Recipe by Mary Wheeler, mother of Tricia Wheeler
1½ cups sugar
1½ cups water
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
5–10 drops red food coloring, if desired
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups shortening
½ cup milk
6 medium whole apples, pared and cored
Extra sugar, spices and butter for topping apples
Preheat oven to 375°.
For syrup, mix first 5 ingredients together in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add butter. Set aside to cool.
Stir together dry ingredients; cut in shortening till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once; stir just till flour is moistened. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead 3–4 times and form into a rough square. Lightly flour surface with a rolling pin roll into 18- by 12-inch rectangle
Cut rolled dough into six 6-inch squares. Place apple on each square. Sprinkle apples generously with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; dot with butter. Moisten edges of pastry and bring opposite corners to center and pinch together. Repeat with other 2 corners, and make sure all edges are sealed. Repeat with other 5 apples.
Place dumplings 1 inch apart in ungreased 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Pour syrup over dumplings; sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes, or until apples are tender. Add whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.