Kinda sounds like the title for a children's book about Pandas, doesn't it?! So what the heck am I talking about tonight?
First, the yum yum. Some of you wanted the recipe for the apple dumplings, and you know I always try to keep you happy, right? Right! So here it is, together with my notes in parentheses about what I might do differently next time--take them or leave them, but just know that my ideas, at this point, are completely untested and may not work out.
Prepare pastry for a 10" two-crust pie. Set it aside for a bit while you do the rest of this stuff.
Peel, core, and chop about ten apples. (I think I probably only used maybe 7 or 8 large apples.)
Prepare cinnamon sauce: In a saucepan, combine 3 cups of water, 1-1/2 cups of sugar, a dash of salt, 1/4 cup of butter, and 1-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. (I followed the recipe and ended up with about twice as much sauce as I needed. It also seemed a bit watery but cooked up fine in the dumplings. I was thinking about reducing the water/sugar ratio, but I'm not sure how this would work out once it bakes down--if you reduce the water too much, I think the sugar might burn. But what am I going to do with the leftover buttery, watery sugar syrup? Maybe I should try thickening just the leftover sauce by adding more sugar and cooking it awhile--it might be good on pancakes!)
Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer at very low heat while you assemble the dumplings as follows.
Divide pastry into four equal portions. Roll each portion so you will get three triangles out of each. (Triangles? Maybe I just don't have the experience to fill and gather these triangles nicely, but I was thinking next time I might just divide the pastry into 12 portions and roll each into a nice circle or square.) On each triangle (circle/square?!), place about 3/4 cup chopped apple and sprinkle with sugar and a little cinnamon. (I think I was only able to fit about 1/2 cup of filling in each. And I added sugar and cinnamon to the apples just before I started filling.) Bring edges of dough up to the center and crimp the edges together. (This is where I had the problem with the triangle shape. The dough refused to crimp and left gaps.) Place dumplings in 9x13x2 pan. Twelve dumplings fit just about right. Pour sauce over the dumplings generously. (What's generously? Especially when you have made so much sauce that if you used it all, you'd drown the dumplings! I poured enough that the sauce came about 3/4" to 1" up the sides.) Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Eat.
Now the woo-woo part of this post. I find unexplainable supernatural stories kind of fun, and since Halloween is later this week, I thought I'd share with you. If you also enjoy this sort of thing, check out Somewhere on the Masthead's October Moments. He has a couple new ones this year, and if you enjoy those, click on his October Moments category in the sidebar on the left. I linked to him last year around this time, but if you weren't reading my blog then, he may be new to you. And if you're not one to enjoy having a chill run up your spine and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck? Well, he's an excellent writer and writes about much more than "October Moments."
Have you had any October Moments in your life? I'd love to hear about them! Go ahead: Try and scare me!