Lunar Dumplings

For those of you who aren’t aware, there’s going to be a lunar eclipse tonight. Well, actually, it’s more like tomorrow morning, but since I’m staying up to watch it, I’m calling it tonight. Here in the Pacific Time Zone, it will be starting around 1:30, and it’s supposed to be really bad ass around 3:00. I like me some lunar eclipse action, it feels a little bit like the world is ending. And I just so happen to be right next to a large amount of vacant land liberally bedecked with no trespassing signs, so tonight seems like a good night to check on the mill property from the other side of the fence.

So, what do dumplings have to do with the lunar eclipse? Well, I have these Gravenstein apples from Gowan’s, and I want to make something with them. It’s been getting a bit chilly at night, so it’s a good time to be baking, and I decided that I should make apple dumplings. Apple dumplings also happen to be one of my dessert specialties, and people seem to be rather fond of them.

Personally, I think it’s rather amusing that my apple dumplings are such a hit, since they are really easy to make, and require essentially no thought at all, unless you mistakenly believe that making pie dough is hard. But since people seem to be really into them, you, gentle readers, can carry the recipe on to all of your friends, awing them at social events and garnering proposals of marriage. The original recipe concept is courtesy of my awesome veterinarian Aunt, who is officially two years cancer free as of last week! Hooray! At any rate, here’s my recipe for apple dumplings.

Step One: Pie Dough

I like to make Julia Child’s pate brisee fine. I’m going to reprint it here, please don’t sue me, estate of Julia Child, because it’s an awesome recipe and I believe that it should be shouted from the rooftops.

Start by measuring out one and one half cups of flour. Oh, you can sift it, if you want, but it’s not that important, honestly.

Cut in 11 tablespoons of butter (or margarine if you’re vegan). Use a fork or a pastry knife to get the flour into little nubbins, but take care not to let it get melty.

Dissolve a pinch of salt and a dash of sugar in one third of a cup cold water, and add it to the flour/butter mixture all at once. Blend with a fork or spoon until you have a smooth, uniform dough, and then use the heel of your hand to smash it against the bowl several times, really mush it. Ball the dough up and chill it.

Step Two: Apples

Find some mighty fine apples, four of them. Peel and core them, splitting them in half. Stack the prepared apples next to a floured surface for rolling out the dough.

Line up eight small pats of butter, along with spices you might desire such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc. Fill a small dish with brown sugar, and get ready for step three.

Step Three: Dumplings

Cut the dough into eighths, and roll each section out so that it is roughly round. Pick up an apple half, cram the butter into it, and then sprinkle sugar and spices onto it. Center the apple on a round of dough, cut side down, and then fold the dough up around it. I like to make a pinwheel design, since it keeps things orderly.

Stick your completed dumpling on a cookie sheet, and make the rest. When they’re all done, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius) for around 20 minutes, or possibly longer. You want them golden and crispy.

If you can stand to wait, let them cool enough so that they won’t burn your tongue. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or plain.

Enjoy the lunar eclipse!