Friday, September 17, 2010

Baked Apple Dumplings with Fruit and Nuts

Somehow National Apple Dumpling Day has escaped my radar, though there's probably a national day for just about every food imaginable. I had some apples left from my French Apple Tart and I decided to celebrate National Apple Dumpling Day!

Given the abundance of great apple dumpling recipes to try, I did my best to pick the best of several. I was intrigued by a baked apple with dates shared at Homemade Heaven where she had used dates to fill her baked apples.  Great idea, I thought.  Since I had dates, dried apricots and dried cherries in the house along with three apples, I decided to make one filled with each!

The recipe for the filling comes, in large part, from a Martha Stewart recipe. The dried fruit is first marinated in brandy.  Then, the fruit is strained and mixed with flour, finely chopped almonds, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg,  sugar and butter.   I made sure each apple was filled with as much filling as I could possibly stuff into them - and then some!

Meanwhile, a reduction syrup is made from brandy, apple juice, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup and butter, oh my! I covered my apples with puff pastry, brushed with egg wash and then baked in the oven with the reduced syrup, which was used to baste the apples a few times. 

They came out golden and delicious! I couldn't wait to try one. Waiting for them to cool off long enough was torture!

It was worth the wait! Unfortunately, most of the reduced syrup hardened in the baking pan so there was little left to use as a sauce for eating the apple dumplings.  Next time, I'll double the sauce and reserve some for serving.  The first apple I tried was the one filled with dates.  It was excellent and my personal favorite. I think dried figs would be delicious also.

It's definitely the time of year to have these handy plunger-type dough cutters in the shape of leaves. Whether using to cut out shapes from puff pastry or your own pie dough you can use these right through Thanksgiving. I've even used them to make mini cookies. You can find my personal favorites by clicking here.

4 Forks!

Apple Dumplings with Fruit and Nuts
Printable Recipe

Makes 3 apple dumplings

3 Granny Smith apples
1 sheet thawed puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with a little water added


1 tablespoon brandy
3 heaping tablespoons dried fruit, such as apricots, dates, figs or cherries, chopped
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 teaspoons finely ground blanched almonds
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Syrup (double if you'd like lots of sauce):

1/8 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cups clear apple juice
1 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup brandy
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (squeeze a little extra for rubbing on apples to prevent discoloration)

Combine all syrup ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until liquid has reduced by half and has slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

Combine brandy and dried fruit in a small bowl and allow to mariinate for 20 minutes. Drain fruit, reserving brandy and add to reserved syrup. In another bowl, combine the marinated fruit, flour, almonds, brown sugar, butter, nutmeg and cinnamon and blend together.

Remove stems from apples and top 3/4 of core, leaving 1/4 inch intact at bottom. Rub each apple with some fresh lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Divide filling among the 3 apples, filling generously.

On a lightly floured surface, unfold the thawed puff-pastry sheet. Cut along the folds into three pieces. Roll each piece into a 9 by 4 rectangle, cutting off about 1-1/2 inches off the short end to reserve for cutting decorations, with these leaf-shaped cutters. Put one of the apples, upside down, in the middle of the rectangle. Gather the four corners of the pastry and pinch them together. Pinch the edges together to seal. With a scissors, trim any excess pastry from where the edges meet and on the bottom. Repeat with the remaining pastry and apples.

Using a small knife or tiny leaf cookie cutter, cut six small leaves from the scraps of pastry. Brush the backs of the leaves with the beaten egg and attach two of them to the top of each dumpling.

Chill the dumplings for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425.

Place the apple dumplings on a heavy baking sheet at least 1 inch apart and lightly brush them with the beaten egg.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove the pan from oven, and pour the reserved syrup over dumplings. Return pan to the oven, and bake 10 minutes more, basting 2 or 3 times. Continue to bake the dumplings until deep-golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve dumplings with the warm syrup.


  1. If they are as good as they look, you've made a winner(s)! I can just imagine thrusting a fork into that flaky deliciousness!


  2. Absolutely beautiful! I wish someone would alert us to these National Food days well in advance-I've missed out on a couple good ones:@)

  3. They are gorgeous! Just beautiful Susan~

  4. What a perfectly wonderful way to prepare an apple dessert. I agree with you, Susan, I would want more of that lovely sauce too. Those dumplings are just plain scrumptious.

  5. What gorgeous apple dumplings!

  6. Susan, this is one of my mom's all time favorite dessert. I usually stuff them with dates for her and Grande Marnier is wonderful in the sauce
    xoxo Pattie

  7. Gorgeous apples! I love baked, but never had a dumpling, I think we'd love it!

  8. Wow those looks great. I think your recipe will be one of the "best" on the web now! Sounds delicious and looks absolutely beautiful Susan.

  9. These dumplings look fabulous- so sorry I missed their special day. I hope they'll forgive me. :)

  10. These apple dumplings look simply stunning! And your photography is 5-stars!

  11. Wow, these apple dumplings look fantastic. Your delicious photos have me craving one right now!!!

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  13. Susan these apple dumplings look delicious!Thank for the"printable recipe" I'll print immediately..Kisses

  14. Oh I am so sad that I missed out on apple dumpling day! These look delicious. Oh well, I shall have to bookmark them for next year's apple dumpling day!

  15. These look DEVINE!! Would make a yummy breakfast with a cup of coffee....I must be hungry :)


  16. Wow, these look fantastic! I think it is difficult to choose the favourite, I'm sure they are all very yummy! Well done!

  17. fantastica questa ricetta!!! la segno subito!!!!un abbraccio!!!ciao!

  18. Yum! Your apple desserts look so good - I can smell them now. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

  19. These are special in Appleville. There are wonderful apple recipes but I have never done this so it is very special. The look delicious.

  20. These look incredible!! I love that the fruit is soaked in brandy :) :)


  21. They look wonderful! I could devour one right now!
    We just got back from apple picking with the gkids. Oh boy!
    30 dollars a bag this year. It is our 20th year going to this place down by the ocean. It was 9 a bag when we started.
    It was a little crazy with the bees this year!

  22. YUM!! You are so much more adventurous than I am...but you give me hope!! LOL

  23. Thank you everyone! These were delicious. I would have to say my favorite was the date-filled dumplings. The flavor was so mellow and good.

    Kathleen, that's a lot of years of apple picking with the family. I'm sure it's a tradition that they will continue for a very long time!

  24. These look so good and so pretty!
    Wonderful recipe!
    You have a very nice blog here.

  25. I do love dumplings and these are so elegant...Love the reduction sauce :)

  26. Thank you for the mention! I loved the dates because there is no need to add extra sugar.
    I love you apple creations. I will certainly try these with the last of fresh apple left at the market.

  27. Those apple dumplings look gorgeous! I am planning to make some too ;-))

  28. What can I use in place of the brandy? I have never tasted it, never bought it, don't intend to buy it, etc.

    1. Diane, you could use red wine, sherry, or even pomegranate juice as a substitute for brandy. Try doing a Google search for substitutes for brandy in recipes - you'd be surprised what you can use. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

  29. Sorry, I should have added that they look just fantastic and want to try them as soon as I can figure out what to use as a sub for the brandy

  30. These look fantastic. I’ll definitely be trying them!


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