Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekend Cooking #3: Apple Dumplings in WW II

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.  As always Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

When I read the book Who was that Masked Man, Anyway? by Avi, the young protagonist, Frankie Wattleson, often mentioned his mother’s Apple Dumplings. And, in fact, his mother even uses the prospect of an apple dumpling to bribe her renter, Mr. Swerdlow, after Frankie gets into trouble with him. I had never had apple dumpling, and imagined them to look like my mother’s dumpling, only with chunks of apple in them. Well, I was wrong, and below are some recipes that show just how wrong I was.

Apple Dumplings (6 sevings)
To make Flaky Pastry:
2 ¼ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
½ cup lard or vegetable shortening
4 to 5 tbsp ice water
1. Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cut in lard or shortening until crumbs are the size of a small pea.
3. Gradually add water, stirring with a fork just until mixture will form a ball. The less water used the better.

1 Flaky Pastry (as above)
½ cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 medium apples, peeled and cored
2 tbsp butter, cut into 6 equal chunks
½ cup maple syrup
Cream or sweetened whipped cream (optional)

1- Preheat oven to 325° and grease a 13 X 9 inch baking pan or dish.
2- Roll out dough to make an 18 X 12 inch rectangle. Cut dough into 6 inch squares.
3- Combine sugar and cinnamon in a pie plate. Roll apples, one at a time, in sugar mixture, then tuck a chunk of butter into center of each apple, and wrap apple completely in one of the pastry squares, pinching edges together. Do this with each apple.
4- Place in greased pan, pinched edges down. Pierce a hole in the top of each wrapped apple and drizzle maple syrup over them.
5- Bake dumplings 30 to 35 minutes or until juices start to bubble out of pastry at the bottom.
6- Place each apple on a separate dish and serve hot with cream or whipped cream.

From: Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen: World War II and the Way We Cooked by Joanne Lamb Hayes (I don’t know where each recipe originally came from, but wish that had been included.)

Two Variations:

Peach Surprise Dumplings (serves 4)
8 squares of pastry Sauce (see below)
8 halves of canned peaches
Orange marmalade

1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Place 1 half peach on each square of pastry
3. Put 1 spoonful of marmalade in each half; cover with other half of peach.
4. Bring corner of pastry up over each peach.
5. Set in English muffin rings in a pan and bake 40 minutes or until crust is done.
6. Serve with the following sauce, cooked until clear:

1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sugar
¼ to ½ cup milk
1 cup canned peach juice
½ tsp vanilla
Sprinkling of coconut

From: Cooking on a ration: food is still fun by Marjorie Mills (1943)

This is another variation from the New York Times
on November 17, 1942 by Jane Holt.
During the war, apples not rationed and were abundant.

Poster from 1943 US Department of Agriculture


  1. We can buy these at the county fair (and do) -- served warm with ice cream. Yum. Interesting that apples were not rationed.

  2. I've got an English cookbook of war recipes, and it is fascinating. These recipes sound quite wonderful - not skimpy of ingredients at all. And I love that a book got you interested in a food!

  3. A delicious treat! I've seen them served at local fairs, too.

  4. I cannot help but associate dumplings with Asian style soft dumplings ;) But boy, these do sound good. Wish you would post a photo...? :)

  5. I am going to have to start frequenting more fairs. I didn't know you could get them there. And the ice cream addition really sounds good.

    Nan, I bet the English cookbook is interesting. I have been looking for one on ebay or abebooks but the shipping is so expensive. Sometimes you can find them for sale in Canada or even here in the US.

    Chinoiseries - I wish I had a picture for these but I don't. I will have to start taking my own when I test the recipes. I don't think these are very much like Chinese dumplings, which are also wonderful. My daughter is in China right now and keeps talking about how great the dumpling are there. She makes my mouth water.

  6. my mom used to make these...I don't have her recipe so I must try these.

  7. My father often talks about his food experiences during WWII -- he especially remembers having to eat rice rather than potatoes! To this day, he hates rice! I am going to see if I can find the Wartime Cookbook you mentioned. Thanks!

  8. Does anybody remember the 1980's Wendy's versions of Apple Dumplings?...they were absolutely incredible and sound very much like this recipe.