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pineapplepico4_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

I hope all my American readers had a great Thanksgiving holiday last week! I had a few welcome days off to spend with family and one of the things I like best is shopping and cooking together. My son, in severe taco withdrawal after three months of college, helped me come up with this pico for chicken tacos but it would be equally good on fish – or just dipped straight up.

Find a nice fresh pineapple and you’ll have a batch of pico in just a few minutes. It is a little better the second day, and of course you can adjust the heat to your own preferences. Since it’s super-healthy, fresh, and gluten-free, it would be a great addition to a holiday potluck, and a way to wake up palates jaded from rich holiday foods.

Pineapple Pico de Gallo, Makes about 3 cups

  • One medium fresh pineapple, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 t. fresh ground ginger
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 T. sambal oelek (fresh ground chili paste) (or to taste)

Put the pineapple chunks in the food processor. Pulse five-six times until you start to approach crushed pineapple.

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Add the rest of the ingredients.

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Pulse three-four times until everything is roughly chopped. Give a stir to make sure there aren’t any large pieces left.

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Spoon into a serving dish and chill. Serve on tacos, grilled fish or chicken, or as-is with a bag of lime chips!

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Now that we’ve been all virtuous it’s time to get out the butter and start on our holiday cookies – in our next post!


Four years ago: Swedish Visiting Cake
Three years ago: Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pie
Two years ago: Pumpkin Gingerbread
One year ago: Orange Bites


pearcheesetart10_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

With a couple ripe pears and a nice bottle of Chardonnay on hand, I threw this together one night when I got home from work. It has an olive oil crust, adapted from a recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini.

I like to use Bartlett pears because they’re so flavorful but d’Anjou work too and they’re not as juicy. Right when the tart came out of the oven I drizzled it with some local honey and a few sage leaves from my garden. It a nice versatile tart, and it would make a pretty little starter as minis too.

Pear Goat Cheese Savory Tart, Makes one 9″ freeform tart

Olive Oil Crust

  • 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. semolina pastry flour
  • 1/4 c. light whole wheat flour
  • 1 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. cold water

Three ripe pears, cleaned and sliced

4 oz. soft goat cheese

Honey for drizzling

Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the first six crust ingredients in a bowl.

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Work in the oil to crumbles.

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Stir in the water and gently knead a few times a soft dough. Don’t overwork it.

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Dust the counter and roll out the dough like you mean it, with a few broad strokes.

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Lift the dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Pile the pears in the middle, leaving a few inches of clearance all around. Then add dollops of goat cheese on top. Bring the sides of the crust up over, and arrange them to show the filling.

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Bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges are a deep golden brown. Right when the tart comes out of the oven drizzle it with honey and some fresh herbs for color.

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Serve hot or warm. Cut into fourths for a generous appetizer.

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Four years ago: Apple Crisp
Three years ago: Malakoff Torte
Two years ago: Cinnamon Bread
One year ago: Brownie Cookies


gingergoldcake8_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris-Brady

Local apples are starting to come in and I made this cake as a way to use up some of the beautiful Gingergolds I picked up.  Gingergolds are a cross between Golden Delicious and Newton Pippins. They are a lovely golden green:

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with a gorgeous sweet-tart flavor and crisp bite. These apples are not built for long-term storage, so you have to enjoy them early in the season. I decided to pair them with a mix of spices, sugar and local honey. The recipe below is based on Eliza Acton’s classic gingerbread recipe from the 1800s, with a few tweaks of my own.

Gingergold Cake, Makes one 9″ cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 c. molasses
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 2 T. ground ginger (Not powdered, actual ground gingerroot)
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. allspice
  • Zest of one lemon (important!)
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. light wholewheat flour
  • 6 T. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • Four Gingergold apples, cleaned and chopped in a fine dice, set aside in acidulated water
  • Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 and put the eggs in a mixing bowl. Beat them until light and frothy.

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Beat in the sugars.

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Then beat in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and butter. Beat until well-combined, then beat in the buttermilk. Lastly, beat in the wholewheat flour.

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You should have a thick, creamy batter.

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Fold in the apples and pour the batter into a greased 9″ cake pan.

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Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. The center should spring back when touched lightly.

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Serve warm or at room temperature, plain or dressed up. This cake is a good keeper, and I think it’s actually better on the second day. Store any leftovers wrapped, freeze for storage longer than a few days.

