Iowa - Apple Dumplings

In the United States, Iowa ranks first in the production of beef, pork, corn, soybeans and grain. Excellent!  But how in the world does that translate to Sweet State of Mine and a state dessert? 

My best friend reached out to a friend of hers from Iowa to get her thoughts. She said any kind of home cooked farm food would be most representative of Iowa culture and that I might want to check out the menu from The Machine Shed.  The Machine Shed is a small, regional restaurant with several locations and the menu is full of Iowa classics from the farm.  Such great advice! 

I found that The Machine Shed's signature dessert is their Apple Dumpling and that over 1 million have been sold since the sweet was added to their menu in 1978.  

Farm fresh apples, simple pastry dough, cinnamon & sugar - easy enough for a weeknight supper after a long day on the farm!  Perfect!

Pastry Dough

for the dough
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Crisco
  • ice water (have about 1/4 cup ready) 

  • Blend flour and salt together, then cut in Crisco using pastry blender, forks, or your fingers.
  • Add cold water, one Tablespoon at a time, mixing until flour is moistened.  You will most likely only need a few Tablespoons of water.
  • The dough should come together into a ball, but not be sticky and wet. 
  • Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours or overnight if possible. 

Apple Filling 

for the apple filling
  • 6 peeled and cored Rome (or Granny Smith) apples
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • butter


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

  • Combine in saucepan and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.  Reserve to pour over assembled apple dumplings. 


  • Roll out chilled dough into 12x8 inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick
  • Cut into 6 equal squares
  • Place one apple on each pastry square
  • Mix cinnamon and sugar together 
  • Fill the cavity of each apple with cinnamon and sugar and a dot of butter
  • Bring the corners of the pastry up around the apple and seal the edges together
  • Place in baking dish, leaving a little space between each
  • Pour the boiling syrup over the dumplings 
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until crust is browned and apples are cooked tender

Spoon bubbling syrup over each dumpling before serving...

Amazing!  These were so delicious and perfect on a cold January night!  


1 comment:

  1. So delicious! I was lucky to taste this and I will have to try it myself. Seems like it might be fun to assemble!