BAKED APPLE DUMPLINGS WITH CHERRY BUTTER AND APPLE BRANDY SAUCE

From Food & Wine Magazine, November 2001.

Ingredients:
CHERRY BUTTER:
1/2 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup hot water
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar

PASTRY SQUARES:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 sticks (3/4 pound) butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup ice water

APPLE BRANDY SAUCE
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons apple brandy


PASTRY SQUARES:

1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add 1 1/2 sticks of butter cut in small pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas. Transfer mixture to a bowl, add the water and stir just until a dough forms. Knead together several times just until the pastry comes together. Form into 3 disks and refrigerate until chilled.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll each disk out to a 12-inch by 13-inch swuare, 1/8-inch thick. Trim the pastry to even 12-inch squares, then cut each square into quarters, forming four 6-inch squares. Make a cut in each corner of each pastry square, extending halfway to the center. Reroll the pastry scraps. Using a leaf-shaped cookie cutter, stamp out 12 large pastry leaves for decoration. Score the leaves decoratively. (Make ahead: the pastry squares and leaves can be stacked between sheets of wax paper and refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)

CHERRY BUTTER:

IN a small bowl, soak the dried cherries in the hot water until plumped, about 20 minutes. Drain the cherries and squeeze dry. In a mini food processor, pulse the cherrieswith the butter and light brown sugar until finely chopped. Scrape the cherry butter into a small bowl and refrigerate until the butter is slightly firm.

DUMPLINGS:

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a melon baller, scoop out the core of each apple half. FIll the cores with the cherry butter.

2. Working with 4 at a time, lightly brush the Pastry Squares with water. For each dumpling, set an apple half, cut side down, in the center of a square. Bring the corners of the pastry up and over the apple, overlapping them, press lightly to seal. Transfer the dumplings to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the pastry leaves with water and press 1 onto the top of each dumpling.

3. Brush the dumplings with the egg wash. Mix the granulated sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle 1 teaspoon over each dumpling. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the apples are tender. Serve with Apple Brandy Sauce.

APPLE BRANDY SAUCE:

In a medium bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar and beat at low speed until blended. Add the brandy and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Serve at room temperature. (Make ahead: Apple brandy sauce an be kept at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerated for 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

Serves 12



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