2cupsall-purpose flourplus another 1/2 cup or so for sprinkling on the counter and your rolling pin
¾cupsolid shorteningchilled, I use Crisco
½cupmilkI use whole milk
I like to make my pastry first so it can be chilling while I prepare the apples.
To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt, and chilled shorting in a medium-size bowl. Use a pastry blender or two forks and cut in the shortening until your mixture starts to resemble a coarse meal. It's okay to have a few larger pieces of shortening remaining.
Add the milk, a little at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until everything is combined.
Turn out the dough onto a floured work surface. It will still be crumbly, that's okay.
Put a little flour on your hands and gently form the dough into a ball. Use a sharp knife and cut the dough in half, and then each half into thirds. Shape each piece into a round disk. Place the disks into the refrigerator to chill until you are ready to roll them out.
Combine the sugar, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Remove from the stove and set aside.
Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Peel and core the apples.
Take one disk of pie dough and use a rolling pin to roll it out on a floured surface. Roll out gently from the center until you have a square or round disk, approximately six inches in diameter.
Place one apple in the dough's center and put one tablespoon of butter into the hole in the apple. Top with one teaspoon of the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Bring the dough's edges up around the apple and use your hands to mold the dough to cover the entire apple. Place the apple in a well-greased 9x13 baking dish. Repeat with the remaining apples.
Make an egg wash by combining one egg and one tablespoon of water. Mix with a fork until well combined. Use a pastry brush and brush the egg wash over each pastry covered apple.
Pour the sauce in the baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve hot or at room temperature.
Apple dumpling leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.Reheat the dumplings in a 350-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. You can also reheat in a microwave for a minute or two, but the pastry will be soft.Before wrapping in pastry dough, I like to cut a thin slice off my apples' bottom to make sure they stand up straight.I usually peel my apples, but if you prefer, you can leave the peel on.To save time, you can substitute purchased refrigerated pie crust instead of making your own.Do not overbake these apple dumplings, or your apples will turn into applesauce and start oozing out of the crust.It's important when coring your apples to inspect the apple's inside and ensure all of the seeds and core are removed. I use an apple corer, but it seems like there is always a stray seed or two that stays put, so I use a small sharp knife afterward to ensure that any remaining seeds or core is removed.For a change of pace, you can substitute pears for the apples and make pear dumplings. But, be sure to use firm cooking pears or sand pears and definitely peel them.Keep your shortening in the refrigerator. It will last longer and will always be perfect when you are ready to make a pie crust.Wait as long as you can to peel and core your apples, or they will turn brown before you can wrap them in the pastry.