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Easy Gluten Free Apple Dumplings

Easy Gluten Free Apple Dumplings

Easy gluten free apple dumplings, baked in a simple pie crust, have all the taste and aroma of apple pie without all the fuss. Apple season is the most wonderful time of the year!

Easy gluten free apple dumplings, baked in a simple pie crust, have all the taste and aroma of apple pie without all the fuss. Apple season is the most wonderful time of the year!

The calendar says it’s September, my children have gone back to school, and I have become irritating in my insistence that we plan our annual trip to the apple orchard. It must be fall! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, if you ask me.

Apples and cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and allspice. Bring it all on. I’ve been waiting all summer for this.

Easy gluten free apple dumplings, baked in a simple pie crust, have all the taste and aroma of apple pie without all the fuss. Apple season is the most wonderful time of the year!

In case you’ve never gone to an orchard and picked your own apples, I’ll tell you what you’re missing. If you’re really lucky and get a gorgeous, crisp fall day, it’s bound to be one you and your family and friends will remember—especially as you muscle through the long winter months and bellyache about how we never get to enjoy a real fall and a real spring any more.

But even if you aren’t blessed with such a perfect day, the apple haul you bring home will be more than worth it. You’ll find none of that waxy coating you find on apples at the store. And when you pick the apples right from the tree with your very own hands, you won’t mind a ding here or an imperfection there. The skin on all kinds of apples from the actual orchard is also so much thinner. No wax!

Easy gluten free apple dumplings, baked in a simple pie crust, have all the taste and aroma of apple pie without all the fuss. Apple season is the most wonderful time of the year!

At the end of the day, it won’t much matter where you get the apples you use for these dumplings. You’ll peel, core and slice them anyway, and then toss them with cinnamon and sugar, which everybody knows makes up for a multitude of ills.

Easy gluten free apple dumplings, baked in a simple pie crust, have all the taste and aroma of apple pie without all the fuss. Apple season is the most wonderful time of the year!

Since these are dumplings, and not pie, you will have to peel and core the apples, but there’s no need to slice them thinly. Large chunks, 8 per apple, are individually wrapped in a gorgeous, flaky gluten free pie crust and then baked to perfection. Even those big chunks of apple become perfectly tender as they’re each baked separately in their own pie crust dumpling.

You can even peel and core each apple and, rather than cutting it into 8 chunks, wrap the whole apple in a larger piece of pastry and bake it until perfectly tender. Either way, it’s all the pleasure of an apple pie with little of the trouble. You just can’t lose.

Easy gluten free apple dumplings, baked in a simple pie crust, have all the taste and aroma of apple pie without all the fuss. Apple season is the most wonderful time of the year!
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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 24 dumplings

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Pie Crust*
2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose gluten free flour (I like my Better Than Cup4Cup blend best here)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

7 tablespoons (98 g) unsalted butter, roughly chopped and chilled

4 ounces cream cheese, chopped and chilled

1/2 to 3/4 cup (6 to 8 fluid ounces) cold water, iced (ice cubes don’t count in the volume measurement)

Apples
3 large baking apples (Granny Smith work great here), peeled, cored and cut into 8 chunks each

2 tablespoons (24 g) sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)

*You can also use my extra flaky sour cream pie crust or classic pie crust recipe here.

Directions

  • First, make the crust. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the chopped and chilled butter, and toss to coat the butter in the dry ingredients. Press each floured chunk of butter between a floured thumb and forefinger to flatten. Add the cream cheese, and toss to coat as well, and flatten each chunk of cream cheese in the same manner. Create a well in the center of the large bowl of dry ingredients, add 1/2 cup of the ice water,  and mix to combine. The dough will begin to come together. If there are any very crumbly bits, add more ice water by the tablespoon and mix to combine. Press the dough together, and divide into two equal portions. Transfer each portion of the dough to a separate large piece of plastic wrap, cover and press each into a disk. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

  • Once the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 375°F. Line large rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper, and set them aside.

  • Shape the crust. Turn one piece of dough out onto a well-floured surface. Dust the surface with a bit more flour, and roll it out with a rolling pin into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise, dust again lightly with flour, and roll the dough out again into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Once more, fold the rectangle in half lengthwise, and then fold again widthwise to create a thick square. Dust the square lightly with flour, and roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about 9-inches by 12-inches and 1/4-inch thick. Place the pie crust on a flat surface and then in the freezer until firm (about 5 minutes). Repeat with the second piece of dough.

  • Assemble the dumplings. While the rolled out crust is chilling, place the apple chunks in a medium-size bowl, and toss with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and the salt. Remove one piece of pie crust from the freezer and, with a pastry wheel or shaper knife, slice the crust into 12 3-inch squares. Roll each square individually until it is about 1/8-inch thick (the thickness of a nickel). Place an apple chunk on the lower third of each piece of dough, and roll up the apple loosely in the dough. Cinch the ends together to seal, and place about 1 inch apart on a prepared baking sheet.** Brush the dumplings with the melted butter, and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon and sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough and apples. Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator or freezer until mostly firm.

    **At this point, the dumplings can be frozen in a single layer on the baking sheet, then placed in a freezer-safe container and frozen until ready to bake. They can then be baked from frozen. Just follow the rest of the instructions before baking.

