Dumplings with medjool dates and maple sauce

Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8
Dumplings with medjool dates and maple sauce

Date butter


Combine the dates, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a food processor or mixer. Process until smooth. Remove the date butter to a small bowl and refrigerate until somewhat firm.

Pastry dough


Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to mix. Add the cold butter all at once and pulse a few times until the butter and flour form crumbs. Start adding ice water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing each time. Use as much water as needed for the dough to hold together when a clump is gently pressed between your fingers. The dough will be quite loose in the processor. Dump the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Gather the dough together using the plastic wrap and force it into a flattened round. Chill the dough an hour or longer before rolling out.

Apple dumplings


Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Set out a small bowl of water and a pastry brush. Divide the pastry dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half the dough about 1/8-inch thick into a rough square shape. Trim the dough to make a 12-inch square; set the trimmings aside. Cut the square into 4 (6-inch) squares. Take each square and make a cut from each corner halfway to the center of the square. Repeat with the second half of the dough. You will have 8 (6-inch) squares.


Use a melon baller to remove the core of each apple half. Fill the cavity of each apple half with a mound of the date butter. Place each apple half, core side down, on the center of a dough square. Brush the corners of the dough lightly with water. Fold each corner into the center and press together to seal. Place the dumplings on a parchment-lined baking sheet.


Reroll the pastry trimmings, if you’d like, and cut out 8 leaves using a small knife or cutter. Place one on each dumpling, fixing it on with a brush dipped in a little water.


Beat the egg yolk lightly with the cream. Brush each dumpling with egg wash. In another small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle 1 or 2 teaspoons on each dumpling. Bake the dumplings until the pastry is golden and the apples feel tender when pierced with a knife, about 25 minutes; rotate the baking sheet halfway through. Place the dumplings on plates and spoon warm maple sauce over and around them.

Maple sauce


Bring the water and cinnamon stick to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat.


Combine the brown sugar and the cornstarch in a small bowl and add to the boiling water. Lower the heat and simmer, whisking occasionally until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the syrup and butter, stirring until the butter melts. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving. Serve warm.

From “Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen (William Morrow, 2000).

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