The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, my first cookbook, turns 10 in a few weeks, and inside it is what I call one of the best summer desserts ever, peach dumplings with bourbon hard sauce . It was a whisper that happened one morning before dawn when my then-baby (and, 11 days ago, a bar mitzvah) woke up early and had no interest in going back to sleep and my mind drifted, as It does, for the things I want to cook.

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The peach fritters were modeled on old-fashioned apple fritters and I’m not sure why it took me so long to reverse the process for fall, but now that I have, I don’t want to bake anything else. I am totally infatuated with these perfect packets of apple pie. Everything I loved about peach dumplings is true here as well: The crust, free of the heavy filling, stretches and flexes like puff pastry. When you bite into each, a dollop of buttery brown sugar caramel fills your plate. And the best part of it really is the mess—bits of spiced ripe fruit, buttery layers of dough, a seething puddle of juice. And do you like a splash of whiskey with your apple desserts, then you’re going to drown it in sauce, melting on the sides. Please make them soon. You’ll be so glad you did.

apple dumplings,


I didn’t mean to disappear on you or the newsletter. As you can guess, I was thrown off by that aforementioned Bar Mitzvah [“what’s a Bar Mitzvah?“] And the 13th birthday – which seems impossible since he was just born, doesn’t it? – And some other exciting stuff. Smoked Kitchen Keepers, my third cookbook, will be out in 48 days and a week earlier than originally planned. We’re working on putting together the final details for the Fall 2022 Book Tour – I’ll have everything for you next Thursday, 10/6. I might as well have another new recipe before this, because I was behind on posting, not cooking, hooray. Have I covered everything? I probably forgot something so far down in the comments!

Apple Dumplings

    • 2 1/2 cups (325 g) all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) fine sea or table salt
    • 1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, very cold
    • about 1/2 cup cold water
to fill
    • 3 large apples (about 3″ across), any kind of apple you like to bake
    • half a lemon
    • 1/2 cup (110 g) light or dark brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • a few pieces of fresh nutmeg, or a few pinches ground
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 tablespoon (15 g) butter, cut into 6 pieces, chilled
    • 1 large egg for the glaze
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce or 30 grams) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whiskey, milk, or lemon juice
  • a dash of vanilla extract (optional)
Make Crust:

    • by hand Mix flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Mix the butter into the flour with your fingers or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal and the largest pieces of butter are the size of a small pea. (Some people like to do this by freezing a stick of butter and grinding it into flour, but I don’t find the results as flaky.) Add cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible silicone spatula until large clumps form. . Use your hands just under the bowl to knead the dough. You can add another tablespoon of water if needed to bring the dough together.
    • With Food Processor: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and pulse machine until mixture resembles a coarse meal and largest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. Take out the mixture in a mixing bowl. Add cold water and stir with a spoon or flexible spatula until large clumps form. Use your hands just under the bowl to knead the dough. You can add the last tablespoon of water if necessary to bring the dough together.
    • both ways: Wrap the dough in a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 48 hours, or you can harden it quickly in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. For no longer than 2 days, it’s best to freeze it until needed.

Preheat Your Oven: up to 375°F

Assemble dumplings: Peel your apple and cut it in half. Use the large side of a melon baller if you have one, or a slotted measuring spoon to scoop out the core from each half. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the apples. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Place a tablespoon of the mixture in the scooped-out center of each apple half. Dot the top of each with a piece of cold butter.

On a well-floured counter, roll out your dough into a 12-by-18-inch rectangle and divide into six 6-inch squares. If it becomes too soft or warm when you roll it out, continue with the square shape, but then transfer the squares to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill them in the freezer for a few minutes, until they are semi-set. Don’t be firm again.

Cut a stuffed apple in half, side-up, in the center of each dough square. Bring the corners up to meet each other over the center—if it feels tight, or as if you’re creasing the dough, make sure the bottom dough is flowing along the curve of the apple; It holds too much looseness – and seals the seams together when pinched with your fingers.

Bake dumplings: Arrange dumplings in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Beat an egg with a tablespoon of water to make a glaze. Brush glaze over top and open edges of dumplings. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and bronzed on top.

To Finish and Serve: While dumplings are baking, beat together butter, powdered sugar, and whiskey, lemon juice, or milk with vanilla until smooth. When the dumplings come out of the oven, douse each with a generous tablespoon of sauce, which will melt over the sides. Serve immediately.

Hi, I’m Foods LoVeR

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