If you’re craving a hearty dessert try this recipe for old-fashioned baked apple dumplings. The dumplings are made with fresh apples and spices wrapped in a homemade flaky crust.
There are few desserts that I absolutely cannot live without, and my mom’s apple dumplings recipe is one such thing. You just cannot beat the homemade flaky pie crust sweetened with cinnamon and sugar contrasted with the tartness of the apples. It is just heaven. Heaven. And while my mom always makes me a pumpkin pie for my birthday each year, this recipe is a very, very close second.
Have you ever made real apple dumplings? I’m not talking about the crescent roll, pour the mountain dew over it recipe (which is good) but the real deal old fashioned? If not, let me show you just how easy it really is to make them from scratch. You will not regret it, my friends, oh, no. You will not regret it.
What are Apple Dumplings?
They are tart apples baked in a sea of butter, cinnamon and sugar nestled in homemade pie crust. They have the flakiness of a pie but there is more crust per bite which is what I personally love about them. Apple dumplings are all that is right with the world.
Best Apples to Use for Baking
You cannot just use any apple to get that tart delicious filling in an apple dumpling (or any apple dessert in my opinion.) You need an apple that bakes well and doesn’t become mushy. You also need a tart apple to balance the sweetness of the sugar and cinnamon. Here’s a few that I recommend and the only apples I use for baking.
- Jonagold Apples– These are my personal favorite but hard to find during certain seasons. They have a nice tartness and hold up very well when baked.
- Granny Smith Apples – Tart and delicious, these are the easiest to find in the grocery store year around.
- Idared Apples – This is an old fashioned apple that is perfect for baking. You will find these at select apple orchards in the fall.
How to Make Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings
A good old fashioned apple dumplings from scratch recipe like this one I’m sharing today, starts with a good pie crust. My mom’s is the best. And I don’t just mean that because she’s my mom. It’s the pie crust recipe that was passed down to her – and it won my sister an award at the county fair. And you know how competitive that is.
Start by rolling out the dough until it’s thin and even. Remember to roll from the middle to the edges. Cut the dough into 6.5 inch squares. I use a measuring tape. It’s probably not the most sanitary way to do it – but you use what you have.
Add a handful of apples that have the skin removed and have been chopped into 1/2 inch slices to the middle of the pie dough square. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and 1/4 of a pat of butter.
Wrap the apples within the square, pinching it at the top to each opposite corner. If it’s too full just a remove a few apples. I pinch the corners a bit too, just to give it a little more strength.
With this recipe you can fit four apple dumplings in a square baking pan. They support each other. Top the apple dumplings in the square baking dish with cinnamon, sugar and a 1/4 of a pat of butter on each.
Bake (and microwave!)
Here’s my secret friends – you bake and microwave! Oh, yes. You do. I do not like a crispy apple – I want the crunch to come from the pie crust. Because of that I microwave them for a bit and then pop them into a preheated oven. The microwave makes sure that the apples are perfectly cooked and then the oven crisps up the crust. Win. Win.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
- Refrigerator: To store any leftover apple dumplings, simply wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.
- Freezer: Freeze leftover dumplings individually in an airtight container. When ready to enjoy, let thaw in the refrigerator and reheat.
- Reheat: Reheat refrigerated apple dumplings in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or until warm.
Making Apple Dumplings Ahead of Time
The best way to devour an apple dumpling is the day you’ve baked them. However, they are more time consuming then a simple dessert recipe. If you’re making them for a crowd or want to break up the steps here’s a few tips.
- Make the pie crust the day before and cut it into squares. The squares can be separated by wax paper or parchment paper and then stored in the refrigerator.
- Make this pie crust recipe weeks in advance and freeze the squares. Just make sure to put them in a storage bag once they are separated by wax paper. Thaw before using them in this recipe.
By making the pie crust ahead of time, you can then just cut up the apples and follow the rest of the instructions the day of to quickly have them in the oven.
Seriously, you all. If you have time this weekend and want a treat – these apple dumplings are the best! Crispy, tart and with the sweetness of sugar — soooooooo good. There’s no caramel sauce or anything else to add because they don’t need it! It’s a party in your mouth. If it’s any indication, my brother’s face lit up when I told him out in the field (it’s harvest time) that I had made apple dumplings for dessert (so that I could share with you) – and he was soooo excited! We all leap for joy when apple dumplings are on the menu.
How do you enjoy your apple dumplings? I like them straight up, my husband likes them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and my mom pours milk over hers.
Keep the shortening cold: As with any pie crust recipe, you’ll want to make sure your shortening is very cold before starting. In this recipe, we used Crisco so I made sure to put it in the refrigerator a few hours before making the crust.
Flakier Crust: You can also ensure a more flaky crust by using half pastry flour and half all-purpose flour. If you don’t have pastry flour, that’s okay as I didn’t the day I made this recipe. However, for those flaky crust loving people – it’s worth the investment.
More Apple Recipes We Love!
Apple Dumplings Recipe
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups shortening chilled
- 1 Tablespoon vinegar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 large apples
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 16 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 8 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons butter
To Make the Pie Crust:
- Mix: In a large bowl, add the following: flour, sugar, and salt. Blend together with a whisk. Using a pastry cutter, cut in 1 and ½ cups of chilled shortening. Shortening and flour should be well distributed.
- Add: Crack an egg (cold from the refrigerator) into ½ cup of cold water. Add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar and mix well with a fork. Make a dip in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg/water mixture. Stir with a fork gently to blend wet and dry ingredients until just moistened and the dough leaves the side of the bowl.
- Prep: Roll the pie dough flat and divide into eight 6 1/2 inch squares.
To Make the Apple Dumplings:
- Prep: Preheat oven to 450˚ F. Prepare pie crust by rolling and cutting into 6½-inch squares. Peel and slice apples into 1/2 inch squares.
- Assemble: On each square of piecrust place apple chunks in the middle. Top with ¼ pat of butter, 2 heaping teaspoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, and a dash of cinnamon to taste. Fold up sides and pinch to seal.
- Prepare: Place apple dumplings into two square microwave-safe baking pans (4 in each). Top each dumpling with ¼ pat of butter. Sprinkle additional sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon over all dumplings. Repeat the process until you have one dish with four apple dumplings.
- Microwave & Bake: Microwave pan of dumplings at (1100 power microwave) for 5 minutes at 70% power followed by 1½ minutes at 80% power. Remove from microwave and bake for about 10 minutes in 450˚ F oven. Crust should be lightly browned and apple dumpling juices sizzling.