Recipes: Great Dumplings…Oliver and Apple

   Oliver will be nine months old next week. 

My German Shepherd Puppy Oliver had a trip to the veterinary this morning for a routine check up.  He loves going anywhere and doing everything.  Life is just one big continuous party for the pup. Oliver has been doing his best to mentor me with this attitude, and he’s a very good teacher.

Our joint effort to enjoy life has produced a pup that at nine months old weighs 93 pounds. I thought this was great as he sounds like he’s the runt of the litter. One of his brothers was over 95 pounds at eight months.  As a coated shepherd, he’s so hairy that I find it hard to tell where fluff ends and flesh begins. I can feel his ribs when I pet him.  However, the vet had no such problem discerning this issue and made it clear that Oliver, the apple of my eye, has turned into a bit of an apple dumpling.

Apparently there needs to be a reduction in”treats” and an increase in activity levels. Moving forward I will be much more diligent in calorie counting for my dogs and adding a lot more Frisbee and squirrel chasing to their menus.  I am just going to have to remain strong against those soul-melting big brown eyes when they are beseeching me for something that he really needs…like ice cream.

As a two-time cancer survivor and a woman who helped guide two gifted children, one male and one female, through their teenage years into adulthood….I…can…do…this!! I can remain strong and say no to such innocence and preciousness.  After all my husband, Doug, has set a great example for me to follow. He has been able to withstand my big brown eyes and say no to me for over 37 years.

In our home, apple dumplings need to remain a sumptuous dessert for people, not a description of a noble German Shepherd.

Grandmother Esther’s Apple Dumpling Recipe

Prepare pie crust for six dumplings and chill.

Buttery Flaky Pie Crust for 6 dumplings or a two-crust 9-inch pie

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chilled butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.  Cut in butter with two knives, or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms into a ball.  Sometimes I do have to add an extra tablespoon or two of water.
Wrap in plastic and chill for 1-2 hours.

When chilled pie dough is ready to roll out, prepare this syrup.

Cinnamon Simple Syrup

In a medium-sized saucepan prepare a syrup of:

1 cup of sugar
2 cups of water
3 Tablespoons of butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix together and boil for three minutes.  Remove from heat and set a side.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a large rectangle about 1/8 inches thick and cut into six 7-inch squares.

Peel and core six medium-sized tart apples.  One for each dumpling.  Place in the center of each pie crust square.

In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.  Fill each apple core cavity with this sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Fold the pie dough over the apple bringing opposite corner points together on top of the apple.  Overlap the pie dough corners on top of the apple, moisten with water and seal. The dumpling should like a pastry wrapped apple present…and it is.

Carefully, lift each dumpling and place them in a 9 X 13 cake pan.  Be sure to leave a little space between each dumpling.

Pour hot syrup around the dumplings.

Bake at 425 degrees until the crust is nicely browned and apples are tender…about 40-45 minutes.  You can check apple tenderness using a toothpick.

Serve warm, topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with the cinnamon syrup from the pan.

This recipe can also be used for peaches.


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