The ABC's of Cooking with Lynn Fredericks
author of Cooking Time Is Family Time

A is for Apple
Fuji Apple Dumplings with Spicy Cider Sauce

Adapted from Lynne Fredericks'
Cooking Time Is Family Time

Parents and kids flip over this dessert of flaky pastry revealing warm tangy apples cooked to an equally delicate texture. The real flavor wallop comes from the sauce which has a very spicy edge from the ginger. The dessert is so easy to prepare your kids will want to make it again and again during apple season. For busy weekdays, have the kids prepare apples in the dough with you or a care-giver after school and keep them covered until dinner time. Then, when it's dinner time, just pop them in the oven and make the sauce, letting it reduce while you all engage in preparing the evening's meal. When dinner is ready, so are the dumplings.
makes 6 servings

For the dumplings:

  • 6 Fuji or other firm, tart apples
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ice water
For the sauce:
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple or other brandy
  • 2" piece of ginger, grated

To prepare the dumplings:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Have the children peel the apple with a 'sure-grip' type vegetable peeler. Once peeled, let the kdis help core them with an apple corer, leaving the apple otherwise intact.

3. In a large bowl, have kids measure the dry ingredients. Then let them help cut up the cold butter with a butter knife and place it over the dry ingredients. With clean hands, have them start working the butter into the flour. Parents should plunge their hands in and help, it is really fun and since there's a lot of butter, the kids will need some help!

4. When the butter is incorporated, add ice water drop by drop. Only add just enough to bring the dough together. Cover the diough with plastic and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. Divide the dough into six equal parts. Let each child roll their dough into a ball and then roll it out with a rolling pin. Have them try to roll the dough into squares, although rectangles are fine. Cut and patch the dough with a table knife so that it is big enough to wrap around one apple. Help the children wrap each apple completely in dough, taking care to pinch the seams.

6. Transfer the apple dumplings to an ungreased baking sheet and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until light brown. Serve warm in a bowl with the warm sauce spooned over.

To make the sauce:
1. Prepare the sauce while the dough is resting or when the dumplings are in the oven. Let kids help you measure cider, sugar and brandy and place them in a small saucepan. Then have the children grate the ginger and add it to the same pan. Heat the saucepan and boil down the mixture until it reaches a syrupy consistency — approximately 20 minutes

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