Fall is really, really here, which means apples are at their peak right. I want to share my Apple-Cranberry Dumplings recipe- made with my homemade Puff Pastry– with you to celebrate. While you can use store-bought puff pastry, I’d like to encourage you to try your hand at the made-from-scratch version.
What are Apple-Cranberry Dumplings?
I like to think of apple-cranberry dumplings as pockets of apple-y love. In reality, they’re a whole apple which has been cored and filled with sugar, wrapped in a dough, then baked until golden. My version uses a tart Granny smith apple and incorporates dried cranberries. Wrapping the dumplings in puff pastry ups the buttery, flaky ante to make this a great, easy to make dessert for fall.
What You Will Need to Make Apple-Cranberry Dumplings:
You will need four Granny smith apples (or another tart apple) for this recipe. If you plan to make this dessert for a larger crowd, increase the amount of apples as needed. For the apple filling you will need: light brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and dried cranberries. Although this is an apple-cranberry dumplings’ recipe, you can switch things up by substituting dark or golden raisins for the cranberries.
To finish the recipe, you will need one pound of puff pastry dough. Regular pie dough will work if you don’t have puff pastry, but it won’t be as flaky. You will also need a quarter-cup of graham cracker crumbs. The crumbs soak up the apple’s juices, which helps to keep the puff pastry shell from becoming soggy.
Get the Prep Work Done
The easiest dessert ever begins with mixing the sugar and spice filling together.
In a small mixing bowl combine the light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger together. Measure out the dried cranberries and set both of the bowls to the side while you prep the apples.
Because we need to fill the apples with the sugar and cranberries, it’s best to hollow them out using an apple corer. I wouldn’t use one of those apple corer/slicer deals because it makes wrapping the apples cumbersome.
Slice off the nubby bottoms and the tops of the apples to give them a level surface. This will help them stand up while you’re wrapping and baking them. Peel the apples and then core them. This is easier and faster if you work in an assembly-line fashion.
If you are planning to make this for a crowd and have to peel and core a lot of apples, soak the peeled apples in cold water that has a tablespoon or two of lemon juice in it. This solution will keep the apples from turning brown while you work with the others. Just be sure to dry them well before filling and wrapping.
Roll Out the Puff Pastry and Fill the Apple-Cinnamon Dumplings
Once all of the prep work is done, use a heavy rolling pin to roll the puff pastry out into a large square. Cut out four smaller squares using a pastry cutter. I like to cut my squares about 8″ large.
The squares need to be large enough to wrap your apples without you having to pull at the dough to cover them. If you pull the dough, it will shrink back while it’s baking.
Place a heaping tablespoon of graham crackers crumbs onto the center of your square of dough, then put an apple in the center of the graham crumbs.
Pour anywhere from one to two tablespoons of the brown sugar-spice mixture into the center of the apples. The amount of sugar needed will vary based on the tartness of each apple, and your sweet-tooth. I usually take a nibble from the top or ends that I sliced off earlier to determine their tartness.
Fill the hole with a big pinch of the cranberries- about 2 tablespoons. I fill my apples with as many cranberries as I can fit in there because we’re all big fans of them. Top the the cranberries with a little more of the sugar-spice mixture and the apple filling is done!
How to Fold and Seal the Puff Pastry
As I mentioned before, it’s very important that you don’t pull the dough taut while you’re wrapping the apples. Not to be overly dramatic, but there’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your apples exposed in the oven because the puff pastry decided it was going to fall away from the fruit.
To wrap the apples, cover the top of the apple with one corner of your puff pastry square. Use a pastry brush to brush a small amount of egg wash on top of this piece of dough. Hold the corner in place while you lift the opposite corner up to meet it in the middle. Press the new flap down to seal it with the first one. Brush more egg wash onto the top and side flaps of the dough.
Bring up the side corner of dough, folding the sides in to encase them in the flap that you’re bringing up. Press the top of the dough to seal it before repeating with the last corner of dough.
Be sure to press the dough firmly to ensure its sealed fully. I kind of cup the dough around the apple to make sure the dough isn’t going anywhere.
Once the dough is properly sealed, use the tines of a fork to pierce the dough on four sides of the apple. These vents allow the steam to escape, which prevents the dough from exploding under its pressure. You may or may not add a little embellishment on the dumplings’ tops. I like to cut out puff pastry leaves and stems. Again, I like to be extra.
Transfer the apples to a 9″x13″ baking dish and brush the dough with more egg wash.
Bake, then Cool and Serve
Bake your apple-cranberry dumplings for 40-45 minutes, or until they’re deep golden brown color and crisp on the outside.
Alternatively, if you are planning to bake these later, you can place the unbaked apple-cranberry dumplings in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them. You can also freeze the dumplings at this point!
If you opt to freeze them, thaw them in the refrigerator for 4-8 hours prior to baking them.
Once your apple-cranberry dumplings are fully baked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before plating them.
When you’re ready to indulge, serve the apple-cranberry dumplings on their own or with a couple of scoops of Vanilla Frozen Custard.
If you’re not a frozen custard fan, you can also serve the dumplings with a generous drizzle of this Crème Anglaise Sauce.
No matter what it’s served with, these Apple-Cranberry Dumplings are a surefire hit for dessert. Not only are they a delicious sweet ending to enjoy, they’re so simple and quick to prepare. Keep the ingredients in stock and you’ll never be caught off guard when it comes to dessert. Pin this recipe for your holiday baking and be sure to share it with your apple-loving friends and family.
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- rolling pin
- pastry cutter
- pastry brush
Sugar and Spice Mixture
- 3 1/4 ounces (90g or 1/2 cup) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 large (approx. 1 kilo or 2 1/4 pounds) Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
- 1- 1 1/4 pound (about 450-490g) puff pastry dough, homemade or store bought (thawed if frozen)
- 1 ounce (30g or 1/3 cup) graham cracker crumbs
- 2 1/2 ounces (68g or 1/2 cup) dried cranberries
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- Preheat your oven to 400F. In a small mixing bowl combine the light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger together. Set aside.
- Whisk together the egg yolk and water (for the egg wash) until smooth. Set this aside as well.
- Fill the center of each apple with 1-2 tablespoons of the sugar-spice mix. You may need more or less of the sugar based on the tartness of each apple.Add a generous pinch of cranberries- about 2 tablespoons- to the apple's center followed by a little more of the sugar-spice mixture.
- Bring a corner of puff pastry square over the top of the apple. Use a pastry brush to brush a small amount of egg wash on top of this piece of dough. Hold the corner in place while you lift the opposite corner up to to cover the first corner. Press the new flap down to seal it with the first one. Brush more egg wash onto the top and side flaps of the dough.
- Bring up the third corner of dough, folding the sides in to encase them in the flap that you're bringing up. Press the top of the dough to seal it before repeating with the last corner of dough.Be sure to press the dough firmly to ensure it's sealed well.
- Once the apples are wrapped, pierce the dough on four sides of the apple with the tines of a fork. These vents allow the steam to escape. Transfer the apples to a 9"x13" baking dish and brush the dough with more egg wash. Decorate the tops of the apples with puff pastry leaves and a stem, if you'd like.
- Bake the apple-cranberry dumplings for 40-45 minutes, or until they're deep golden brown color and crisp on the outside.
- Once your apple-cranberry dumplings are fully baked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before plating them.Serve the apple-cranberry dumplings on their own, with a couple of scoops of Vanilla Frozen Custard, or with a generous drizzle of Crème Anglaise Sauce or Caramel Sauce.