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Big Apple Dumplings

Dylan Dreyer / TODAY

Chef notes

"I love making anything with apples and this recipe is more fun than a standard apple pie. They’re almost like individual apple pies with a little surprise in the middle!" says Dylan Dreyer about this classic recipe from Better Homes & Gardens. "They’re a bit tedious and mine certainly aren’t as pretty as the ones in the cookbook, but they taste just as delicious and are totally worth the effort! It’s also a throwback recipe and makes me nostalgic, which I love. I believe they won a contest in the 1950s! I kind of want to put on a dress and an apron when I make these!"


  • 2 cups water
  • cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 to 1/2 to 1/2 cup half-and-half, light cream or whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped raisins or golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 small cooking apples (about 1½ pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine



For sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the water, the 1-1/4 cups sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Set aside.


Meanwhile, for pastry, combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the half-and-half, light cream, or milk over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the cream or milk at a time, until all of the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to an 18x12-inch rectangle.* Using a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut into six 6-inch squares.


 In a small mixing bowl, combine the raisins, walnuts and honey. In another small bowl, stir together the 2 tablespoons sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.


Peel and core the apples. Place an apple on each pastry square. Fill centers of apples with raisin mixture. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture; dot with the 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Moisten edges of each pastry square with water; fold corners to center over apple. Pinch to seal. Place dumplings in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Pour sauce over dumplings. Bake in a 375 F oven for 35 minutes or until apples are tender and pastry is golden-brown. To serve, spoon sauce over dumplings.

*If desired, roll pastry slightly larger and use excess pastry to make pastry leaves for garnish. Roll out pastry and cut into leaf shapes. Place on baking sheet. Bake in a 375 F oven for about 10 minutes or until golden-brown.