It may seem as if the holiday of Halloween is a very American tradition with it’s trick and treaters and all the candy inspired pageantry, however, it may surprise you to know that in actual fact Halloween began in Ireland. Yes, the origins of the holiday is the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated over 3,000 years ago. Today however, Halloween is similar in Ireland as it is celebrated in America – It’s a time to gather family and friends together for some community fun, and of course eating together.
Growing up in Armagh, also known as the Orchard county of Ireland, my favorite ‘go-to-desserts‘ always involved apples. I was practically raised on apple tarts (pies) and crumbles, and so when I emigrated to the Southern US states over 20 years ago, I continued this tradition and just love all the wonderful American fall desserts, such as ‘Apple Dumplings‘.
An apple dumpling is a whole apple filled with brown sugar and a little butter wrapped up like a little present in pastry and baked in the oven. The dumpling is finished off with Candy Apple Sauce and please do not forget the vanilla ice cream!
It’s time to celebrate with apples!
Apple Dumplings(for the pastry)
- 2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 2/3 cups of shortening
- 6 to 8 Tbsp of ice water
- (for the egg wash)
- 1 beaten egg and a little water
- (for the apples)
- 6 medium size baking apples
- 3-4 Tbsp of brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp of butter
- (for the candy apple sauce)
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
- 1 drop of red food coloring
How to make them
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- To make the pastry combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the shortening until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Using a knife stir in the ice water until a dough is formed adding a little extra water if necessary. Form the dough in a rectangular shape disc with hands and then cut that in to 6 equal pieces to make it easier to roll out in to square shapes.
- Core and peel the apples and place each one in the center of prepared pastry. Spoon a little butter and brown sugar inside the center of each apple. Brush the inside edges of the pastry with a little water, and pull up to the center to completely cover the apple like a little package. Brush the outside of the dumpling with egg wash.
- Grease a medium size baking dish and set the dumplings gently in to the pan. Place the dumplings in the oven and bake them for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are soft.
- While the apples are baking prepare the sauce by boiling together the water, sugar, spices and a little food coloring and then whisking in the butter.
- To serve place the apple dumpling in the center of a dish and pour of the sauce. Best enjoyed with a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream.
Judith, Shamrock and Peach