Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

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Old-fashioned apple dumplings in baking dish

Delicious homemade apple desserts are a much-anticipated part of fall at our house. We love apple pie, apple crisp, and my mother-in-law’s amazing apple cake.

Without a doubt, though, our family’s favorite apple treat is old-fashioned apple dumplings. My oldest son loves them so much that I’ve even made them for his birthday instead of cake.

If you live in another part of the country, you may not be familiar with traditional Pennsylvania Dutch apple dumplings. Just imagine apples filled with sugar and cinnamon, wrapped in flaky pastry, and then baked in a rich syrup. So delicious!

Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings Recipe

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 6-7 Tbsp. cold water

Syrup:

  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine

Filling:

  • 6 medium apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

  1. For dough, combine dry ingredients in bowl; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, stirring just until dough is moistened and forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  2. In saucepan, combine sugar, water, and cinnamon for syrup and bring to a boil; remove from heat and add butter or margarine. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for filling.
  4. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 18×12-inch rectangle. Cut into six 6-inch squares.
  5. Place an apple in the center of each square; fill center with approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar-cinnamon mixture. Moisten edges of squares; fold corners to center and pinch edges together.
  6. Place dumplings in greased 9×13 baking pan. Pour syrup over dumplings.
  7. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until apples are tender and dumplings are lightly browned.

Old-fashioned apple dumplings in baking dish

Tips for Making Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

  • Choose a type of apple that is good for cooking or baking. I personally use and love Cortland apples, but there are other varieties that would work equally well.
  • I “cheat” on the crust and make it in the food processor instead of by hand. It makes very little difference in the quality of the crust, and I’m all about saving time!
  • Don’t skip moistening the dough as you fold the dumpling together. It really does help the crust seal.
Baking dish filled with old-fashioned apple dumplings

Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

Ingredients
  

  • Dough:
  • 2 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 6-7 Tbsp. cold water
  • Syrup:
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • Filling:
  • 6 medium apples peeled and cored
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions
 

  • For dough, combine dry ingredients in bowl; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water 1-2 Tbsp. at a time, stirring just until dough is moistened and forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
  • In saucepan, combine sugar, water, and cinnamon for syrup and bring to a boil; remove from heat and add butter or margarine. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for filling.
  • On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 18x12-inch rectangle. Cut into six 6-inch squares.
  • Place an apple in the center of each square; fill center with approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar-cinnamon mixture. Moisten edges of squares; fold corners to center and pinch edges together.
  • Place in greased 9x13 baking pan. Pour syrup over dumplings.
  • Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until apples are tender and dumplings are lightly browned.

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24 Comments

  1. I know my husband would LOVE these. He’s a big dumplings fan 🙂

    Thank you for sharing on Twisted Thursday.

    1. I hope you get a chance to try them out! And thank you for hosting today! 🙂

  2. This sounds amazing!!! I receive your newsletter and popped over to check out the full recipe. What if I don’t have shortening?? I have all the other ingredients, though. Thinking I will give this a try!

  3. I just made these ,in the oven as we speak,I’ll follow up after tasting…

    1. Judy Hoch says:

      How did they turn out for you, Lou?

  4. Hello! So I tried this recipe today and I don’t know what went wrong but I doubled the recipe and I still didn’t have enough for six apples.

    1. Judy Hoch says:

      Brittany, do you mean you ran short on the pastry that goes around the apples? I’ve had that problem myself. There are three possible solutions. First, rolling the dough a little thinner will give you a larger area to work with. Second, if your apples were fairly large, you could use smaller apples. And finally, you could make a slightly larger batch of the pastry dough; adding on about 1/4 of the recipe to the original recipe would probably be enough to be sure you don’t run short. Hope that helps!

  5. Jennifer Aremu says:

    Are these like the dumplings they had at Wendy’s years ago?

    1. Judy Hoch says:

      Hey Jennifer, I never had dumplings at Wendy’s so I really don’t know. I hope someone else may have an answer for you!

      1. Jennifer Aremu says:

        Thanks for sharing the recipe. I’m going to try them this weekend for my family.

      2. Jennifer Aremu says:

        Do you peel the apples?

        1. Judy Hoch says:

          Yes, peel and core the apples first. 🙂

  6. Susan Hunter says:

    Do you have a recipe for a vanilla custard sauce for the topping?

    1. Judy Hoch says:

      No, I don’t, Susan. I’m sorry. 🙁

  7. Made these yesterday did my daughter’s-in-law birthday dinner (instead of birthday cake). They were delicious and were the best I’ve ever eaten!!

    1. Judy Hoch says:

      I’m SO happy to hear this, Kathy–it truly made my evening! (I just made them last week for my oldest son’s birthday. 🙂 )

  8. Hi

    I just made this recipe and it’s delicious. I had already sliced apples and didn’t realize I was not supposed to slice them first. Do you peel and core then place the entire apple with the cinnamon sugar mixture in the middle of the dough or do you slice it in half? Also if I use sliced apples how much cinnamon sugar mixture and liquid topping do you recommend?

    1. Judy Hoch says:

      I’m glad you liked the recipe, Joyce! Yes, I peel and core the apples and then add the cinnamon sugar mixture in the “hole” where the core was. If you use sliced apples, just divide the apple slices and cinnamon sugar mixture into 6 equal portions. That should keep the ratio the same as if you had used whole apples. Hope this helps!

  9. Looks like my Moms receipe that I use all the time. One thing my mom did for the syrup she took some of her apple peelings and boiled them in the water for a few minutes and then took.them out b4 adding the sugar and cinnamon. Gave the syrup an apple flavor.

  10. Once made up and ready to bake, can you freeze them for later instead of baking right away? If so, how long do you think they will keep in the deep freeze?

    1. Judy Hoch says:

      I’ve never tried it, so I can’t say for sure. However, I do have friends who have baked them and then frozen them individually in foil. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful.