Saturday, 5 September 2015

Baked Apple Dumplings

The weekend before last we tried to go and see a recording of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice. Sadly we didn't get in but I did have a go at making a bake to take along. As the theme was desserts I tried making Apple Dumplings.

The variety of apples that I used were Cat's Head. They are a variety that dates to the 1600s and farm labourers used to take the apples, baked in pastry, for dessert for lunch. So I tried to recreate it and oh my goodness I had all sorts of problems! Everytime I made them they burst and split from the seams. I tried with skin on and skin off and they still burst! Ah well, they tasted really good!

Baked Apple Dumplings (adapted from The Kitchn)
(Serves 6)

For the Crust:
3 75g plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbinate of soda
pinch  salt
2 tbsp butter
2 1/2 tbsp vegetable shortening
just enough milk to make the dough stick together

6 small cooking apples
6 dried figs, chopped

For the filling:
6 tsp demarara sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp butter, cut into 6 pieces

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbinate of soda, and salt. Using your fingertips, rub the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles small peas. Add the milk a little at a time and stir until a shaggy ball of dough just begins to form. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a large rectangle or square, about 1/2 cm thick.

Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 6-inch square. Using the parchment paper as a guide, cut out 6 total squares from the dough, gathering scraps and re-rolling as needed. Layer the dough on pieces of parchment paper and refrigerate while preparing the apples.

Preheat the oven to 200C.

To make the filling, combine the demarara sugar, cinnamon, and ginger in a small bowl.

Peel and core the first apple. Place the apple in the middle of a piece of pastry. carefully sprinkle a little of the filling mixture into the centre of the apple, about half a tsp and top with 1 chopped dried fig, then another 1 tsp filling mixture. Top with a little of the butter. Bring the four corners of dough up around the apple, pinching the edges to seal and folding over excess if necessary. Repeat with all of the apples.

Arrange the apple dumplings in a large cast iron frying pan, leaving about 1-inch of space between each apple. Bake until the crust begins to turn golden brown, about 45 mins.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before eating. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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