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Three years ago: Berry Crumb Cake
Two years ago: Icelandic Almond Rolls
One year ago: Fried Rice


peachcrepes9_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

You might think that you need a special pan or one of those spectacular large griddles to make crepes – you don’t. You just need a really good non-stick pan with rounded sides and flat bottom – and some patience. Because no matter what, the first few crepes are going to be something less than perfect.

But keep going! A couple crepes in, things will get better. By the end you’ll feel like a pro. In my experience it’s the same story, every time. The good news is, even the ones that aren’t as pretty are still delicious. Just roll them up, cover them in fruit and add a dollop of cream if you feel fancy.

This recipe (my stand-by from The Joy of Cooking 1975 Ed.) doubles easily, and while I used peaches because they are in-season and gorgeous, any fruit will work. If you can start this batter three hours ahead and let it sit in the fridge, so much the better – but in the pics below I only let it side for 30 minutes.

Peach Crepes, Makes four servings

  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. double acting baking powder
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1/2 t. vanilla or 1/2 t. grated lemon rind
  • 4 c. chopped sugared fruit
  • Cream topping
    • 1 pint heavy cream
    • 1 T. sugar
    • 2 T. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
    • 1 t. vanilla

Break the eggs in a bowl and beat well. Beat in the milk, water, and vanilla.

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Add the dry ingredients and beat. If there are lumps just leave them be. Set the batter aside. (Refrigerate if you’re going to let it sit for longer than 30 minutes.)

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While you’re waiting you can prep the cream topping. (I forgot to take pictures of this part.) Beat the heavy cream to soft peaks, beat in the sugar, vanilla, and cream cheese until smooth and whipped. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to plate.

When you’re ready to cook the crepes put your pan on to medium heat and lightly grease it with olive oil. Measure out 1/4 c. of batter.

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Pour it in the pan and quickly swirl it around to cover the bottom in a very thin layer.

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When the edges start too look dry flip it over.

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Stack the cooked crepes on a plate as you go.

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To plate, roll two crepes up on each plate.

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Top each set with a cup of fruit and a nice dollop of the cream.

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These are nice for brunch or dessert. If you make the crepes ahead of time it would only take a few minutes to plate it all up.

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Three years ago: Fresh Peach Pie
Two years ago: Apricot Crostata
One year ago: No-Bake Chocolate Torte


chocolatecherrycake17_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

The sweet cherries were just in season here. I was thinking about making a black forest cake, but often those can be disappointing with dry cake and not a good ratio of cake to filling. What I was going for was a moister cake, more of a brownie texture. I found what I was looking for in Baking with Jim Dodge. His recipe, which I’ve tinkered with slightly below, uses brandied cherries (which would be delicious) but I was under a time crunch so I used fresh cherries.

Chocolate Cherry Cake, Makes one 8″ cake

For the cake:

  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk (or 1/2 c. strong coffee)
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt

For the filling:

  • 1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60%)
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 T. softened butter

2 c. stabilized whipped cream

1 lb. Bing cherries (or another sweet black cherry)

Preheat the oven to 375. To make the cake: combine the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted.

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Set it aside to cool slightly, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.

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Beat in the rest of the dry ingredients.

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Then add the milk. You should have a thick creamy batter.

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Spread the batter in a well-greased 8″ pan. I also dusted mine with cocoa powder before adding the batter, just to be sure it would come out.

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While the cake is baking make the chocolate filling. Combine the chips and cream over medium heat, stir to melted. Then stir in the butter and set it aside to cool (you can speed it up by putting it in the freezer).

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Whip the ganache until it’s light and fluffy.

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Let the cake cool thoroughly. If you have some Kirsch now would be a good time for a sprinkle.

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Wash the cherries, pit and halve them. It’s a messy job, there’s no getting around it.

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Split the cooled cake in two and put it on your serving dish. Arrange the halved cherries on the bottom layer.

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Top the cherries with the ganache and then add the second layer of cake.

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Top that with the stabilized whipped cream. Chill thoroughly before serving.

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Even fresh the cake will cut neatly.

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Store leftovers lightly covered in the refrigerator.

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Three years ago: Cheesecake Ice Cream
Two years ago: Gooseberry-Raspberry Pie
One year ago: Sunday Night Cake with Chocolate Sauce


rhuberry11_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

Guess who! I know, right? It’s been crazy, but I’ve come out on the other side of two graduation parties for my son and lots of other parties for graduating friends and family. I made most of the boy’s party food myself (with help from the aunts!), and I may get around to posting come menus and quantities. But not today my friends. Because today, while it’s still rhubarb season, you have to try this pie.

