Caramel Apple Dumplings

Yea, I’m stuck in fall.  I’m not going to lie.  You can see it pretty much written all over this blog.  And I’ve also a sick obsession for the apple recipes as well.  It’s just that the apple, cinnamon, pie pastry texture and tastes all remind me of home.  Being here in this country that only has two seasons really leaves me reaching out to fill those I’ve missed in Ohio!

I love etymology.  That’s why I like language so much.  And it’s extremely interesting to me when I find a connection between two words that others are not as excited as I am!  I found that nostalgia has some interesting roots.  Nosto is greek for home and algos pain.  So, in a sense nostalgia just means homesickness!  Now, you can’t tell me that is cool.  If you can’t admit to it you just need to leave.

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Really… how could you blame me for being stuck on apple deliciousness?  Are you seeing this?  I’m about to swallow my own tongue!

Caramel Apple Dumplings

6 McIntosh Apples (as this serves six people)  Do we have McIntosh apples in Peru?  No… so we had to just find something softer that would cook nicely.  This is the beaut we found.

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Sauce
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp butter

Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk

Caramel Sauce
You can use store bought OR you can make this
Caramel Comfort Sauce… really, which sounds more fun?

First you can get your sauce ready.  Super simple.  Are you ready?  Throw the water and sugar in the pan and start to bring it to a boil.  Put in the cinnamon and nutmeg.  When the sugar-water comes to a boil put in the butter and let melt.  Mix it up and when it’s melted completely remove from the heat and set aside.

To cut and peel your apples, cut them in half and then cut out the core.  I’ll show you some pictures, because I’m not sure how to explain with words.  Then, peel those halfs.  Don’t cut them into quarters because then you’re going to have a great time trying to hold them together when you wrap them up in dough!  That’s sarcasm by-the-way.

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Make sure you keep your apple halves with their mates… otherwise you could end up with some silly-looking dumplings.

Once you’ve got your apples ready get on your dough.  In a bowl mix together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder) and then start to cut in your shortening.  If you’re like the Handicapped Kitchen and you don’t have shortening you can use butter (which I perfer anyway).  Cut in the shortening until you have what looks like fine crumbs.  Then add your milk just until the dough comes together in a ball.

Roll the dough out into a rectangle measuring about 18”X12”.  Then cut the dough into six squares.  So, that should be two horizontally and three across the length.  If you were a math major in college than you can figure out easily that that’s six equal squares!

Working one at a time, place an apple in the center of one of your perfect squares (that’s nearly impossible) of dough holding the halves together.  Pour a nice unhealthy amount of sugar into the center of the apple and shake a pretty portion of cinnamon and nutmeg over the apple and settle a pat of butter on top.  Fold up the four corners of the dough and pinch it closed.  You can also use water to help seal it better.

Place in a pre-greased baking dish.  When you’ve got all your dumplings set in the pan pour the sugar mixture we made earlier over the apples making sure to dump it over each dumpling.  Then, sprinkle with more sugar!  SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR!  Kind of reminds me of Rebecca Black’s FUN FUN FUN!  Oh dear… poor girl.  Anyway, bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or until you can easily poke a fork through easily.

Let cool and drizzle with caramel sauce while still warm.

TIPS:
1.) Use smaller apples so your dough will easily cover those babies.
2.) Some of my apples fell apart in the oven, but with my quick smarts I pulled some toothpicks out of my drawer and secured the apples together sticking the toothpicks through the apples in a crossing-action.

So, are you going to make these things?  Are you going to eat them in the middle of the sweltering summer?  Does it matter what time of the year you eat Apple Dumplings????  I think not.

Pie Tarts: What to Do With Extra Crust

I made these tarts about a week ago and haven’t had the time to put up the post until now.  I don’t actually know what to classify them as, because they technically are not tarts.  Buuuuut, since that’s what my mom always called them, that’s what they are.  So, there.

I hate wasting pie scraps… even when cookie recipes call for not rolling out the dough twice, I do not listen.  So, make these after your next pie!  OR, you can be as irrational as I and just cut the pie dough recipe you use regularly in half and make a whole big batch! They really are just that good.

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Buttermilk Pie Dough (already cut in half)

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening/butter
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup buttermilk (cold cold cold cold)

Follow the directions for mixing the pie dough from this post.

Tart Filling

maybe 1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
(that’s it! SOOOO EASY!)
Note: this recipe is not exact.  It’s more like… “Well, that looks like enough sugar” or “Gee, I think I’ll have to give this to the dog.”  Especially if you are using your scraps, then you won’t have to use as much for the filling.

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Preheat your oven to 350F.  Divide your pie dough into three parts.  Roll out your pie dough.  It’s probably not as necessary to let your pie dough chill as long as the recipe says for this little project if you’re only making the tarts minus the pie.  Do your best to roll the dough out into a long rectangle.  You want to roll everything up when you’re done length-wise, so keep that in mind.

