Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings Just Like My Southern Grandmama Made

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Autumn is in the air, and that means it's time for delicious fall desserts! One of our favorites is Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings. This recipe is simple to make and perfect for a chilly autumn evening. We'll walk you through the steps so you can make them at home.
Old Fashioned Apple Dumpling Vertical Heading

It’s almost fall here in the Hudson Valley, and the apple picking has already started. It doesn’t take much for me to start thinking about my favorite apple desserts so I was easily inspired to pick up some apples for one of my favorite old-fashioned desserts: apple dumplings.

I collect vintage cookbooks and I adapted this apple dumpling recipe from one of favorites, Tennessee Homecoming Cookbook, a celebration of all those great dishes our Meemaws used to bring to the annual church homecomings.

This particular recipe for apple dumplings was submitted by Dr. Doris W. Bush of Baxter, Tennessee, who writes in the cookbook:

I have traced this recipe to the early 1800s in my family here in Middle Tennessee. It still tastes just like the ones my grandmother used to make.

It reminds me of the dumplings my grandmother used to make, too. The dumplings are almost like crumbly shortbread and the sticky sweetness of the apple filling provides the perfect contrast. You’ll want to serve these with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, of course!

appledumplings-1-4

Old-Fashioned Apple Dumpling Ingredients

Apple Filling

  • 6 tart apples, cored, peeled and sliced
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • 1½ Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons butter

Dumpling Dough

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Cup shortening
  • ½ Cup milk

Syrup

  • 2 Cups sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups water

What Type of Apples Should You Use for Apple Dumplings?

A tart, firm variety of apple works best in this recipe. This is a really sweet recipe, so you want an apple that provides a nice contrast to the sweet ingredients. Otherwise, the recipe can become cloyingly sweet.

Similarly, you want a firm apple that will hold its shape during cooking and won’t turn into mush.

I like to use the tart apples like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Braeburn. They hold their shape well when cooked and provide a nice contrast to the sweet filling.

Granny Smith Apples for Apple Dumpling

How to Make Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

STEP ONE: Preheat oven to 375°F.

STEP TWO: Prepare the apple filling:

  • In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  • Combine the cinnamon and sugar mix with the apple slices in a large mixing bowl. Stir well to cut the apple slices with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

STEP THREE: Prepare pastry dough for dumplings:

  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut in shortening until coarse crumbs form.
  • Add milk and stir until moist.

STEP FOUR: Assemble the dumplings:

  • Roll out dough into flat squares. Cut into 6 even pieces.
  • Divide apple filling into 6 portions and place one portion of apple filling  in the middle of each square.
  • Top with ½ tablespoon butter
  • Fold dough corners into a dumpling shape enclosing the apples.
  • Place each dumpling upside down, seam side down, in a 9×13 casserole pan or dutch oven.

STEP FIVE: Prepare the Syrup:

  • Combine all ingredients for the syrup, except for the butter, and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
  • Pour syrup over dumplings.

STEP SIX: Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. Dumplings are ready when they are brown on top and a little crusty.

STEP SEVEN: Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or topped with whipped cream.

Finished apple dumpling topped with whipped cream

Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings
Yield: 6 Servings

Old-Fashioned Apple Dumplings

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

These Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings are the perfect vintage recipes for crisp fall days. This quick and easy recipe is just like the dumplings your Grandmother used to make.

Ingredients

Apple Filling

  • 6 tart apples, cored, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp butter

Dumpling Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ½ cup milk

Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp butter

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Prepare the apple filling.

  • In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
  • Combine the cinnamon and sugar mix with the apple slices in a large mixing bowl. Stir well to cut the apple slices with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Prepare pastry dough for dumplings.

  • Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut in shortening until coarse crumbs form.
  • Add milk and stir until moist.

Assemble the dumplings.

  • Roll out dough into flat squares. Cut into 6 even pieces.
  • Divide apple filling into 6 portions and place one portion of apple filling  in the middle of each square.
  • Top with ½ tablespoon butter
  • Fold dough corners into a dumpling shape enclosing the apples.
  • Place each dumpling upside down, seam side down, in a 9×13 casserole pan or dutch oven.

Prepare the syrup.

  • Combine all ingredients for the syrup, except for the butter, and bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
  • Pour syrup over dumplings.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. Dumplings are ready when they are brown on top and a little crusty.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or topped with whipped cream.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 755Total Fat: 19.4gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 277mgCarbohydrates: 148.9gFiber: 7.1gSugar: 107.6gProtein: 5.7g

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5 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings Just Like My Southern Grandmama Made”

    • They’re basically like tiny apple pies but there’s a higher crust to filling ratio and because the syrup goes on the outside, they’re very sweet and sticky. So, I guess they’re like apple pies with the same ingredients in different order! They’re very yummy though.

      Reply
    • Let me know how it turns out! I have some leftover apples so I’m going to make a different version tonight from The Pioneer Woman that uses Mountain Dew so I can compare it to the more traditional version.

      Reply

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