It’s been a roller coaster of a winter, weather-wise, and we have been buffeted by days filled with rain, bitter cold, winds and some snow.
All of that puts us in need of comfort foods to sustain us until spring arrives and salads become appealing again. Now is the time for hearty stews, soups, meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, casseroles and chicken and dumplings.
Comfort food also can be sweet, and I found a new favorite this winter when I attended a holiday market near Perkasie. There The Farm Bakery had set up a table filled with its signature apple dumplings topped with vanilla sauce.
Located outside Quakertown, The Farm’s owners, the Lynde and Meyers families, are in the process of opening a retail bakery to the public. In the meantime they take orders online (meyersfarmbakery.com) including their delightful dumplings.
Soft and warm, filled with apple and with just the right amount of sweetness, the dumplings are comfort on a plate.
While we wait for the retail bakery to open, this recipe from Tasteofhome.com can do the job. If you don’t want to make your own crust, you can buy it already made in the refrigerator section of the supermarket.
Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings
1 recipe pastry for double-crust pie
6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups water
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 9-x13-inch pan.
On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry into a large rectangle, about 24 by 16 inches. Cut into 6 square pieces. Place an apple on each pastry square with the cored opening facing upward.
Cut butter into 8 pieces. Place 1 piece of butter in the opening of each apple; reserve remaining butter for sauce. Divide brown sugar between apples, poking some inside each cored opening and the rest around the base of each apple. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over the apples.
With slightly wet fingertips, bring one corner of pastry square up to the top of the apple, then bring the opposite corner to the top and press together. Bring up the two remaining corners, and seal. Slightly pinch the dough at the sides to completely seal in the apple. Repeat with the remaining apples. Place in prepared baking dish.
In a saucepan, combine water, white sugar, vanilla extract and reserved butter. Place over medium heat, and bring to a boil in a large saucepan. Boil for 5 minutes, or until sugar is dissolved. Carefully pour over dumplings.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Place each apple dumpling in a dessert bowl, and spoon some sauce over the top.