Hereford apple dumplings are a classic British dessert from Herefordshire, England. They consist of apples wrapped in flaky pastry and traditionally stuffed with raisins, marmalade, and orange zest. 🍏 Herefordshire is a West Midland county renowned for its production of apples and cider, so it is not surprising that this delicious dessert would originate here.
I really like the elegant simplicity of these dumplings. The pastry leaf and stem add a little style, while the soft apple stuffed with sweet dried fruit is nestled inside of the crisp, flaky pastry. To top it all off, a generous drizzle of homemade caramel sauce makes them a perfect dessert for a chilly October evening! 🌬
I first spotted a recipe for these delicious dumplings in Paul Hollywood’s British Baking book. 👌 He changes up the filling by using butter, dried apricots, dried cranberries, and stem ginger instead of the traditional marmalade and raisins. I’ve opted for a mix of the traditional filling and Paul’s changes, plus some of my own twists. I encourage you to make my version of this fall dessert. It is worth every glorious calorie!Print
A classic British dessert, Hereford apple dumplings, are stuffed with dried fruit and cinnamon. Serve them with a homemade caramel sauce for an extra special treat.
For the Flaky Pastry
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (300g)
- Pinch of fine salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (100g)
- 1/4 cup lard, chilled (50g)
- A few tablespoons of ice-cold water
For the Filling
- 1 heaping tablespoon candied ginger, chopped (15g)
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped (35g)
- rounded 1/4 cup dried cranberries (35g)
- 1/4 cup raisins (40g)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 medium tart baking apples, like Granny Smith
For the Assembly
- 4 teaspoons caster sugar, with some more for dusting (See notes for how to make your own.)
- Small dish of filtered water
- 1 beaten egg, for egg wash
Making the Pastry
- Stir together the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, then dump in the cold butter and lard. Rub the chilled butter and lard into the flour by pinching the globs of fat with your fingertips. Continue until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
- Gradually add the water and mix by hand until all the flour is picked up and a smooth pastry is formed. It should not be sticky.
- Turn out onto a clean work surface and gently knead the dough a few times with the palm of your hand. This step is called fraisage, which blends the fat and flour together. Be careful not to overwork the dough, though!
- Form the dough into a flat disc, score with an X to help it chill faster, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preparing the Filling
- While the pastry is chilling, finely chop the candied ginger and dried apricots. Combine with the dried cranberries, raisins, cinnamon, and honey in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Fill a medium mixing bowl with cold water and stir in the lemon juice.
- Peel the apples, then cut out the core with an apple corer. Be sure to cut a good sized hole, as the cavity will be stuffed with dried fruit later.
- Trim off the bottom of each apple so it sits flat on the work surface. Place the trimmed apples in the bowl of water until needed.
Assembling the Dumplings
- Line a 9×13″ cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Divide the chilled pastry into 4 equal pieces, using a kitchen scale for accuracy.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of pastry until it is just big enough to encase an apple. Sprinkle each pastry round with 1 teaspoon of caster sugar.
- Dry off the outside and inside of an apple with paper towel and set it trimmed-end up on a pastry circle. Stuff the cavity tightly with the dried fruit filling.
- Fold the pastry securely around the apple, trimming off any excess with a sharp paring knife. Brush the edges with a damp pastry brush and press to seal.
- Flip the pastry wrapped apple upside down to hide the seam. Pat the pastry smooth with your hands. Place on the prepared cookie sheet.
- Cut out a leaf from the pastry scraps and draw veins on it with a sharp paring knife. Brush the back of it with a damp pastry brush and stick it on the apple. Do the same for a stem, and cut a couple small vent holes in the top of the apple’s pastry.
- Repeat steps 4-7 for the remaining apples, then brush all the dumplings with beaten egg. Sprinkle some caster sugar over each dumpling.
Baking the Dumplings
- Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes, then bake at 350 F for about 30-35 minutes more. The pastry should now be a pale golden brown.
- Serve fresh and warm, with homemade caramel sauce or vanilla ice cream. Mom likes hers with both. (Yum!) The British serve theirs with custard or cream.
- Caster sugar is easy to make using a blender. Just blend granulated sugar in your blender until it is fine. Store extra in an airtight container.
- Don’t be upset if the pastry cracks in the oven. It’s part of the rustic charm of these apple dumplings.