Apple Dumplings

Our most adventurous recipe so far has been boiled apple dumplings.  We started with Hannah Glasse’s recipe and modified it for individual apples, which works well.  Unless you have made apple dumplings before, we suggest you read the Hannah Glasse original instructions as well as our instructions prior to beginning this recipe.

To Make Apple Dumplings

Make a good puff-paste, pare some large apples, cut them in quarters, and take out the cores very nicely; take a piece of crust, and roll it round enough for one apple; if they are big, they will not look pretty; so roll the crust round each apple, and make them round like a ball, with a little flour in your hand; have a pot of water boiling, take a clean cloth, dip it in the water and shake flour over it; tie each dumpling by itself, and put them in the water boiling, which keep boiling all the time; and if your crust is light and good, and the apples not too large, half an hour will boil them; but if the apples be large, they will take an hour’s boiling; when they are enough, take them up and lay them in a dish; throw fine sugar all over them, and send them to table; have good fresh butter melted in a cup, and fine beaten sugar in a saucer.

The Art of Cookery Made Plain & Easy, Hannah Glasse, 1747 & 1796.


  • Tart apples, four fit into a kettle
  • Grandmother Nora’s pie crust
  • Cinnamon and sugar mix
  • Four pieces of cloth, large enough to wrap around apples
  • String
  • Flour for cloth
  • Melted butter, honey with cinnamon for topping


Peal and core apples. Fill the core with cinnamon and sugar. Prepare Grandmother Nora’s pie crust recipe and roll out the dough 3/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into 4 strips, one for each apple. Mold and shape the crust evenly around each filled apple so that the dumpling is sealed shut with dough.

Next prepare the apples one at a time for the kettle.

For each apple, take a piece of cotton or linen which is large enough to wrap around the dumpling and dip the cloth into the boiling water, then flour the cloth. The flour creates a barrier around the apple and helps to seal in the flavor when the dumpling cooks. Wrap the floured cloth securely around each apple and tie it off tightly with strong kitchen twine.

Flouring the wet cloth was easier when we laid the cloth flat on the table, poured a bit of flour along one side and then picked that side up and let the flour shimmy and cover the center of the cloth where the dumpling would be placed.

Using a loop of kitchen twine, suspend the apples from sturdy sticks or fireplace pokers in boiling water. Keep the water boiling.

The dumplings should cook in about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the apples. Remove dumplings from the pot, cut open the tie and place on a plate to cool.   

We topped our dumplings with melted butter and then drizzled cinnamon and honey on them.

Recommended Reading

Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy: the Revolutionary 1805 Classic. Dover Publications, 2015.

Kay Moss and Kathryn Hoffman. The Backcountry Housewife. 18th Century Backcountry Lifeways Studies Program, Schiele Museum, 2001. Good discussion of various dumplings.