A is for Apple: Dumplings, Butter & Sauce!

I was in the mood for apple dumplings so I made a batch. It was the perfect fall day for making apple butter and applesauce, too. 

Judy M., a longtime reader, loves the apple butter from Nashville House in Nashville, Indiana. “My sisters and I want to get together and make apple butter and we’re looking for that recipe,” Judy said. She has great memories of going there as a family and eating fried biscuits with apple better.  I called Nashville House and they don’t give out recipes, so I’m sharing one I like and which, I hope, comes close to what Judy wants. 

Apple Dumplings with Cinnamon Syrup

Ingredients for dumplings

1 double pie crust recipe

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

8 small to medium baking apples, peeled and cored (I love Granny Smith or Jonathan)

8 teaspoons butter


Preheat oven to 375. 

Mix sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

Divide crust into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each in shape of square about 6-8”. 

Place 1 peeled and cored apple in center of each square.

Fill cavity with some sugar/cinnamon mixture. Dot with 1 teaspoon butter.

Bring one corner of pastry up over top of apple.

Take opposite corner and overlap it over first one.

Moisten to seal edges.
Repeat with last two corners of pastry and moisten to seal last two corners.

Place dumplings in sprayed baking dish.

Pour syrup over (recipe follows) and bake 40-60 minutes until golden and apple is soft when fork is pressed into dumpling.

Ingredients for syrup

1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 cups cool water

1-1/2 cups sugar or less to taste

3 tablespoons lemon juice 

Cinnamon to taste — start with 1 nice teaspoon


Whisk cornstarch into water. Put all ingredients in pan and cook on low until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to thicken.

Pour over dumplings. Proceed with baking.

Apple Butter

You can make this without any sugar or a substitute, but the real deal contains sugar. Use a big pot since butter sputters as it cooks.


6 pounds or so apples (anything but red delicious — a combo of tart and sweet is good), quartered and left unpeeled. 

2 cups apple cider

Sugar to taste — start with 2 cups or so and go from there

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 


Cook apples in cider until tender. 

Press through sieve or food mill.

Measure out pulp — you’ll have about 3 quarts.

Cook on low, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until it rounds up in a spoon.

Add sugar and spices and continue to cook slowly, stirring frequently, until very thick. Taste and adjust sugar and spices if necessary. 

Pour into jars, let cool to room temperature, cap, then refrigerate up to 2 months or freeze up to 6 months. 

Yield: about 6 cups.

To process in water bath: Process hot, sealed pint jars 10 minutes boiling water bath. Remove, let cool to room temperature before storing in pantry. Check for seals – if the lid pops up when you press with a finger, it’s not sealed so just store in refrigerator.

Homemade Applesauce

No real recipe, but here’s how I do it:

Wash, pare and core about 6 pounds of apples. Cook, covered, on low, in a small amount of apple cider or water until tender. Be careful and stir frequently to prevent sticking.

Press through sieve or food mill. Sweeten to taste with sugar and cinnamon. Now you can put in jars and store in refrigerator up to 2 months or freeze up to 6 months.

To process in boiling water bath, process hot, sealed pint jars 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Remove, let cool to room temperature before storing in pantry. Check for seals – if the lid pops up when you press with a finger, it’s not sealed so just store in refrigerator.

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