Many people overload on pumpkin this time of year. Here, it seems to be an equal amount of apples and pumpkin. Like I said last week, apples have been synonymous with Halloween and fall forever. Because of that, there are always multitudes of apples floating around my house from September to November. I can never seem to lessen the load, no matter how many apple cider donuts or apple muffins or apple strudel or apple cupcakes or pies I make.
But I’m not a fan of apple pie. Or apple strudel. Or apple dumplings. Since I always have tons of apples here in the fall, like I mentioned previously, I needed to use up all those apples before they went all motley. And occasionally I do make things strictly for others, because I’m just nice like that. This is one of those times. Ladies & gents, meet my version of apple dumplings: cute little pockets of crescent roll dough crusted with sugar and with a filling of apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, rum, butter and a dollop of cream cheese tucked inside.
I kind of invented these on a whim. I have no idea if these are a real dessert or not, but they’re quick and easy to make. Some people will tell you with things like this to use baking apples only, I will not. I don’t think it matters with these. They’re enclosed completely except for the tops, sort of like little apple wontons, so I don’t think an apple that stays firm is 100% necessary. I used pre-made packaged crescent rolls because they were around and I really didn’t feel like making my own dough. If you’re into that (which I sometimes am) then go for it. Otherwise, this is a really simple way to create a delicious dessert. I’m all for shortcuts, as long as you aren’t compromising the integrity of the dish, and with these, believe me, the crescent roll dough is perfect and in no way degrades the dish. It’s just a shortcut. This is not like using a cake mix and canned frosting to make cupcakes. Next time, though, I’d put a bigger pat of cream cheese on each. I kinda skimped. But I heard that made it extra special to eat… so I would’ve added a bit more. However, the cream cheese is totally optional, as is the rum. You can add cloves, chopped walnuts and/or golden raisins to the filling, if you like.
I highly suggest drinking ’em with some Original Sin cider. Mmm. I may not like apple pie or apple dumplings, but I sure do love me some hard cider. Especially Original Sin. And their artwork ain’t bad either! Perfect for this time of year, right? I just imbibed in some at Spitzer’s Corner last week (amazing Kobe burgers & truffle mac-n-cheese there, by the way, not to mention something like 40 beers on tap). Okay, back to the dumplings.
QUICK & EASY APPLE DUMPLINGS FOR CHEATERS
- 2 rolls of Pillsbury (or store brand) crescent rolls
- 4 apples (whatever kind you like), peeled, cored and sliced
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons melted
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons golden rum
- 4 oz cream cheese (optional)
- Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and place in a small heatproof bowl. Mix together cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg in another small bowl. Open crescent dough and combine triangles together to form rectangles by patting and squeezing dough together. Gently roll it or pat it out a bit so it’s flat and evenly one piece (if it makes it easier, space-wise, you can do this assembly on the cookie sheet so it’s already there and ready to bake).
- Mix apples together in a medium bowk with cinnamon mixture. Douse with rum, mix well. Spoon apple mixture into the middle of each square. Top with a pat of cream cheese and a pat of butter. Draw the corners of the dough up, folding and pinching it together to make a little pouch, leaving a small opening in the center. Using a pastry brush, brush tops and sides with butter and sprinkle with sugar.
- Place on cookie sheet using flat metal cookie spatula. Bake until dough is golden brown and firm enough to not collapse; mine took about 25-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before eating. They’re best warm but can be reheated easily.
Apple muffins and these and I STILL have a million apples left! I’ll have to make my own hard cider just to use ’em all. But, seriously, you want your house to smell fabulous? Make these. The smell will permeate every corner of your house, way better than one of those scented candles.
Another excellent idea is to use pears instead of apples (and it just so happens, Original Sin makes a pear cider too!). You could even make a savory version, for appetizers; you could fill them with tomato sauce with mozzarella cheese or ricotta… spinach & broccoli sauteed with garlic & olive oil, or mushrooms and onions sauteed in a white wine sauce. Maybe even some shrimp and soy sauce. Whatever!
There’s still a few days left ’til Halloween. So if you’re in need of inspiration, check out my ‘Best Of’ Halloween post, or just browse through the category. Or, you can take a peek at my True Blood Velvet cupcakes. But on Halloween there’ll be a special cupcake post, so come back and check it out.