There’s no denying it, we’re heading straight for the holidays. Just about the time I bust out my Fall scarves, I find myself wanting to scent my house with cinnamon and spice. It’s also when the family starts to chatter about who is in charge of what holiday meal, where the ham is coming from, who is making the rolls, and how many pies and peanut butter balls should be made and gifted. It’s all very serious business.
It’s exciting, if only for the fact that my mom will soon bring down the Christmas decorations from the garage, my Aunt Judy will light her familiar festive holiday candles, and the holiday china (even if it’s just paper plates sometimes because we’re totally fancy like that) is always on point.
I’m prepping for the holiday spirit. Getting my head in the game, my recipes, and plateware in order. We’re coming in strong this holiday season!
This post is created in partnership with HomeGoods where I found most of the lovely plateware and bowl featured in this post, as well as fantastic specialty baking ingredients including this incredible muscovado sugar. Totally reasonably priced. Loads of good stuff that rotates weekly. Opinions and dumplings are my own.
Let’s make these pretty pretty dumplings! Should we put on a scarf to get in the Fall spirit?
Here’s what we need:
- chilled puff pastry (the all-butter sort is best and most delicious)
- cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg
- muscovado brown sugar (it’s dark and moist and extra molasses-y)
- tart granny smith apples
- and all the fixins for homemade caramel: sugar, maple syrup, cream, butter, and salt
Apples are peeled, sliced in half vertically, then cored. I used a spoon to easily remove the apple core. A bit of lemon will keep the apples from browning while you’re assembling, but really… these apples are going into buttery crust, a little browning won’t hurt.
Puff pastry is rolled out on a lightly floured surface and cut into circles with a 4-inch round biscuit cutter.
Now it’s time for assembly!
One puff pastry round is lightly brushed with egg wash and topped with sliced apples. Two or three good slices will do.
The apples are topped with rich muscovado sugar, and a good pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. All of the comforting apple pie flavors, butter flaky, and individually sized.
A pat of butter, because always.
The apple juices, melting butter, sugar and spice will combine to make perfect little pockets.
Topped, pressed, and sealed with the tines of a fork.
Small vent holes in each dumpling to let the steam escape.
The dumplings are brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with turbinado sugar, making them golden brown and sugar-crisp.
Crisp and flaky on the outside. Warm, tender, and juicy on the inside.
While the dumplings baked, I boiled granulated sugar and pure maple syrup I found at HomeGoods into a sweet, browned, salty caramel. There is no more perfect topping to crust and apples. I’ve done the research.
Served warm with on pretty plates. We’ve come this far, we’re using our festive plates from HomeGoods to fully enjoy our Fall creation.
- These dumplings can be made, and sealed (not egg washed and sugar-topped) and frozen. To bake, remove from the freezer, brush with egg, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for about 5 minutes longer.
- These dumplings can also be baked and then frozen. Just wrap well, store in the freezer, bring to room temperature in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat gently in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes before serving.
- 1 sheet thawed but chilled all-butter puff pastry (I used Dufour Puff Pastry)
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored and sliced into thin rings (just under ¼-inch)
- ½ cup packed muscovado sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1 tablespoons freshly grated nutmeg, divided
- several pinches of salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg, beaten
- turbinado sugar, for dusting
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- To make the dumplings, place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, unfold the thawed but chilled puff pastry. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the puff pastry out about 1-inch on all sides. Use a 3 5/8-inch or 4-inch round biscuit cutter to cut as many rounds as you can from the puff pastry. I got about 10 rounds.
- Place rounds on a floured counter. Top 5 of the rounds with a few apple slices (2 or 3 depending on how thick you sliced them). Top each mound of apples with scant tablespoon of brown sugar, a good pinch of cinnamon, a good pinch of nutmeg, and a small pat of butter. Lightly brush the edges with beaten egg. Use your fingers to lightly stretch out the round of puff pastry that you’re using to top the dumpling. This will help it fit over the apple, sugar, and butter. Top the apple and butter with the remaining pastry pieces and press lightly with your fingers to seal. Use the tines of a fork to better press the dough pieces together.
- Cut three small vent holes in the top of each dumpling.
- Place the dumplings on the prepared baking sheets.
- Brush each lightly with egg wash. Sprinkle generously with turbinado sugar.
- If the dumplings have gotten very soft and warm as they were being assembled, place the baking sheets (with the dumplings) in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and bubbling. Allow to cool for 10 minutes of the baking sheet before serving warm.
- While the dumplings cook and cool, make the caramel sauce. To make the caramel, add sugar, water, and corn syrup to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once or twice. Bring to a boil and allow to brown. Once sugar has browned to a medium amber color, remove from heat and immediately add maple syrup, heavy cream and butter. Mixture will boil and foam. Stir well. Add salt and stir well to incorporate. Caramel may seem thin… that’s ok. Place in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and cool in the fridge for 1 hour if you'd like it thicker. Pour over war, dumplings and serve.
- Muscovado sugar and pure maple syrup found at HomeGoods!