These are incredible. I am awestruck by their apple-y majesty. How's about we take half an apple, hollow it out and fill it with cinnamon, raisins, sugar, and butter, and then we wrap it up in a genius biscuit/pie crust hybrid, and drizzle it with cider sauce?
There's no getting around it: they're kind of a pain in the ass to make, but if you're in the mood to putter around the kitchen for a couple of hours, the payoff is huge. Your house will smell amazing and wholesome, unless you're living in our house today. We painted our dining room this morning, and in case you've ever wondered who would win in a smell-fight between latex and cinnamon, it's latex by a country mile.
The recipe is another phenomenal offering from The Best of America's Test Kitchen. Their objective when perfecting this recipe: bake the apple without burning the crust. Mission accomplished. This is a masterpiece.
The recipe makes 8 whopping servings. I decided to make the entire dough recipe but only baked half of it. The other half is still in the refrigerator, awaiting apples. I'm not sure if the second half of this recipe will turn out as great as what we ate tonight, but I'll let you know. Edit: they're just as awesome two days later.
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
- 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
- 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
- 4 Golden Delicious apples
- 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1 cup apple cider <--I used apple juice and added a tiny pinches of nutmeg, allspice, and ground cloves
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
For the dough: Process the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Scatter the butter and shortening over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Stir in the buttermilk until a dough forms. Place the dough on a lightly floured counter and knead briefly until the dough is cohesive. Press the dough into an 8 by 4-inch rectangle. Cut in half crosswise, wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
For the apples: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. In a second bowl, combine the butter, raisins, and 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Peel the apples and halve them through the equator. Scoop out each half's core and seeds, taking care not to pierce the bottom of the apple halves. Pack the butter mixture into each apple half.
On a lightly floured counter, roll each dough half into a 12-inch square. Cut each 12-inch square into four 6-inch squares. Working one at a time, lightly brush the edges of each dough square with the egg white and place an apple half, cut side up, in the center of each square. Gather the dough one corner at a time on top of the apple, crimping the edges to seal. Cut a vent hole in the top of each dumpling.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the dumplings on the sheet, brush the tops with egg white (oops! I forgot to do that!), and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake until the dough is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the dumplings on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Serve with a generous drizzle of:
Cider sauce: Bring the cider, water, sugar, and cinnamon to a simmer in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to 1.5 cups, about 15 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter and lemon juice. Drizzle the sauce over the dumplings and serve.