In the heart of the pioneer’s rugged world, where simplicity met resourcefulness, emerged a culinary gem that warmed hearths and satisfied souls – the Apple Dumplings. Passed down through generations, this recipe embodies the spirit of those early days, when ingredients were basic, and the touch of a masterful cook turned them into rustic delights. So, don your apron and step back in time as we recreate the Pioneer Woman’s Apple Dumplings.


For the Pastry:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 5-6 tablespoons cold water

For the Filling:

  • 4 medium-sized tart apples, peeled and cored
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt

Step by Step Instructions

  1. Creating the Pastry

    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add in the shortening, and using a pastry cutter or your fingers, blend the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. This is where the magic begins; your hands working the dough, much like those pioneering hands shaped the land.

    Gradually add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, and gently mix until the dough just comes together. Don’t overwork it; we want those dumplings to have the tender embrace of a warm home. Divide the dough into four equal portions, wrap them in cling film, and let them rest in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

  2. Preparing the Apples

    Like the settlers who carefully selected their plots, choose apples that hold a tangy bite. Peel and core the apples, creating a hollow where the buttery treasure will soon reside. Place a piece of butter in each hollow, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. It’s a sweet secret, waiting to be unlocked by each fortunate forkful.

  3. Crafting the Dumplings

    Roll out each dough portion into a rough circle – no need for perfection, just a rustic charm. Place an apple in the center of each dough circle. Gently fold the dough around the apple, sealing it like the bonds that held pioneer communities together. Place the wrapped apples in a baking dish, nestled closely but not crowded.

  4. The Saucy Finale

    In a saucepan, combine sugar, water, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Bring this to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. This sauce is a tribute to resourcefulness – making more out of less. Pour this liquid gold over the dumplings, infusing them with a sweet bath that mirrors the care with which pioneers shared their harvest.

  5. Baking to Golden Splendor

    Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Place the baking dish in the oven and let the dumplings bake for 35 to 40 minutes. As they bake, the dough will embrace the apples, and the scent will transport you to a simpler time when the warmth of the hearth was all one needed.


As you take these golden dumplings out of the oven, remember the pioneer spirit that birthed them. The imperfectly perfect pastry, the sweet surprise inside, the saucy reminiscence of days gone by – it’s all there in each bite. Share these dumplings with loved ones, and let the taste of history linger on your palate. The Pioneer Woman’s Apple Dumplings: a culinary journey that celebrates simplicity, resourcefulness, and the art of turning basic into extraordinary.

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