch squares. Place an apple half on the center of each square. Sprinkle apple with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Paint the edges of the dough with a little water and wrap the dough around each apple half, pinching edges to seal. Place dumplings in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining dough and apples.
- Pour the sauce over the apples. Sprinkle apples with sugar if desired. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.