It’s Apple Season: Bake Something

There are a couple of distinct signs that autumn has hit the Tristate: Leaves begin to fall, pumpkin spice flavor is everywhere and the cooler temperatures force hipsters to start breaking out the flannel. But the most welcome and certainly the most deli

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click to enlarge Country Applefest 2014’s first-place dumplings
Country Applefest 2014’s first-place dumplings

There are a couple of distinct signs that autumn has hit the Tristate: Leaves begin to fall, pumpkin spice flavor is everywhere and the cooler temperatures force hipsters to start breaking out the flannel. But the most welcome and certainly the most delicious harbingers of fall are the myriad festivals featuring our favorite recurrent foods of the season, especially the most American fruit of all: the apple.

Saturday, the 33rd-annual Country Applefest will be even bigger than ever, thanks to its new location at the Warren County Fairgrounds and the addition of more than 100 vendors. “We had outgrown the downtown Lebanon area several years ago,” says Jiffy Stiles, festival chairperson, “This year we were given the opportunity to move to the fairgrounds, which gives us the space to have so many more vendors.”

While the location may have changed, Stiles assures that festival favorites such as apple dumplings, Amish pretzels, bean soup and corn bread from the Boy Scouts, and the

famous apple pies from St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church (which sell out early every year) will still be available. As will apples brought in by three different local farms — Irons Fruit Farm, The Black Barn and Rice Family Harvest. 

So what should you do with all of your apples? Try your hand at preparing some prize-winning apple dumplings with this recipe by last year’s first place Country Applefest Bake Off contest winner, Karri Perry.

Apple Dumplings

Recipe provided by Blue Ribbon Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 small to medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored

Dough

  • 2 ½ cups flour

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ cup butter-flavored Crisco

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup ice cold water and vodka, mixed 50/50

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 ½ cups flour

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

Honey-Caramel Sauce

  • 1 stick of butter

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

  • ¹⁄³ cup honey

  • ½ cup heavy cream

Apple Filling

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon butter divided for the 5 apples

Instructions: To prepare pie dough, cut but

ter and Crisco into the flour/sugar/salt mixture

with a pastry blender. Once butter and Crisco are in tiny pieces and the mixture is uniform,

begin slowly adding the liquid. Add just enough

ice-cold water/vodka to bring the dough together. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap

and chill dough for at least 1 hour before using.

Combine sugar and spices for the apple filling; set aside. Make crumb topping by combining all ingredients with a fork; set aside. 

Make honey-caramel sauce by heating butter in a saucepan over medium-heat until melted, and then add brown sugar, honey and heavy cream. Heat until bubbly and all sugar is dissolved.  Turn off heat. Let honey caramel sauce rest on stove top until needed.

Peel and core apples. Cover apples in

acidulated water to prevent browning; set aside. 

Roll out dough into a large ¼-inch thick rectangle. Cut into fourths. Place a cored apple in center of dough square. Place a slice of butter inside apple. Fill apple center with 1-2 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar filling.

Top each filled apple with a handful of crumb topping. Fold dough up and around each apple, covering the crumb topping and pinching sides to seal at the edges.

Place dough-covered apples into a buttered baking dish. Roll out chilled reserved dough to

use for decorative accents, if desired. Lightly brush dough-covered apples with egg wash. 

Chill prepared dumplings for 10-15 minutes in the freezer. Remove from freezer and quickly pour the honey-caramel sauce around the dumplings. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown.


COUNTRY APPLEFEST takes place Saturday at the Warren County Fairgrounds. More info: countryapplefest.com.


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