It is, in real life, the crazy red of the photo. It’s also crazy-good, and I’m not even that much of a pie person. There’s strawberries, raspberries and then a rhubarb filling holding it all together. It’s also no-bake, so if it’s hot where you are and you don’t have air conditioning either – you’re welcome!

I made this one with sugarfree raspberry gelatin, but you could sub in unflavored gelatin if you like. The redder your rhubarb the prettier the filling. If you have a dad in your life that loves pie, this would be a good choice (hint, hint).

Rhuberry Pie, Makes one 9″ deep dish pie

  • 3 c. diced rhubarb (1″ dice)
  • 1-1/4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 box of sugar-free raspberry gelatin, or one packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh raspberries, washed and picked over
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust (9″ deep dish) (or sub in a GF crumb crust)
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream

Combine the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan.

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Simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the rhubarb is just barely tender. Take out some of the liquid (about 1/2 c.) and stir the gelatin into it.

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Remove it from the heat.

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Fold the dissolved gelatin, strawberries and raspberries back in. Let it sit for a few minutes so the fresh berries can poach a tiny bit. Reserve 1/2 c. of the liquid. Put the rest of the filling in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, until it just starts to thicken.

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Pile the cooled filling into the pie shell. Cover the pie lightly and return it to the refrigerator to set completely. You can cut it in a couple hours, but if you can let it sit overnight you’ll get the cleanest slices.

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Beat the cream to soft peaks, then beat in the reserved liquid. It will stabilize the cream and turn it a lovely pink.

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Refrigerate the cream (covered) until you’re ready to serve the pie.

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Serve each slice cold with a dollop of cream. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Three years ago: Chocolate Eclairs
Two years ago: Michigan Fruit Pie
One year ago: English Muffins


applecoffeecake_little-house-dunes14

by Heather Harris Brady

This is a great recipe from The Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas. I made a small change, adding a cinnamon swirl batter under the apples. It’s quick and easy to make but it looks very finished, it would be great to take to a brunch or tea. It also keeps well, if you like to bake things ahead for company.

You can use a deep-dish pie pan or a deep springform pan. Look for well-flavored baking apples to use in this recipe. I used Jonamacs.

Danish Apple Cake, Makes one 9″ cake – eight generous servings

  • 1/2 c. softened butter
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 3 baking apples, peeled, split in half and cored (let stand in acidulated water)
  • 2 T. melted butter
  • 2 T. granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cream well.

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Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

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Then alternately add the milk and the flour in two parts, beating well between each addition.

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Spread 3/4 of the batter in a greased, 9″ deep dish pie dish.

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Stir the cinnamon in the remaining batter and spread it across the top. Slice each apple half not quite through in 1/4″ slices (Hasselbeck-style).

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Press the apples cut side down on top of the batter.

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Brush them with the entire surface with the melted butter, then evenly sprinkle it with the sugar.

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Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked through.

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This has a great flavor and a texture that is somewhere between a dessert cake and a coffeecake.

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It keeps well at room temperature and slices nicely for serving.

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Three years ago: Chocolate Pudding
Two years ago: Austrian Carnival Doughnuts
One year ago: Bran Muffins


ojas7_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

This is going to be a short post today since here in America we’re heading into the big Thanksgiving holiday. If you are going out or visiting this coming holiday season these little bites would be a perfect hostess gift, especially tied up in a clear box with ribbon. Not only are they delicious, they are snowy-pretty and they check all the boxes – vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, raw, paleo, etc.

I had these at an ayurveda workshop, where they were said to boost immunity. Give these a try even if you don’t like dates – I’ve never been crazy about dates myself but I love these. You can substitute more ground almonds for coconut if you like. If you can grind your spices fresh, and make these ahead, as the flavors blend and improve over time.

If you wanted an interesting cheese course you could roll these in minced nuts instead and serve them with a goat cheese, gorgonzola or a seared halloumi.

Orange Bites, Makes about 24 1-1/2″ treats

  • 2 c. medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • Zest of two organic oranges
  • 1/2 c. raw almonds
  • 1 t. fresh ground gingerroot
  • 1 t. fresh ground cardamom
  • 1 t. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 2 T. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 T. coconut powder plus extra for coating

Put the dates in the food processor.

