Tag Archives: applejack

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So I’ve made a cobbler that is savory instead of sweet, and now I am giving you guys a dumpling that is sweet instead of savory. I know I am complete confusing you guys. If you are lucky, you have heard about apple dumplings before. Perhaps from the movie The Apple Dumpling Gang which is a pretty old Disney live-action film. But this a very much “dumplings,” they are a dough wrapped around a filling, which would be brown sugar and apple. I guess this tradition is more common in the Asian sweet buns.

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Apple dumplings are probably more American than apple pie. I am sure most people outside of the United States have had an apple pie, but apple dumplings? The dish is a northeastern food, specifically a Pennsylvanian Dutch treat. Let me clarify a few things, Pennsylvanian Dutch isn’t aren’t the Dutch who immigrated to the United States. They are Germans, dutch is referring to Deutsch. There is a strong history of the Pennsylvanian Dutch, including a rich history of art (google up some Fraktur folkart), architecture, and birch beer (my favorite).

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Today a lot of the Pennsylvania Dutch traditions are associated with the Amish population as modern Pennsylvanians are more likely to eat a burger over schnitz un knepp. In fact I think most people try apple dumplings through the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia through Amish vendors. If you get one there they will serve it in a bowl filled with heavy cream. I personally never ate them that way when I was little but the cream down cools down the dumpling fast enough to quickly eat. I think we ate it either plain, with whipped cream, or a scoop of ice cream.

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My Nanna and Pappy are probably further than what would be considered Pennsylvanian Dutch, but their food is heavily influenced by it. Reading wikipedia’s page of Pennsylvanian Dutch foods there are lots of overlap. I loved birch and root beers when I was little and anything gingerbread flavored. We also ate a lot of angel food’s cake (my sister’s favorite), apple dumplings, and gobs (the Pittsburgh name for Whoopie Pies). I think I was more interested in the traditional sweets than the savory (which consists of a lot of meat and cheese).

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Traditionally apple dumplings were a breakfast food. Which sounds decadent, but I guess not compared to some of the sugary french toasts I see out there. The dish is pretty simple, core and peel the apple, stuff sugar and spices in the middle, cover with pie crust, and bake. That’s it. In fact the original recipe my Nanna taught me is already vegan! Why? She uses Crisco. I decided to dress them up a little more by using a more sophisticated pie crust recipe that used applejack/apple brandy, but you can use whatever you want, olive oil or coconut oil pie crust!

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Now I am stopping to point out a regional difference between apple dumplings. There is the Pennsylvanian Dutch apple dumpling and the Southern apple dumplings. The southern version is similar, apples covered in dough, except people use canned crescent rolls. Okay technically vegan. Then you pour a melted stick of butter, sugar, and a can of mountain dew on top. Then bake. I shudder at the thought of how sickeningly sweet the whole thing is. I am sure it is nice in it’s own way, but I much prefer the simplicity of my apple dumplings.

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The cool thing is that you can freeze whatever you don’t bake. So our recipe made 8 medium sized dumplings (you may only get 5 or 6 if you use BIG apples), I baked 4 of them, then froze the other four in tin foil. That was in the middle of winter I can just pull out one at a time and bake. It might take as long as an hour to an hour and a half, so it is cool to pair it off with something, like roasted veggies.

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When I think of retro foods, casseroles are the first thing that comes to mind. I mean there are quite a few other oddball ones out there, but do I WANT to make them? I mean there was a huge fascination with jello-mold savory foods. Heck even my Grandma made a shrimp “mousse” recently for a family get together. I remember eating it when I was pescetarian, and neither hating or liking it.

I do have to say, I regret not doing more research because some of the retro snacks are really funny and would of been fun to remake. Like this “meat-za” where there is a ground beef crust and tomato soup topping. I could of made an all seitan pizza crust! Agh! Stinks. But some of the search results really make me think about some of the quirky fun foods we see on Pinterest and Mom blogs. Will fruitshi be viewed as being as silly as a pineapple treasure chest? Then again, I think that treasure chest is pretty awesome… why the hell didn’t I make a vegan version of that?!

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But I TRIED to make a vegan tuna noodle casserole. I had a cute name picked out- Tu-NAH! Noodle Casserole. I flipped out my Vegan Casseroles book for guidance because it pretty much taught me everything I learned about casseroles, vegan or otherwise. The end result was a HUGE flop! The chickepeas were weird, there was too much sauce, not enough nasty mayo, and I can’t find eggless egg noodles for the life of me. Oh and I forgot to put salt into the dish. I wanted throw in my towel, I needed a drink.

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I don’t know where I found out about it, but I read about The Pink Lady, it sounded pretty dated and tacky. When inspecting it, I found it listed on a chart of Mad Men cocktails, but it dates back to the 20s. I am taking a stab in the dark and assuming it is an American cocktail. Many people suspect that it was invented or popularized during prohibition since there were so many sub-standard gin available. The idea was that the egg white and grenadine would make the drink easier to swallow.

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The drink eventually built a reputation for being dainty as fuck. It was pink, girly, and “safe.” So I was surprised when I took a sip, this drink packs a punch. This is no appletini or strawberry daiquiri. Sure, there is some grenadine, which I am sure you remember sucking down at weddings when you were kid in your Shirley Temples. But this has only a small amount to give it a pink hue. 

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So what was “veganized” about this drink? Well, ever since aquafaba came out I was dying to know, can I make drinks out it? I use to love foamy cocktails, yes, as I vegan I miss raw eggs more than bacon! Gasp! So I thought, okay, why not try this out? The idea of egg white cocktails had fallen out of fashion in the United States in the 50s and most drinks started to feature sodas, juices, flavored vodkas, and neon colors. Know what though? The aquafaba worked beautifully! The drink foamed up, and STAYED that way. 

I’ve been really into retro cocktails lately. I think this time of the year I always crave cocktails probably because of the over abundance of fruit. That is why I made my watermelon basil cocktail, and pretty much all my other drinks on the blog uses some sort of fruit or vegetable. Heck I recently made a tomatillo shrub which I debated posting on this retro post… but I think it needs to age more.

Anyways, make this drink and if you haven’t yet, check out my tea giveaway. Just comment, and if you want extra entries follow me on different social media platforms. Continue reading