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Tender pastry wrapped around half an apple stuffed with a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, butter and cranberries on a plate with a scoop of ice cream.

Apple Dumplings Stuffed With Brown Sugar Cranberry Butter

Share Apple Dumplings Stuffed With Brown Sugar Cranberry Butter warm right out of the oven with vanilla bean ice cream or your favorite caramel sauce. Make ahead for ultimate ease! vegetarian  The recipe is written for four servings. Double it for eight! *Time below does not include time to make the dough or rest the pastry. 
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes
Servings 4 or 8 Dumplings
Calories 408kcal
Author Traci York | Vanilla And Bean


Recipe as written for four servings:

    For the Pastry:

    For the Cranberry Butter:

    • 1/4 C (30g) Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (a heaping 1/4C)
    • 3 Tbs Unsweetened Butter at room temperature, or non dairy butter for vegan option
    • 3 Tbs Dark Brown Sugar
    • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon ground

    For the Dumplings:

    • 3 Tbs Cane Sugar
    • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon ground
    • 2 Apples your favorite, medium, about 7oz each (188g)
    • 1 Egg for egg wash or nut milk for vegan option


    • For the Pastry:
      After chilling the pastry for at least two hours, allow it to rest at room temperature for about 1/2 an hour before working the dough. This will make it easier to work with. Flour a work surface, rolling pin and top of the pastry throughly. Take a rolling pin and beat the dough to make the dough flatter. Begin to roll out the dough keeping it in the shape of a rectangle as much as possible (use a bench scraper to help keep your lines neat) reflouring the work surface, dough and pin as needed or it will stick. If you have time and patience for a few "folds" (to build some extra layers for flakier crust) see notes**. Otherwise press on. Roll into about a 13"x14" (32cm x 36") rectangle at about 1/8" (3mm) thick.   You'll need four 6"x6" (15cm x 15 cm) pieces of pastry to wrap each half of apple. Use a pasty wheel to trim the dough, keeping as much as the trim in tact to make decorative leaves. If you need to gather and reroll the scraps to do this, that is okay. Use leaf cookie cutters and/or a knife to cut the leaves into shape. 
      Set the four squares and leaves aside - at room temperature - on a flat surface. 
      Make ahead tip: At this point the squares and leaves can be refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to two weeks. Layer the pieces between parchment paper, lay on a flat surface, wrap and refrigerate or freeze. When ready to use frozen dough, thaw out overnight in the refrigerator - on a flat surface - and use as needed, making sure to bring it up to room temperature prior to wrapping the apples or the pastry will crack and break. 

    For the Cranberry Butter:

    • To the bowl of a food processor, add the cranberries, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Pulse five or six times until a crumbly, sticky mixture is formed. Set aside. Make ahead tip: the cranberry butter can be made at least two days in advance. Bring it up to room temperature and give it a stir before stuffing the apples. (Leftovers can be smeared on toast, biscuits, scones... waffles (!!) you get the idea!).

    Make the Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:

    • In a small bowl mix the cane sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. 

    To Assemble:

    • Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper. Make space in the refrigerator so that the pan can fit to chill the little dumplings when your ready. Set aside. 
    • Have ready a small dish of tap water. Peel and slice the apples in half, lengthwise. Trim the stems. Core the apple using a melon baller or a small cookie scoop making a pocket large enough to fit 2-2 1/5 tsp of cranberry butter into each apple. To test to see if the apples will fit inside the pastry, do a dry fit before adding the cranberry butter to the pastry.
      Scoop three tsp of cranberry butter and stuff it into the center of the apple. It's okay if it doesn't all fit, just smear a bit over the bottom, but use 3 tsp per apple! Pack it in the best you can. Set apple, core side down onto center of a pastry square. 
      Sprinkle the back of the apple with 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon sugar mixture. It's okay if it falls down and around on the pastry. 
      Pull one corner up onto the back of the apple in the center and place a touch of water on that top corner. Pull the opposite corner to meet the first corner and gently press to 'glue' the two together. Place another dab of water on the top corner. Pull the third corner up to meet the second, with another dab of water, then pull the final corner up and gently press.
      If you made leaf cutouts, now's the time to add them. Put a dab of water where ever you want to 'glue' the leaves and gently shape/press (bending the leaves a bit makes them pretty). 
      Carefully, using a spatula, transfer the dumplings to the prepared sheet pan and place in refrigerator  (uncovered is fine for a short period) for at least thirty minutes.
    • Preheat the oven to 400F (204C) setting an oven rack in the center. Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk throughly with two Tbs water. 
      Make ahead tip: The dumplings can be assembled, covered and placed in the refrigerator up several hours in advance (I've refrigerated for as long as two hours with good results). 
    • When ready to bake, use a pastry brush to throughly egg wash the dumplings (nutmilk for vegan option). Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
      Bake for 20-23 minutes, rotating the pan once while baking. The pastry will be golden (maybe a few darker edges) when ready. Set for at least 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.
      Serve with bourbon vanilla bean ice cream or your favorite brand of ice cream while still warm. Caramel sauce is fabulous too! 
    • To Store: Store at room temperature for up to three days.
      To Reheat: 350F (180C) for about 12-15 minutes. 


    *To make the pastry vegan, use my Coconut Oil Pie Crust recipe, enough for one disk, sub the butter for vegan butter and sub the egg with nut milk. Follow the recipe as written.
    **For Extra Flakey Crust: For this extra step, you'll need to make sure you keep your work surface, dough and pin well floured. Use flour as necessary to prohibit sticking. After beating the dough with the pin, roll the dough out into a rough rectangle about 7-8" long. Fold the dough, letter style, and use the bench scraper to gently nudge the edges to make sure the dough maintains somewhat of a rectangle. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out again to a 7-8" long rectangle - keep those edges neat now (use the bench scraper to do this). Do a second "fold", letter style. Use the bench scraper to tidy the edges by pushing them into shape. Now you're ready to roll the dough into a 13x14" rectangle for cutting the individual pastry squares. Continue with the recipe above. 


    Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 269mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 375IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1.5mg