In Christmas In Evergreen: Letters to Santa, the Chris Kringle Kitchen is where Lisa and Kevin sometimes take a break from fixing up Daisy’s General Store. It’s also where Michelle first meets Thomas…and where people gossip about romances and other small-town news. One of the specialties at Chris Kringle Kitchen are the famous apple dumplings, which are even more incredible served with a little extra sauce. They’re easier than they look, and your friends and family will remember them forever.
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
¾ cup ice water
½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Brown Sugar Cider Sauce
2 cups brown sugar, packed
1¼ cups apple cider
1 pinch kosher salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 sweet-tart baking apples (such as Pink Lady or Granny Smith apples)
1 egg, beaten
1. To prepare pastry brisée: combine flour, sugar and salt in bowl of a processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse to blend. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Slowly add ice water, as needed, to form pastry dough. Divide pastry into 3 equal portions; chill 30 minutes.
2. To prepare walnut streusel: combine walnuts, brown sugar, softened butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and blend with a fork. Reserve at room temperature.
3. To prepare brown sugar cider sauce: combine brown sugar, apple cider and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add cinnamon and vanilla and stir to blend. Reserve.
4. To assemble apple dumplings: using an apple corer or paring knife, core apples and peel. Stuff the center of each apple with walnut streusel filling.
5. Roll out 1 portion of pastry into about an 8-by-16-inch rectangle on a floured work surface; cut into two 7-inch squares. Repeat with remaining pastry dough (to equal six 7-inch squares). Brush outer edges of each pastry square with egg wash. Place 1 apple in the center of each square; bring the corners of pastry up over the apple to meet in the center and press seams. Cut leaf shapes out of excess pastry, if desired, brush with egg wash and arrange on dumplings. Chill apple dumplings until pastry dough is firm (about 30 minutes, or overnight).
6. Preheat oven to 400°F.
7. Arrange chilled apple dumplings in a large (14-by-11-inch) baking dish. Pour brown sugar cider sauce over dumplings. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and bake an additional 40 to 45 minutes, or until pastry is golden and apples are just starting to bubble.
8. Serve apple dumpling warm topped with sauce in baking dish. If desired, serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
9. Baker’s tip: place remaining walnut streusel on a small baking sheet lined with baking paper. Heat in a preheated oven at 400°F for 2 to 3 minutes or until butter is melted and bubbly. Cool streusel and serve crumbled over the top of dumplings.