Apple dumpling adaptation

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As area festivalgoers enjoy the final day of Johnny Appleseed, we have one thing on our minds: Apple Dumplings. While we completely understand the occasional indulgence, and would never pretend we can improve upon the original, we did think it would be a fun exercise to give this fall favorite a homemade makeover. This recipe from Mirro Center Executive Chef Chris Zimmerman dishes up a little less guilt, but flavors that elicit that familiar nostalgia. Give it a try!

Apple Dumplings with Cider Sauce
Chris Zimmerman, Mirro Center Executive Chef

Apple Cider Sauce
8 cups apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Apple Dumplings
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
6 sweet, crisp apples (Honeycrisp, Macoun or Braeburn)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
24 sheets phyllo dough (9-by-14-inch), thawed per package directions

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  1. To prepare the Apple Cider Sauce, bring cider (or juice) to a boil in a large saucepan. Watch carefully and stir occasionally to keep bubbles down, until the juice is reduced to about 2 cups (30-40 minutes).
  2. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth; whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling syrup. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened (2-4 minutes more). Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. To prepare the Apple Dumplings, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Combine raisins, brown sugar and apple pie spice in a medium bowl. Peel, halve and core apples. Place cut-side up on a clean work surface; spoon a little of the raisin mixture into the center of each apple half. Sprinkle any remaining sugar mix over the apples.
  5. Combine butter and oil in a small bowl; set aside 2 tablespoons in another small bowl. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a third small bowl.
  6. Unroll phyllo sheets onto a clean, dry surface, keeping them in a stack. Cover with a piece of wax paper and then a barely damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.
  7. Lay out one sheet of phyllo on a clean, dry surface. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the sheet with butter mixture from the first bowl, then lightly sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. Repeat, layering on 3 more sheets of phyllo. Coat and sprinkle the top sheet, too. Cut the phyllo stack in half crosswise. Place a stuffed apple half in the middle of each stack. Gather the sides of the phyllo together, pinching the corners, to enclose the apple. Transfer the dumplings to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and apples to make 12 dumplings total. Brush them with the reserved 2 tablespoons of butter mixture.
  8. Bake the dumplings until the phyllo is golden brown and crisp (35-40 minutes). Let stand at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes. Reheat the sauce, if desired. Serve the dumplings with the Apple Cider Sauce.
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