Easy Gravenstein Apple Dumplings

September 9, 2016

Apple dumplings

With all the apple picking we do in the late summer and fall, I find myself looking for apple related recipes of all kinds. This is one of my family's favorites: old fashioned apple dumplings. They're basically peeled and cored whole apples stuffed with butter, sugar, and cinnamon, wrapped in pie dough, and drizzled with a syrup that turns into a gooey caramel in the oven. This is a perfect dessert for upcoming cool fall evenings, and it makes the house smell wonderful when it bakes.

You can make these using your own favorite pie dough recipe, but I usually opt to save some time and effort and use the frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe's. They're really very good and as far as I can tell are indistinguishable from homemade!

I like to make these using local Gravenstein apples, but any crisp, not-too-sweet apple that holds its shape, like Granny Smith Braeburn, or even Fuji, will work just fine, too. Also, make sure you use apples that are on the smaller side—about three inches in diameter is perfect.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40–45 minutes


For the caramel syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the apple dumplings

  • 1 22-ounce package Trader Joe's pie crusts, thawed
  • 4 medium Gravenstein or other tart apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat your oven to 375ºF.

First, make your syrup: In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water, and cinnamon to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Set aside

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt. Mix thoroughly.

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Roll our your pie crusts with a rolling pin so they're a bit thinner than they come out of the box. Cut into circles about 8 inches in diameter. (You'll probably have to take the left-over dough after cutting out the first two and re-roll it to get the next two circles.)

Place one peeled and cored apple in the center of each circle. Stuff the center with 1/2 tablespoon of butter pieces and sprinkle with a teaspoon or two of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

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Wrap the apples in the dough, making sure they're completely covered. Pinch dough to seal.

Cafefully transfer to a lightly greased baking dish or cast-iron skillet. Drizzle with the reserved syrup.

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Bake for 40–45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve in bowls with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.