I remember fondly eating apple turnovers while waiting for the train that took me to uni and after coming home from work. They tasted especially good since I couldn't wait the 10 minute walk to home and dinner. In my hurry to chow them down the icing sugar would inevitably get onto my clothes and I spent the rest of the walk trying to hide the evidence of the white powder. Where did this plentiful supply of gloppy apple and whipped cream with flaky pastry come from? The local Vietnamese bakery with their crazy cheap prices. Besides their turnovers, I loved their sausage rolls and pork rolls. But I didn't love the extra weight gained from eating there so had to stop visiting.
It's been many years since I sunk my teeth into an apple turnover so when I saw this recipe for apple dumplings I thought this was worth a try. I've tried this recipe twice now. The first time I cooked the apples in sugar and butter and forgot about it, until the juice had turned a bit like jam. The second time I doused it in cinnamon sugar. Both variations turned out fine. You can be as creative and fancy as you like with the apples. And why stop at apples, I think any in season fruit would work a treat: cherries, peaches, nectarines could all work.
This is a great recipe to involve the toddler in. We enjoyed turning the butter and flour mixture into crumbs. With the leftover scone-like dough, we turned them into Hello Kitty and cat and dog shaped biscuits. Success, with a capital S.
This recipe was quite easy to make if somewhat time consuming but trust me worth the effort. And surprisingly it tastes just as good if not better cold the next day.
What dessert could you eat over and over again?
Apple Dumplings (Adapted from Australian Women's Weekly)
For the dumplings
4 apples - medium sized apples. Big apples are harder to wrap up.
250g self-raising flour
90g butter plus 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons sugar plus more for the apples
1/2 cup milk
For the syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup water
For the dumplings
1. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Heat up a frypan with butter, add the apples, sprinkle sugar on top, toss till the apples are coated in sugar, then cook till they are soft. You may need to add a little bit of water to help with the cooking process. Pop a lid on if you want to speed things along. No exact science here, I left the apples simmering on the stovetop until most of the liquid had evaporated and the apples were soft. You can make the dough while the apple cooks.
2. For the dough, sift flour into a bowl. Then rub in butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Don't give up, it eventually gets there. I must've stood there for at least 5 minutes thinking it ain't working, it ain't working when all of a sudden it started looking less like chunks of butter and flour and more like crumbs. Make sure your butter is soft and cut up into cubes to help with the process.
3. Once breadcrumb stage is reached, do a happy dance, then mix in the sugar. Add milk, mix to a soft dough. Roll out the dough onto a lightly-floured countertop until the dough is about 2-3 mm thick. You need a clear surface to work on. Trust me, makes rolling much more pleasant.
4. Cut the dough into 8cm squares, roughly big enough to wrap a piece of apple. And that is your next step.
5. Place a piece of apple in the middle of each square, fold the edges together like wrapping a little parcel. Then place them next to each other in one layer in a casserole dish. Pour syrup (instructions below) over the dumplings. Bake uncovered in a 180º oven for 30 to 35 minutes, till golden brown.
For the syrup
5. Melt butter in a saucepan, add remaining ingredients and stir. Bring it to a boil, boil for three minutes or until it thickens a little. I found my syrup was still quite runny but once out of the oven it was all absorbed by the dumplings.
Serve with some whipped cream. Makes 12.
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