(POSTED: May 15, 2005)

Big Apple Dumplings

2  cups water
1-1/4  cups sugar
1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4  cup butter or margarine
2  cups all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon salt
2/3  cup shortening
1/3  to 1/2 cup half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk
2  tablespoons chopped chopped raisins or golden raisins
2  tablespoons chopped walnuts
1  tablespoon honey
2  tablespoons sugar
1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
6  small cooking apples (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1  tablespoon butter or margarine

1. For sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the water, the 1-1/4 cups sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Set aside. 

2. Meanwhile, for pastry, combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the half-and-half, light cream, or milk over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the cream or milk at a time, until all of the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to an 18x12-inch rectangle.* Using a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut into six 6-inch squares.
3. In a small mixing bowl combine the raisins, walnuts, and honey. In another small bowl stir together the 2 tablespoons sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
4. Peel and core the apples. Place an apple on each pastry square. Fill centers of apples with raisin mixture. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture; dot with the 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Moisten edges of each pastry square with water; fold corners to center over apple. Pinch to seal. Place dumplings in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Pour sauce over dumplings. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 35 minutes or until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown. To serve, spoon sauce over dumplings. Makes 6 servings.
*Note: If desired, roll pastry slightly larger and use excess pastry to make pastry leaves for garnish. Roll out pastry and cut into leaf shapes. Place on baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.   

Source:  Better Homes & Gardens

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