New Zealand does not really have a cuisine but I am claiming these baked apple dumplings. The Aussies can keep their pavlova, this staple of the Edmonds Cook Book is the real NZ dessert.
It has come to my attention that the rest of the world knows little of our apple dumpling way so I am presenting my adaption of the recipe.
- 2 large or 4 small apples suitable for baking, Granny Smiths work best
- Flour - 1½ cups plus a little extra
- Baking Powder - 2 teaspoons
- Salt - pinch (if using unsalted butter)
- Butter - 55 grams/2 ounces/half a stick
- Milk - ⅔ cup
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Water - 1 cup plus a little extra
- Powdered Cinnamon
You will also need a large bowl, an oven dish at least a couple of inches deep, a pot, a rolling pin, and some bench space.
Preheat the oven 190°C or 375°F, whichever suits your fancy.
Skin and core the apples. If using large apples, cut them in half.
Make the dough
SiftI say sift but don't stress if you don't have a sifter, it doesn't matter much for this the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl.
Cut the butter into little pieces then cut it into the flour mixture until the pieces are tiny and uniform. I usually use my hands to rub the butter in between my fingers.
Pour in the milk and mix well into a soft dough. Kneed it until smooth but only until then - you don't want it too stiff.
Make the sauce
Put the sugar and the water in a saucepan and put it on the heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved, try not to let the pot boil. You want to end up with hot, sugary water.
Make the dumplings
Divide the dough to match the number of apple pieces you have. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough thin enough so that it will cover the apple with a little area to spare. The dough should be about 3mm or an eighth of an inch thick.
Place the apple in the middle of the dough, sprinkle a little extra sugar and cinnamon on if you want. Wet the edges of the dough and bring the edges together to completely cover the apple.
Place the dumplings in a lightly-oiled baking container with high sides. The dumplings will rise a little so give them a little bit of space but it doesn't matter if they end up merging.
Pour the hot sugar water over the dumplings then sprinkle a little cinnamon over the top. You can add a little maple syrup here for that New England twist.
Bake for 40 - 50 minutes in the pre-heated oven. I usually take them out after 30 minutes to baste the dumplings in the boiling sugar mixture before the final browning. They are ready when the tops of the dumplings are starting to become a golden color.
Be careful taking the dumplings out of the oven - the boiling sugar is like lava. The cooked dumplings keep well in the fridge for a couple of days but do not let the dumplings completely cool in the cooking dish - you will never get them out once the sugar sets.