Currently cooking from The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen.
I usually only like baked apples in pie, but this method of baking apples was pretty good. These dumplings aren’t the most elegant of desserts, but on a cool fall evening, with the season’s first apples, they really hit the spot.
The recipe starts out by having you make a biscuit dough using the food processor. Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, shortening and butter are pulsed together until they form a mixture that looks like wet sand. At that point, the mixture is transferred to a bowl and buttermilk is stirred in until a loose dough forms. You knead the dough briefly until it comes together, then the dough is chilled for about an hour before it is rolled out and cut into squares..
For the apples, you peel, halve and then core four apples. For the filling, you combine softened butter, raisins (I hate raisins, so I used dried cranberries), cinnamon and sugar. The filling is stuffed into the apples, and the apple halves are wrapped in the dough. The dumplings are baked until the dough is golden brown and any juices that you can see are bubbling. The recipe also has you make a cider sauce, but I was feeling lazy and just served the warm dumplings with vanilla ice cream.
Sometimes making an apple pie is more work than I want to do, so this recipe is a great fallback. It is easy to make. It also makes smaller, individual-sized servings, so it is a great way to not eat a whole pie. At first I was a little thrown by the dough, as it tasted just like a biscuit. I kept expecting more of a pie crust taste and texture. According to the headnotes on this recipe, however, the biscuit dough was easier to work with and it absorbed the apple juices better than the pie crust dough.