Evan Kleiman does the shopping this week, while Laura Avery is vacationing in France. Evan's excited to find tiny Lady Christmas apples that she found at Windrose Farms. She recommends making apple dumplings. With these tiny apples, you don't even need to peel them.
Old-Fashioned Apple Raisin Dumplings
Courtesy of Gourmet (February, 2001 issue)
Makes 6 (dessert) servings
2 small tart apples such as Granny Smith (1/2 lb), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2" pieces
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1/2 Tablespoon for sprinkling
3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 Tablespoons cold vegetable shortening
1/2 cup whole milk plus 1/2 Tablespoon for brushing
1 1/2 cups unfiltered apple cider
1 cup packed light brown sugar
Accompaniment: vanilla ice cream
Make filling: Toss together all filling ingredients.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar into a bowl. Blend in butter and shortening with a pastry blender or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir with a fork just until mixture is moistened.
Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead 7 to 8 times, or until a soft dough forms (do not overwork dough, or dumplings will be tough). Roll out dough on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a rough 16" by 11" rectangle (about 3/4" thick). Trim to a 15" by 10" rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise, then cut crosswise in thirds (to form 6 squares).
Divide filling among centers of squares. Bring all 4 corners together over filling and pinch together to seal. Transfer dumplings to a well-buttered 13" by 9" by 2" ceramic or glass baking dish and arrange about 1 inch apart. Brush tops with remaining 1/2 tablespoon milk and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar.
Make syrup and bake dumplings:
Bring cider and brown sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Pour syrup around dumplings, then bake dumplings until golden brown and syrup is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Now is the time to find fresh, uncured olives. James Birch of Flora Bella Farm in Three Rivers, California is bringing them in for the next two weeks. Fresh olives must be cured to eat and James is putting his in burlap sacks and dropping them into the river for a month. You can accomplish the same thing at home by submerging the olives in water and changing the water each day for about 30 days. Other recipes direct you to cure them in salt and also salt brines with spices.
Music break: Bayou by Deadly Avenger Presents