Thursday, December 03, 2015

Baked Apple Dumplings with Cranberry Butter

These have been a very special treat at Thanksgiving and sometimes at Christmas.  What I love about these is that the dough is extremely easy to work with and there is no way to ruin it....always comes out perfect.  I was rushing around with all my Thanksgiving preparations this year because I got a late start.  I missed taking pictures of a few steps but I got most of them covered.  Please don't be discouraged by the many pictures of the recipe steps ---it goes very quickly and is easy to do! Special shout out to Vanessa, beautiful wife of my nephew Tony, who took the above picture of the finished dumplings. Thanks, Vanessa!  xoxo

Baked Apple Dumplings with Cranberry Butter
Adapted from Food & Wine Magazine, November 2001. 

Cranberry  Butter:
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup hot water
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar

Pastry Squares:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 sticks (3/4 pound) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup ice water

In a large bowl use a pastry blender to mix the flour with the sugar and salt. Add 1 1/2 sticks of butter cut into small pieces and blend until the mixture resembles small peas. Add the water and stir with large fork just until a dough forms. Knead together several times just until the pastry comes together. Form into 3 disks and refrigerate until chilled.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each disk out to a 12-inch by 12-inch square, 1/8-inch thick. Cut each square into quarters, forming four 6-inch squares. Make a cut in each corner of each pastry square, extending halfway to the center. Reroll the pastry scraps. Using a leaf-shaped or other small cookie cutter, stamp out 12 shapes for decoration. If you forget to do this (as I did this time --don't worry about it!)  (Make ahead: the pastry squares and leaves can be stacked between sheets of wax paper and refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)
Cranberry Butter:
In a small bowl, soak the dried cranberries in the hot water until plumped, about 5 minutes. Drain the cherries and squeeze dry. In a food processor, pulse the cranberries with the butter and light brown sugar until finely chopped. Scrape the cranberry butter into a small bowl and refrigerate until the butter is slightly firm.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.   Using a small-size batter scooper or melon baller, scoop out the core of each apple half.   Fill the cores with the cranberry butter.
Working with 4 at a time, lightly brush the pastry squares with water. For each dumpling, set an apple half, cut side down, in the center of a square. Bring the corners of the pastry up and over the apple, overlapping them, press lightly to seal. Transfer the dumplings to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the pastry leaves with water and press 1 onto the top of each dumpling.
Brush the dumplings with the egg wash (1 egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon heavy cream). Mix the granulated sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle 1 teaspoon over each dumpling. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the apples are tender.