Someone in our house is having a birthday this week (on the 30th) and has requested apple dumplings rather than a birthday cake. Several years ago I found this recipe and it has become a family favorite. Let me tell you a little story.
I first came to know the Lord while I was in high school through the witness of a friend from school. Soon after I was saved I met a woman, Norma, from my church who was about my mother's age. I came to find out that Norma and my mother had known each other many years earlier when they had worked together in a munitions plant during WWII. My mother had even been a bridesmaid in Norma's wedding. In the intervening years Norma had come to know the Lord and started attending the little church that I attended.
Anyway, to make a long story short, Norma and my mom became reacquainted and Norma very faithfully ministered to my mom and witnessed to her over the years until one day mom professed her faith and trust in the Lord as her personal saviour too. Norma did not have an easy life as her husband was not a believer and was very unkind to her. In spite of her own trials Norma was a faithful witness and the Lord used her greatly to bless my life.
Often when I was home from college Norma would invite Mom and me over for a meal. It was at one of these meals that I first tasted apple dumplings. Norma's dumplings were absolutely delicious! From the first time I ate them I hoped that she would serve them every time we would visit.
Being the diligent home economics student that I was I also asked her how she made them. She gave me some very sketchy directions which I eventually tried, but my dumplings were nothing like Norma's.
After Rob and I were married I continued my quest for a good dumpling recipe and finally found success when I found this recipe in the book Hospitality with Confidence by Grace Pittman. It is a book that I used for several years in teaching a class on Christian hospitality.
These dumplings are very rich, so save them for a special treat. Grace has aptly named them:
World's Greatest Apple Dumplings
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup butter
Combine all ingredients above in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsps. baking powder
3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the shortening as if you were making biscuits. Stir in the milk to make a soft dough. Roll out to 1/4" thickness. (For 6 dumplings I roll it out to a 15" x 10" rectangle. For 12 dumplings 16" x 12".) Cut the dough into the number of squares desired. Place apple slices in each square. Fold the corners in to make an envelope shape. Don't worry if these look messy. Place the filled dumplings in a 9" x 13" baking dish. Pour the syrup over the dumplings making sure every bit of the dough is moistened by the syrup. You might want to use a spoon as you do this. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serve warm with cream, whipped cream, or ice cream. You can reheat any leftovers.
Here are the raw dumplings being spooned with syrup:
Here are the baked dumplings, right out of the oven:
Here is a dumpling topped with ice cream, ready to be enjoyed:
These are delectable and I hope you will try them sometime. It's amazing that such simple ingredients can be combined to make such a delicious dish. It's also amazing that that a simple friendship can change the course of a life for all eternity.
P.S. Here is a picture of my faithful assistant blogger, Adelaide. She hops up beside me on the desk whenever I am at the computer.
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