September 17, we celebrate Apple Dumpling Day. Though dumplings were originally filled with meat to make an inexpensive meal, people began experimenting with them using fruit. Some of the fruit they put inside them were pears and plums. When people came to the U.S. from northern Europe, they brought their recipes with them, but at first didn’t have access to the fruit they were used to using. So it was in the States that specifically apple dumplings were born. The recipe is often found in Amish cookbooks.
Originally, apple dumplings were boiled and steamed, and the word itself comes from German dampf, meaning steam. Now it is typically baked using Granny Smith or other cooking apples, previously cored and peeled. The crucial spice is cinnamon.
Dumplings are sometimes thought of as little personal apple pies, but at least in traditional recipes, there is a difference. The dough is slightly different, and there is a sauce added to the dumplings as they bake. For a recipe that takes some time, but looks definitely worth it, look on the King Arthur Flour site. The sauce is made by simmering the apple peelings with brown sugar. It can be finished off with a scoop of ice cream on the warm dumpling.
Apple dumplings may be served for either breakfast or dessert. In the U.K., a suet pastry is often used, although shortcrust is also common. (Shortcrust pastry is based on a “half-fat-to-flour” ratio that is, twice as much flour as fat by weight. The fat may be butter, lard, or shortening.).A filling of dates, sultanas, or raisins is often inserted into the cavity left by removal of the core.
So do celebrate today by making or buying apple dumplings, and make this a delicious day.
Quotes about apples
Coleridge holds that a man cannot have a pure mind who refuse apple-dumplings. I am not certain but that he is right.–Charles Lamb
I know the look of an apple that is roasting and sizzling on the hearth on a winter’s evening, and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some sugar and a drench of cream… I know how the nuts taken in conjunction with winter apples, cider, and doughnuts, make old people’s tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting.–Mark Twain
You cannot sell a blemished apple in the supermarket, but you can sell a tasteless one provided it is shiny, smooth, even, uniform and bright.–Elspeth Huxley
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.–Carl Sagan
Why not upset the apple cart? If you don’t the apples will rot anyway.–Frank A. Clark
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.–Robert H. Schuller
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.–Martin Luther
When the apple is ripe it will fall.–Irish proverb
Almost all wild apples are handsome. They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye.–Henry David Thoreau
Why do we need so many kinds of apples? Because there are so many folks. A person has a right to gratify his legitimate taste. If he wants twenty or forty kinds of apples for his personal use…he should be accorded the privilege. There is merit in variety itself. It provides more contact with life, and leads away from uniformity and monotony.–Liberty Hyde Baily
I’m not smart, but I like to observe. Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.–William Hazlitt
With an apple I will astonish Paris.–Paul Cezanne
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