  • Bake the dumplings. Place the dumplings in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden brown all over, and the apples are tender (test by piercing a dumpling carefully with a sharp knife or toothpick). Serve immediately.

  • Recipe originally published on the blog in 2013. Text updated, photos mostly new, recipe only slightly changed.

Love,
Nicole

  • Donia Robinson

    For the dairy free among us, I assume our favorite pie crust would do? Better to have dairy-free dumplings than no dumplings at all! ;)

    • Definitely, Donia! Any flaky crust will do.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Jennifer Sasse

    Oh yummy! these look great and I have apples up the ying yang to use! thanks for another great recipe!

  • Gail

    Can I half the recipe?

  • Chris

    I don’t even CARE that I will “pay” for eating the cream cheese in these!! I can smell them NOW…..!!!!! Oh oh oh HAPPY DAY!!! And the freeze-and-then-bake option makes them even better!!! Why do I always think to check your blog when I’m hungry?!?!?!?!?

    • The freeze and bake is great for stashing away a quick nearly-ready treat, Chris!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Pam Gordon

    yum- a-saurous Rex! Cannot wait to try these…..

  • Jessica Seal

    Thank you so much for developing yummy gluten free recipes. My husband just got diagnosed with celiac a couple months ago. It has been frustrating learning how to feed my family again. I thought for sure my little 2 yr old would grow up never getting to bake with me, because I didn’t see the point if the whole family couldn’t enjoy it. We just tried our first recipe of yours and I have to say thank you, thank you, thank you. We made the brown butter snicker doodles and they honestly are the best snicker doodles I have ever had. We can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

    • So happy to help, Jessica! I really can relate to how you feel, but rest assured that your little 2 year old has a lifetime of baking with you to look forward to. Nothing is off limits, but gluten itself!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Karlie

    I don’t have a regular favourite flaky crust, but I reaaaaaaally hate cream cheese. Do you think butter or lard would work as a substitute in this crust? These look like the perfect substitute for pumpkin pie (another ick one for me) for Thanksgiving this weekend!

    • Try my regular recipe for pie crust, Karlie. It’s right here on the blog.

  • pigenholed

    I would love to make these vegan for my sister (Personally, I could live on cream cheese!). Do you think coconut oil would work?

    • I’m afraid it would not work at all. You could try vegan shortening, though.

  • cindy

    Nicole, I just love the way you end your entries with “love, me”! Your recipes are the best!!!!!

  • Anneke

    My mom makes delicious apple dumplings, but always uses the whole apple, which is too much for me. I love that these are mini-dumplings, and so cute! My mom also has an old family recipe for something called Drawn Butter Sauce to pour over the dumplings; I see both of these in my future! Now to go get more apples!

    • Sounds amazing, Anneke! The reason I like to do apple chunks in smaller dumplings is mostly because the crust bakes to perfection in the same amount of time that it takes the apple inside to be perfectly tender. With a whole apple, it’s easy to burn the crust waiting for the apple to become tender enough!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Angela

    Can I subsitite cream cheese with Neufchâtel cheese?

    • I would not recommend it at all, Angela. That is much, much softer and has much more moisture than cream cheese.

  • mishele maron

    I bought cream cheese yesterday to make this dough, I can’t wait.

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  • Keepitsimple

    I have to say the convoluted ingredient list for the gluten free flour blend completely put me off this recipe. If I have to spend 30 minutes figuring out the right quantities for the flour blend, forget it.

    • It calls for an all purpose gluten free flour blend, Sheila. The link recommends some of the blends that I like best, and some are actually quite simple. But feel free to skip the recipe!

  • AishaM

    I wish you could have seen my face when I pulled up the page just now – I know what I am making tonight!

  • Donna Cruz-Moreno

    These look amazing. I am new to GF baking and have had some decent results this summer after almost giving up last year! I used to make pie crust in the Food Processor. Would this GF crust do well in the FP as well? Anxious to try.

    • Hi, Donna, Yes, you can definitely make this dough in the food processor. Making pastry dough in the food processor makes a much less flaky pastry, though, since the butter ends up being processed too small to create flaky layers. But it will work if that’s what you prefer!

  • Sarah B

    These look SO yummy! I’m dying to make these but we’re dairy free as well as gluten free (well, I am anyway…and I want to eat them too! ;)
    Do you have a recipe I can use palm shortening in that would yield a good pastry for these? Or for a pie? I used butter before and have been lost in this department since I’m sensitive to it now. Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us!!!

    • fantasticalice

      Us too….what would be a good sub? Cashew cream? I might try that. A chilled can of coconut cream might do it too. I’d add more fat to both.

      • You definitely can’t use cashew cream as a substitute for butter, Alice. Please see my response above.

    • Hi, Sarah, My favorite dairy-free substitute for butter in pastry like this is definitely nonhydrogenated palm shortening, like Spectrum brand. You can even try using the butter-flavored variety.

  • Emily C

    these look so good! i’m wondering how many pounds three large apples would be? or does the weight of the apples not matter so much?

    • You guessed it, Emily. The weight of the apples doesn’t matter very much here. But for reference, one pound of apples is usually 3 medium or 2 large pieces of fruit. 🍎🍎

  • Kendra Townsend

    I made these toadt and they were a big hit. We are dairy free so i used my regular gf pie crust and everyone loved them! Thanks for this simple yet delicious recipe.

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