I’m 15 pages into Larry McMurtry’s epic masterpiece “Lonesome Dove”. So far so good, except for the little time I have to read. At this rate, I may finish all 843 pages in 6 months, maybe longer. I may need to hold off on this one until winter when I have no choice but to hunker down on the weekends and read. I may have to go with the audio book here. I’m also 3 pages into Thomas McGuane’s short story “Motherlode” (published in The New Yorker, September 8, 2014) which echoes Cormac McCarthy and the Coen Brothers. The speed is swift and the twists, so far, unexpected. If you’ve read either or a have a good (and hopefully short) book to recommend, let me know!
I taught a cooking class last night on homemade dumplings, four savory recipes including sweet potato gnocchi, chickpea four dumplings, pierogi, and parsley dumplings, and one sweet apple dumpling recipe. So much prep work goes into each class. From recipe creation to proofing dough. I haven’t been posting as many of the recipes here, but will try to post them more often. For the apple dumplings I made a second gluten-free version that turned out to be my favorite. After I came home, I finished some work, noted changes I made for the gluten-free dumplings, then tried to read but passed out instead. Today, we’re celebrating the little one’s first birthday. I may stick a candle in one of these dumpling pies for him. After one bite, he’s a dumpling pie fan.
Apple-Cherry Dumpling Pies (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
makes 6 dumpling pies
For the dumpling dough:
1 ¼ cups gluten-free all-purpose baking mix (I used Arrowhead Mills, you can use your favorite brand or homemade blend)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ tablespoons natural cane sugar
8 tablespoons coconut butter (solidified coconut oil)
8 tablespoons ice cold almond milk
½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
For the apple filling:
3 apples (about 1 ½ pounds), peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ cup packed turbinado sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
½ cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup (½ stick) vegan butter, softened
To make the dumpling dough: In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut half the coconut butter into the gluten-free flour mixture with a pastry blender or work it lightly with the tips of your fingers until it has the consistency of cornmeal. Cut the remaining half into the dough until it is pea-sized.
In a cup, mix together the ice cold almond milk with the apple cider vinegar. Drizzle the almond milk and vinegar mixture into the flour by the tablespoonful, gently mixing it after each addition. Knead the dough a few times, adding more of the almond milk mixture until it holds together. (Gluten-free pastry tends to be crumbly; use a bench scraper to gather the dough as you roll and shape the pastry.) Roll the dough into a ball, then press it into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough at least 20 minutes before rolling out for the dumplings.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
To make the apple filling: Mix the brown sugar, dried cherries, cinnamon, and salt together with a fork in a small bowl. Add the vegan butter and mix well. Stir the chopped apples into the sugar mixture.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the dough disk into 6 wedges (first cut the circle in half, then cut each half into thirds). On a lightly floured surface, shape each dough wedge into a ball, flatten with your hand, then roll each one into a 7-inch square.
Spoon 2 tablespoons or so of the apple filling in the middle of each square. To shape the dumplings, bring the 4 corners of the dough up and around the apple and pinch the corners and edges of the dough together, use a bench scrape or your hands to gather the dough and hold it in place. Prick the top of each pastry several times with a fork to allow steam to escape. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the dumpling pies with turbinado sugar. Bake the dumpling pies for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven to 350F. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden. Let the pies cool to the touch before serving.