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Add the spices, honey, nuts and oil. Roughly chop, then add the orange zest and 2 T. of the coconut powder.

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Pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough.

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Spread some coconut powder on a plate.

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Scoop out heaping teaspoons of the date mixture and roll them in the coconut until they are well-coated.

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Store finished treats in an airtight container at room temperature. These will keep nicely for up to two weeks. Safe travels and happy weekend everyone!

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Three years ago: Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding
Two years ago: Parker House Dinner Rolls
One year ago: Vanilla Sauce


applebutter6_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

My Aunt Blanche (actually my grandmother’s cousin but that’s neither here nor there) was in her mid-90’s when she passed away earlier this year. She was a small bubbly woman who married a tall quiet man from North Carolina. Whenever they would come for summer visits she was like the Energizer bunny, no matter how hot it was, she would still make her banana pudding and other delicious and strange (to us) things.

So in memory of Aunt Blanche I decided to attempt this apple butter, something I have always loved but never got around to trying. She made it in the slow-cooker, which is genius because it can cook down slowly while you go about your business. If you start it at breakfast it should be done by dinner.

I knew we would be eating this up right away, so I made it sugarfree, sweetened with nothing but the apple cider. You can run it through a foodmill or processor at the very end if you want it super-smooth like the kind you can buy in jars. I’m sure this same method would work for other soft fruits as well, like plums, pears and peaches.

Apple Butter, Makes about four cups

  • 16 cups chopped apples, a mix of varieties is best
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 t. ground cinnamon

Put the chopped apples into the slow cooker and pour in the apple cider. Turn the slow cooker to high and put the lid on.

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After two hours the house will smell amazing and you will have a lovely applesauce.

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After four hours it will keep cooking down and getting darker. You can see how mine has reduced by over half, but that will depend on your slow cooker, they all seem to cook a little differently.

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Stir in the cinnamon at six hours. After eight hours it should be really thick and dark. You should see very little liquid when you stir. I spooned it into a metal pan to cool it down quickly.

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Store the apple butter in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within a week. A magical thing happens when apple butter meets homemade bread and butter, toasted or untoasted.

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Three years ago: Basic Bread
Two years ago: Malakoff Torte
One year ago: Chocolate Oatmeal Caramel Bars

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appledumpling13_little-house-dunes

by Heather Harris Brady

There may be times in life when you want something fancier than pie, when you want to give your inner Martha Stewart free rein in all its place-card-and-individual-dessert glory. Apple dumplings are for those times – humble enough to seem homey yet, if you seek out antique apples and make your own caramel sauce, there is plenty of opportunity for pretension. I kid, I love Martha, without her lots of people probably would never have discovered their love of hand-rolled beeswax.

Regardless, apple dumplings are basically self-contained apple pies, and very cute to boot. They would make a great fall brunch/dinner party dessert or something to wow people with at Thanksgiving. You can serve them with a caramel sauce like I did, or a scoop of ice cream. Even with small apples they are rather large, so if you aren’t feeding a table of pie-lovers and teenage boys, you might want to slice them in half and serve them that way.

Apple Dumplings, Makes five large servings

  • 1/2 recipe pie crust (under Basics, above)
  • 1 c. 1-2-3-4 streusel (under Basics, above)
  • Five well-shaped baking apples
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • One egg
  • 2 T. water

Fill a mixing bowl with water and add the lemon juice. Peel your apples and cut them in half, remove the cores with a melon baller or metal measuring spoon.

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Drop them into the acidulated water, core down. When they are all prepared set them aside.

Preheat the oven to 375. Divide your crust into five equal portions. Roll out the first portion.

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Pick two matching apple halves out of the bowl and pack a tablespoon of streusel into one center, then fit the other apple half over it so the apple is back together again.

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Set it on the pastry and fold the sides up over it.

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You’ll have a little gob in the center of extra dough you need to trim off. You can roll it back out and cut out a couple leaves for decoration if you like.

When the apples are all wrapped up place them on a baking sheet.

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Whip the egg and the water together to make an egg wash. Paint it over all the dumplings. It will help seal any cracks in the pastry as they bake.

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Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. My oven went psycho and switched itself to broil in the middle of baking, so I apologize for the scorching.

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Serve the dumplings warm or at room temperature.

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Three years ago: Weeknight Lasagne
Two years ago: Chocolate Almond Torte
One year ago: Brioche Coffeecake

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