Once your dough is rolled out nice and thin then, spread on enough butter.  Enough to make you think future heart problems but NOT instant heart attack.  Okay?  Then sprinkle brown sugar over top, enough to hide all that frightening butter.  THEN, shake on some cinnamon, enough to almost cover all the sugar.  Cinnamon is dangerous.  You can go overboard.

Then, carefully, pull up one side of the pie dough with your fingers and start to roll everything up into a long tube.  Remember, to do this length-wise, so you don’t have super fat tarts, but rather a long roll.  Then, cut up the roll into about one inch rolls.

Put foil over a cookie-sheet and then arrange the tarts on it.  Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the dough feels firm to the touch OR until the sugar starts to turn a deeeeeep brown almost black.  I like to let my sugar and butter caramelize almost to the point of burning.  It makes for a AWESOME crunchy layer on the bottom!

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Make some coffee, sit down with a book and eat eat eat eat eat!  You won’t be able to stop.
-Trev

Apple Fig Caramel Death By Pie

My mother would kill me, kill me, kill me if I ever put up our family apple pie recipe on the internet.  Don’t worry Mom!  This is not our secret pie!  This is my new pie!

Let’s be totally honest here.  I mean, we’re cool, right?  Pies are not the hardest things in the world.  There might be a ton of folk that tell you otherwise, but once you get the crust down…

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So, when Chad brought back a bag of figs from the market for the family, I knew I had to try a pie with them… with apples.  And what, I thought, would be more heavenly that drizzling the thing in Caramel Comfort Sauce.  Apple pie, by far, is my favorite pie.  Knowing I couldn’t post my mother’s pie here, I had to try something new!  Figs and caramel are definitely not in my mom’s pie.  I’m off the hook!

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I found a perfect crust.  I’ll tell you about it in a sec, I swear.  This crust, is so delicious, and you would never believe it, but yes, it’s easy to handle.  Seriously, I’m not kidding you, either I’m some kind of pie crust god, or this is just the pie crust you’ve been dreaming of.  So, when you try this out… you’ll have to tell me if I’m a god or not.  Don’t worry, you won’t hurt my ego.

I had two helpers in the kitchen when I made this pie, who both had just gotten up from their naps.  I present Mr. Thomas and Miss Ella:

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They did so well, until they got bored and decided to watch Finding Nemo… which the shark parts were too scary for Thomas.

Buttermilk Pie Crust
via Joy the Baker

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup butter/shortening (cold cold cold cold)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (cold cold cold cold)

Mix together in a bowl the flour, sugar and salt.  Then, cut in your butter with the classy fork, pastry mixer, food processor etc., until you have what resembles course crumbs.

Handicap: I don’t have buttermilk.  I don’t even know what the name for it is in Spanish let alone if they even produce it in Peru… which if they did it would be expensive.  But fear not!  Buttermilk can be substituted as such.  For each cup of regular milk at 1 tbsp of white vinegar.  Works like a charm and that’s exactly what I did.

Mix in the buttermilk until you have until your dough forms into a ball.  The key, my mother always says, to making good crust is using cold cold cold cold cold cold cold ingredients.  Got it?

Let sit in the fridge for an hour… says Joy, but I did less time and it turned out fine.  I think I need to turn our fridge down.  It’s way too cold, but I love the ice crystals I get in my milk.

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Then roll out your dough so it will fit in your pie pan.  To get the dough from the counter into your pan it’s best to fold the dough over itself in half then, pick up the half and place it in your pie pan so that when you unfold it your dough is neatly in place, right where you want it.

If my directions don’t explain this clearly enough, click the link above that says Joy the Baker and her advice might help you better.

Filling

1 1/4 cup sugar (separated)
3-4 cups preferably McIntosh Apples… anything but red delicious I suppose (peeled and sliced)
about 1/4 cup Caramel Comfort Sauce
1/4 cup figs (the red flesh)
cinnamon for dusting on top

Remember when I said that once you get past the crust pies are really easy?  Well, as I promised it is!  Dump in 1 cup of sugar on the bottom then nicely lay out the apples inside so you can have the maximum amount fit inside the pie.  Then on top of the apples spread over the red flesh of the figs and sprinkle with the 1/4 cup sugar.  Then, over everything, drizzle the caramel sauce.  To top everything off dust with cinnamon.  Don’t go to heavy on it, or you will be sorry!  Use the same technique for the bottom crust as the top.  Fold in half and lift off!

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Put her in the oven at 350F.  I create a foil tray with the sides folded up to create a boil-over catching pan.  It makes for easy clean-up, because you know this pie is done when it boils over and you have a sugary-goo mess on your foil tray.  Also, check to see how tender your apples are with a fork.  If they’re nice and soft, that’s a good sign too.  Careful, sugar does tend to smoke quite a bit, if that burns don’t think your pie is burning too.  It should take from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours to make this baby.  I swear, she’s a delicious one!

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