Friday, October 20, 2006

Good Thing, Small Package

If a contest were held to name the friendliest food, I’d place my wager on the cheerful dumpling, a veritable Miss Congeniality of cookery.

Although its definition varies widely – encompassing anything from dough simmered in broth to small packages of pastry with something tasty swaddled inside – its starchy coziness remains the same. Dear, dear dumpling -- even its name connotes chubby, pink-cheeked goodness.

Frankly, your Queen has yet to meet a dumpling she hasn’t liked. She’s not alone in this, apparently, since most culinary cultures lay claim to a dumpling or two: The Chinese have potstickers, the Japanese gyozas, the Polish pierogies, the Czechs knedlíky. We all know by now about the beloved Indian samosa, and the Italians, of course, have gifted us with both ravioli and gnocchi.

One of the happy things about dumplings involves their size. Usually, they’re smallish, single-portioned, and perfect for the toddler who lurks inside each of us -- the one who shrieks “Mine!” when anyone eyes his personal treasure. And that’s another good thing: You don’t have to share a dumpling, although I suppose (sigh) you could offer someone a bite.

But only if you want to be friendly.


Apple Dumplings
Adapted from The King Arthur Baker’s Companion

Apple pie, take two.


I make these with my favorite pastry recipe, although here it simply envelops half of a juicy Smokehouse apple. The sweet and buttery cinnamon sauce gilds the lily; let the record show that the Queen is All For That.


For dumplings:
Pastry for a double crust pie
4 medium, tart baking apples (peeled, cored, and cut in half through the midsection)
½ c. sugar
1 t. sugar
Raisins (if desired)

For syrup:
1 ½ c. sugar
1 ½ c. water
1 t. cinnamon
1 T. lemon juice
1 stick butter

Make syrup by combining all ingredients and bringing to a boil. (Use microwave or stove burner). Stir to melt butter and set aside.

Take half of the dough from the refrigerator and roll outward on a floured surface to form a large square. Pastry should be approximately 1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into four squares. Place half an apple on each square, cut side down. Mix cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle into cavity left from core. Add raisins, if desired. Using a pastry brush, paint the edges of the dough square and folding inward, wrap dough around each apple half.


Gently paint the seams with water. Repeat for remaining dough.

Place apples in large, lightly-buttered baking dish (or roasting pan) and pour syrup all around. Bake the dumplings at 375 for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown. Allow them to rest 5-10 minutes and then, spoon into a shallow bowl.

Not bad with ice cream, either.



At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only wonder what those would be like if instead of baking them, they were DEEP FRIED!

At 10:47 PM, Blogger bakerymaiden said...

this is a great recipe! i made my own modifications (less sugar, whole smallish apple) and it was delicious. A favorite among young and old. thanks!!!

At 10:33 PM, Blogger The Queen of Tarts said...

Anonymous, The Queen (shamefully) shares your curiosity. If you pursue the path of inquiry, please report back with your findings.

bakerymaiden, You're most welcome, dearie.

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yum! Who's that good looking guy?


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