Apple Dumpling- Vintage Recipe

“Apple Dumplings” in olden times were basically a whole apple wrapped in dough and tossed in a kettle of boiling water, or later steamed. Much more recently they have been baked, and more often the apples diced and seasoned within.

In the 1700s in one of his sermons, John Wesley used this dish as an illustration of the alarming advance of luxury in England. In his boyhood, he said, one apple served for the family dumpling but now each child must have his own dumpling and apple!

Since Wesley was one of nearly 20 dozen children, I am a little skeptical that one dumpling really served for the entire family.

I’ve never made them, but from what I’ve read, to make the old fashioned steamed variety, you take a steamer basket, and some small tins or individual jello molds and grease them, fill the kettle half full of water, put in a steamer basket so the tins won’t be in the water, and start the water boiling. Meanwhile, make a light biscuit type dough and roll it out, cutting squares large enough to wrap the apples.

Take a good cooking apple (not a Delicious of any sort), quickly core it, then peel it, and wrap it in a square of dough, place in a tin, and move on to the next apple (they turn brown quickly when exposed to air). If you want more sweetness, set the cored apple on the square of dough and fill the cavity where the core was with sugar and spice lemon juice and rind or any kind of jelly jam or marmalade, or raisins and cinnamon.

Put them in their tins and put these in the steamer basket, cover, and steam until the apples are soft- this is said to take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.

One suggested recipe for the dough:
One quart of flour will make from eight to twelve dumplings according to the size of the apples used. With this, sift one level tea spoonful of salt and four of baking powder, or two of cream of tartar and one of soda, or one of soda and use sour milk to mix the dough. For shortening rub in one half cupful or less of butter, lard, or best of all, clarified beef dripping or use an equal quantity of finely chopped suet. Add water or milk to moisten the dough enough to roll it out to about half an inch thick.

Serve with cream and sugar or Molasses Sauce: Cook together one tablespoonful each of flour and butter, smooth, add gradually one cupful of nice molasses, Let it boil a minute, add one tablespoonful of vinegar and enough hot water to make it the right thickness for sauce.

In making dumplings allow one at least for each of the family. Any that are left may be re steamed another day and be as good as when first made.

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