Friday, March 11, 2011

Apple Dumplings

Last month the book club chose Tender at the Bone ,another book by Ruth Reichl after Garlic and Sapphires. Having missed the latter I wanted to do this and was intrigued to know that this one was the story or an account of the author's childhood. We get to know her depressive mother  or the Queen of mold -she even consumed moldy foods and also falls for the bargain trap  and had an iron stomach to combat the illnesses, the French school in Canada where her mother sent her,the friend's father who introduced her to exotic foods,the grand moms and the maid who made excellent food and the various cooks that went through her house and life who taught her the basics of cooking.  The book also tells us how she became a critic and the chefs she met.
The author has an excellent eye for food -no wonder she is critic- and describes the related details excellently.As I have said earlier, telling a story is an art.Foodwise, the book has its own set of recipes. I loved the apple dumplings by Alice served along with hard sauce. Alice was he Afro-American maid who worked for her grandmother or rather one of the three grannies.Now, me being me, I went for 1/4th of the recipe and made dumplings using apple halves.Here's my version of dumplings.

Ingredients:
Apple: atleast 1 peeled and halved

Pastry:
All Purpose Flour: 1/2 cup
Salt: a pinch
Shortening: 3 tbsp
Ice Cold Water:4 tsp

Filling:
Brown Sugar + Cinnamon: Mix together
 Butter.

Preparation:
Peel and halve the apple.Remove the seeds and fill them with a mix of sugar and cinnamon.Top with a 1-2 tsp of butter.This is optional,but it makes the already buttery dumpling more buttery!.

Mix together salt and flour. Cut in the cold butter and ice water and stir to form a crumbly dough.Divide the dough into two. Place each half  in between sheets  of plastic and roll out each to get a square- not too thinner nor too thick,just big enough to cover the apple half.Place the apple half on the centre of the square.

Cover the apple,by bringing the corners together on top of the apple and crimp the edges. Mine was just correctly rolled out TG.It came upto the top of the apple half. 

Also give cuts on top of the pastry,to vent the air out.Optionally sprinkle the top with more sugar,cinnamon.Cover with a plastic rap and chill for atleast half n hour in the fridge.
Take out the chilled pastry and remove the wrap and place in a lightly greased baking sheet.Bake in a preheated  oven at 350F for 25 -30 minutes or more until the apple gets cooked and the juices start to bubble and the pastry edges start to brown.

Serve with hard sauce or whipped cream or ice cream as a warm dessert. I went for the latter.Too lazy to try out the hard sauce and also could not wait to eat the apple.

A simple fuss free recipe yet very classic.I first tried with the whole  apples but it looked gross though tasty.So I went for apple halves.It is like eating apple pie in a pouch. Soft buttery and spiced apples and crumbly crunchy pastry.You can go for apple pie spices or the simple cinnamon or make the changes accordingly. The apple excels as a hero as in all the dishes it is used in.

Do check the BookClub for what others have cooked for Ruth Reichl.

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