We love comfort food in all shapes and sizes.. but for me a true comfort food has to be warm and include something creamy. It wasn't till I first met my husband that I had ever had the pleasure of enjoying an apple dumpling. We used to go to this wonderful little bakery in Belmont Shore, Long Beach and indulge in the most wonderful sweet treats. This is where I first had my dumpling. But to be honest with you, it still didn't give me that warm comfortable feeling that I got when I had hot peach or apple pie ala mode. So this is where the Crème Anglaise comes in. If you have never had apple dumplings with a warm crème anglaise sauce you have never really enjoyed apple dumplings the way you should! :)
This is a perfect fall dessert and dressed up in this custard sauce it makes quite an elegant holiday presentation!
Apple Dumpling Ingredients
2 cups water
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
1/3 to 1/2 cup half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 small cooking apples (about 1-1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1. For sauce, in a medium saucepan combine the water, the 1-1/4 cups sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, for pastry, combine the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the half-and-half, light cream, or milk over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon of the cream or milk at a time, until all of the dough is moistened. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to an 18x12-inch rectangle.* Using a pastry wheel or sharp knife, cut into six 6-inch squares.
3. In a small mixing bowl combine the walnuts, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons white sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
4. Peel and core the apples. Place an apple on each pastry square. Fill centers of apples with walnut mixture. Drizzle sauce over apples. Moisten edges of each pastry square with water; fold corners to center over apple. Pinch to seal. Place dumplings in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Bake in a 365 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender and pastry is golden brown.
Crème Anglaise Ingredients
2 cups light cream or half and half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (can be found specialty food stores) or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
5 large egg yolks
*Have a fine medium-sized strainer and bowl ready near the stove.
In a stainless steel bowl stir together, using a wooden spoon, the sugar and yolks until well blended. (Do not let this mixture sit too long or a film will develop on the yolks.)
In a small saucepan heat the cream and vanilla bean (if using) just to the boiling point. Remove from heat and whisk a few tablespoons of the cream into the yolk mixture. Then, gradually add the remaining cream, whisking constantly.
Pour this mixture into a medium sized saucepan and, over medium heat, gently heat the mixture to just below the boiling point (170 - 175 degrees F). You will notice that steam will begin to appear and the mixture will be slightly thicker than heavy cream. Do not boil or the eggs will curdle! Check to see if it is the right consistency by holding a wooden spoon sideways that is covered with the custard and run your finger along the back of the spoon. If the streak remains without the cream running down through the streak, it is ready.
Immediately remove from the heat and pour through the strainer, scraping up any thickened cream that settles on the bottom of the pan. Remove the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the sauce. Stir until seeds separate. For maximum flavor, return the pod to the sauce until serving time. (If you are using pure vanilla extract, instead of the vanilla bean, add it to the cream now.)
The crème anglaise can be refrigerated covered with plastic wrap for a couple of days.
Note: If sauce was overheated and curdling occurs, pour instantly into a blender and process until smooth before straining. If necessary, add a little heavy cream to the mixture before blending.
Makes about 2 cups .
To serve, spoon Creme Anglaise in bowls. Place a dumpling in each. Use reserved sauce for drizzling over dumplings. Makes 6 servings.