Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Apple Dumpling Gang

I assume you heard the national news on New Year's day about the thousands of red-winged blackbirds that were found dead in the woods of AR? Lots of people didn't believe the investigation's finding they died of blunt-force trauma caused by being startled from their roost at night and colliding into tree trunks, limbs, and each other. The assumption was the birds roost at night and noise from NY Eve celebration fireworks startled them. At the time I heard the story, I wondered if this could really be the case.

Last week for two days during the latest snow, we had a humongous flock of red-winged blackbirds in the back yard, all settling around our bird tree (what I call a cedar stob with lots of feeders, suet cages, and peanut butter smears on it). I've now seen firsthand these guys fly into anything. We didn't have bird bodies around, thankfully, but every few minutes one ran into the screened porch or a window...guess they don't call them bird brains for nothing...was kinda eery -- made me think of the Hitchcock movie The Birds.

One of those cold days I made a large pot of red beans and rice, and casting about for dessert, remembered this quick and easy one. If you like apple pie or cobbler, this is a real treat; usually people have the ingredients already on hand:

Apple Dumplings

pie crust
granny smith apples, one per person--peeled and cored (up to six or less for these ingredients)
1/2 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
3 c water
2 c sugar
1 t vanilla

400 degrees. Preheat oven.
Butter a 13 x 9 inch pan.
On a floured surface, roll out pie crust into a large rectangle and cut into squares**
Cut butter in pieces. Place each apple in a square of pastry (or see below), and place one piece of butter in the opening of each apple and two pieces of butter around the base. Do this for each apple. Reserve remaining butter for the sauce. Divide brown sugar between the apples, poking it inside each core and around the base of each apple. Sprinkle each apple with cinnamon and nutmeg.
With slightly wet fingertips bring up the corners of each pastry around the top of the apple and press together. Seal each apple this way. Place them in the buttered pan.

In a saucepan combine the water, sugar, vanilla, and reserved butter and bring to a boil in medium heat. Boil 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved well. Pour over the apple dumplings.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes.

Place each apple in a dessert bowl and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve with vanilla ice cream....enjoy the compliments.

**I was lazy. What I did, which made extra crust, was to wrap one large granny smith apple each in one Pillsbury pie crust and let the top overlap. Worked beautifully.


marciamayo said...

sounds delicious. I loved the reminder of why we use the term bird brain.

Arkansas Patti said...

I wonder if we will ever know the real reason for the bird kill since it occured world wide. Each country has a different version of the cause. Just glad it wasn't here.
Now that is a clever way to make the dumplings. Will try it.

"Alone again.... naturally!" said...

I have never heard of birds doing that, poor little things! Glad you didn't have the carnage!

Mrs. Tuna said...

I am scared of birds, I was once hold hostage by a goose in my car.

Retired English Teacher said...

Yum. I will have to try this recipe.

ReformingGeek said...

Silly birds.

The dumplings sound yummy!

Rachel Cotterill said...

I've never heard of apple dumplings.. I'll have to try them out! :)

Annie (Lady M) x said...

Bimey, I thought that birds were a bit smarter than that. I suppose that explains the hoards of dead birds!

Chris said...


Pearl said...

There's hardly any reason to MAKE crust anymore -- the store-bought ones that you roll out and bake are pretty darn tasty!


wendy said...

bird brains...that was funny. I am rather freaked out but a FLOCK of birds when they start towards me. YES I saw that Hitchcock movie!!!

and that recipe sound deeelish.

Charlotte said...

Awww, I hate hearing those stories about the birds. Poor things.

The apple dumplings sound delicious (and now it has me singing the Sam Cooke song. Are you familiar with it? Oh, wait... I think it's actually called Sugar Dumpling). Will have to try it out!