We keep hearing promises of a bumper apple crop in Illinois this fall. I do hope it is true because a trip to the orchard is about the best way ever to spend a sunny and crispy fall afternoon.
When I married and began keeping house, I took my job as seriously as any other previous job, reading and studying what I could to become a true homemaker. And following in my mother-in-law’s footsteps, I began collecting cookbooks.
My first purchases were several Farm Journal specialty cookbooks and to this day they are my favorites because they call for real, old-fashioned ingredients and have been well-received and proven in the “test kitchens” of real live, hard-working men! These books are out of print now but you can still find old copies now and then at garage sales or on Amazon or E-bay.
Once we get into the swing of school, I like to pull out these cookbooks and make our old favorites and I always find something new along the way to surprise everyone. This recipe makes the best apple dumplings you ever ate. The secret is that there is no crust around the bottom so the dumplings won’t get a soggy undercrust!
Farm Journal Apple Dumplings
2 cups sifted flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup shortening (I prefer butter-flavored Crisco)
1/3 cup cold water
6 medium apples
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup sugar
4 TBS. butter
1 TBS. lemon juice
1 cup hot water
Combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until about the size of small peas. Add cold water, a little at a time, mixing with a fork until particles form a ball when pressed together. Roll out on lightly floured board to ½” thickness. Cut into six 6” circles.
Peel and core apples. Place 2” apart in greased 13” X 9” pan. Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, and ½ cup sugar. Divide mixture and put in centers of apples. Dot with 2 TBS. butter.
Fit pastry circle over each apple, barely tucking it under. Using dough scraps and a leaf cookie cutter, cut out leaves to decorate top of dumplings if desired. Prick pastry in several place. Bake in very hot over (450 degrees) about 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, in sauce pan, combine remaining ½ cup sugar, lemon juice, and remaining 2 TBS. butter; add hot water. Simmer 5 minutes on stove. Pour over dumplings and return to oven at once, and bake for 15 more minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm or cold with cream or vanilla ice cream. Makes 6 servings.
from the Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook ~ 700 Best Dessert and Main-Dish Pies in the Country