Last weekend Geoffrey and I picked all of the apples and pears at our little farm orchard. All I could think about was apple dumplings. Some people have visions of sugar plums. I dream of apple dumplings.  Apple dumplings are pastry wrapped baked apples. They are perfect for using up apples that don’t shine up all prim and purty…which was basically nearly all of ours this year.

I suppose it is fairly safe to say that cooking has officially consumed me. I am sure this has come as quite a shock to those who knew me B.F. (before farm)…aka, the incessant diner-outer who was better known for raiding craft services tables on production than crafting her own cider.  I categorically cherished good food; as long as someone else was preparing it. This evolution has been most surprising to me, but as I’ve come to realize, knowing how to cook and bake is absolutely essential to farm living. There is really no other option. We simply do not have the convenience of time or location to eat outside of our kitchen on a regular basis  ever. What we have is the space and potential to grow and prepare most of our own food. And so, this is what we endeavour to do. {However, a dirty dinner at The Spotted Pig wouldn’t go astray}

Still, there can be clashes in the kitchen. For instance, pastry is persnickety. Dough in general. There is a science to it. When you do it right, it can be very rewarding. But, sometimes that reward doesn’t come as often as I’d like. Generally, there are only three ingredients. It should be easy. Though mostly it’s not. The pastry I used for these apple dumplings is the same one my mother-in-law uses for her apple tart. There is egg in it. If the temperature isn’t right, it falls apart and you stand there weeping into it. (alternatively, you can scream and bang the rolling pin onto countertop until dough flies everywhere. Satisfying, but cows will think you are crazy + there’s more mess to clean up)  It is imperative that you turn the disc of pastry round and round while you are rolling it or the edges crack and badda-bing, you’re done. One day, I shall master pastry….like the little blue choo that could….maybe it will be that chicken pot pie or perhaps a daring mille-feuille, but I will get there, promise.

Peggy’s buttery sweet pastry is perfection baked around an apple sprinkled with some autumn spices. It’s well worth the meltdown effort. And, having fresh honey and milk on hand to churn scoops of beautiful burnt honey ice cream doesn’t hurt either…

Irish Apple Dumplings

Peggy’s pastry

Juice from one lemon

6 medium cooking apples (Bramley’s work well)

55g or 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

50g or 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cloves

Pinch kosher salt

30g or 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and roll into a large rectangle or square, about 1/8-inch thick.

Cut a piece of parchment paper into a 6-inch square. Using the parchment paper as a guide, cut out 6 total squares from the dough, gathering scraps and re-rolling as needed. Layer the dough on pieces of parchment paper and refrigerate while preparing the apples.

Preheat the oven to 230c/450f°.

Add the lemon juice to a bowl of ice water. Peel and core each apple and place in the lemon water to prevent browning.

To make the filling, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bottom of a square of dough with sugar mixture. Place an apple in the center of dough. Put one pat of butter in the core of the apple and sprinkle additional sugar mixture inside. Bring the four corners of dough up around the apple, pinching the edges to seal and folding over excess if necessary. Continue with all of the apples.

Arrange the apple dumplings in a baking dish, leaving about 1-inch of space between each apple. Bake until the crust begins to turn golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Burnt Honey Ice Cream

125ml or ½ cup honey

1 tsp cinnamon

500ml or 2 cups milk

250ml or 1 cup double (heavy) cream

Cook honey and cinnamon in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until dark coloured and smoking. Add 2 tbsp cold water and remove from heat immediately.

Heat milk and cream in a separate saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Gradually whisk in burnt honey + cinnamon and stir over low heat until mixture is combined. Do not boil. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and cool (overnight in refrigerator is ideal). Freeze mixture in an ice-cream machine and then place in freezer for 2-3 hours before serving. 

Happy Autumn.

Slan Abhaile,


Photos by Imen McDonnell 2012


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13 Responses to “Bramley Apple Dumplins’”

  1. Nancy says:

    Hello! I randomly stumbled upon your blog and had to try to make the burnt honey ice cream. I followed your instructions and when i poured everything into my ice cream maker nothing happened even after 20 minutes of mixing. It stayed a liquid. Do you have any tips/suggestions?? Thank you!!

  2. […] few days ago I saw these apple dumplings, had a brief cardiac event, and decided they were something I absolutely had to try.  Having some […]

  3. […] {farmette} ~ This is the most recent blog I have started following, I cannot believe it took me so long to find it! PAcked with amazing recipes and an engaging attitude, she’s won me over! Cannot wait to try Bramley Apple Dumplins’! […]

  4. Sandy says:

    I discovered the blog a few weeks ago and I’ve been hooked ever since – I love the photography, the recipes and most of all, your story. Last night I finally got around to trying a recipe and I started with this one. I’d say I got it about 50% right, but he who I was trying to impress gave it 100% so that’s a combined 75% there. Not a bad start!

  5. The photos are beautiful and the recipe is delicious

  6. Tonette says:

    I just love your blog.It took me some time before I explored the Irish side of the family and it has made all the difference in my life. I am glad you found the joys in cooking and baking; it is so rewarding when it comes out right;you touch people in so many of their senses; taste, sight, smell, feel.When it doesn’t come out, well, you know….the cows think your crazy! (I never tire of that; please keep that .) Best wishes to you.

  7. Mairead says:

    I love your photo of the butter with the flour. There is something so eye catching about those yellow cubes of creamy goodness behind the whiteness of the flour and white background. Gorgeous shot! And thanks again for another fabulous recipe.

  8. Freddi says:

    I have had alot of troubles with pastry too recently, I love the fact it is a science you must master, but is very stress inducing. I would love to see what your farm looks like, it is my dream to live on farm, and I love your blog, keep going 🙂

    The Petit kitchen

  9. Brad says:

    What’s at the bottom there. Are they just little pastry cases (with the icecream)?

  10. I love literally everything about this, from the crust, to the apples, to the burnt honey (!) ice cream. I WILL be making this – and trying your mother-in-law’s pastry recipe. I’ll try not to weep too hard if I screw it up (as I have been known to do….) Thanks so much for the great idea.

  11. J says:

    Love all thing apple and this is one for my baking list….sounds and looks yum

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