Apples have proven tempting since biblical times, but for folks around Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, one bite isn't forbidden ... it's heavenly!
"This is the 16th year our church will sell apple dumplings, homemade by our Women's Association," says Carolyn Weaver, a member of the College Hill Presbyterian Church. Annually, they roll out 900 of the yummy money makers—tart apples wrapped in tender pie dough.
Come September, area fruit trees are dripping with all manner of apples.
"We order 10 bushels from a local orchard," Carolyn says. "MacIntosh and Rome are our favorite varieties because they bake up so nice and juicy.
"Our crew of 10 volunteers meets in the church hall in mid-October for a number of dumpling workdays. Young mothers, retired women and even some husbands pitch in. Soon we have an assembly line going."
The process begins with a vintage, hand-cranked peeler. From there, the fruit moves to a coring station. Next, a team of seasoners adds cinnamon, sugar and butter to each apple. Pastry makers roll dough into squares to wrap around each apple. Finally, the crew flash freezes the dumplings, bags them and stores them in the freezer until sale day.
"Word of mouth is our best advertisement. The congregation tells family and friends, and soon orders are pouring in," says Carolyn. On sale day, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, customers from town and surrounding counties come to church and pick up their apple dumplings—either baked or frozen.
The fruits of the dedicated dumpling gang's labor support several worthy causes. Profits go to the Salvation Army, a soup kitchen, a rescue mission, a women's center, youth programs and more.
"Besides that," Carolyn adds, "apple dumplings have become a delicious and comforting tradition for families all around here.
"A plump apple dumpling, swimming in a sea of cinnamon and served in a soup bowl—that's one of autumn's pure pleasures!"
The Women's Association's recipe for Apple Dumplings is wonderfully delicious and yet easy to make at home.
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