One of my favorite flavors of fall is that wonderful taste of a freshly picked apple. Apples are a refreshing snack on the go and keep well in the tractor/combine, or any other vehicle. However, my family really enjoys apples when they are used for desserts. (October is also National Dessert Month.) In addition to apple pie, we enjoy apple dumplings. Following is the recipe that my mom has used for as long as I can remember. I love the smell of cinnamon on a cool fall day or a cold winter night!
1 ½ cups sugar 2 cups flour
1 ½ cups water 2 tsps. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon 1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground nutmeg 2/3 cup shortening
3 Tbsp. butter ½ cup milk
4 medium apples, peeled and chopped
Sift together dry ingredients; cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once; stir just until flour is moistened.
On lightly floured surface, roll to 18 x 12 inch rectangle. Cut into six inch squares. Place apple on each square. Sprinkle apples generously with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; dot with butter. Moisten edges of pastry. Bring corners to center and pinch edges together. (This takes a little practice and there is no need for them to be picture perfect. I usually roll them in my hands to finish sealing.) Place in 9 x 13 pan.
For syrup, mix first 4 ingredients; bring to boiling. Remove from heat; add butter. Pour syrup over dumplings; sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream, milk, or cream.
I like to have these in the freezer. Wrap individually with plastic wrap and place in a plastic container. Just take out the number you need to serve and make syrup for a quick dessert; bake. (45 – 50 minutes when frozen.)
Apples can be used as objects to teach lessons. One of my favorite lessons is The Earth as an Apple.This lesson gives a great visual of the small fraction of the earth where it is possible to grow food. In addition, it provides fraction concepts.