For a boy to be born at the precise time Grandpa's six
acre orchard first began bearing fruit, was the essence of good
fortune. Add to that
two acres of cherries and two acres of pears and you have a recipe
for good health! I grew up with an apple in each hand.
Jonathan apples were medium size, bright red,
pleasantly tart and were yummy good all winter, even until April, in
Grandpa's fruit cave. Most
of the trees were Johnathan. Ben
Davis variety was especially recommended for pies and apple
dumplings. The apples
were quite mealy, poor keepers, less apt to be eaten raw.
But when cooked, Wow!
Grandpa also included in his orchard some more exotic
varieties like Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Grimes Golden.
These were all “delicious” when eaten with a bowl of
For a few years in the early 1920's harvest was of
sufficient size that apples were shipped by rail to Chicago by the
carload. This was a
fruit business that employed 4 to 8 men during harvest.
The business developed as a “social security” program
which permitted Grandpa to “retire” from farming by turning the
reins over to my Dad, Emerson Heim. For 16 years Grandpa seldom
missed a day in his orchards. Prunning
trees, spraying with lime sulfur for scab, or arsenate of lead for
worms and bugs, and picking cherries (one hundred bushels in an
average year) were jobs he could do in a timely manner.
Grandpa was Joseph Gross Heim.
He furnished the apples but Grandma Rosie created the apple
dumplings. How I wish I
knew the recipe. I've
been at her elbow, literally, during the making, so I can guarantee
they were made from “scratch”.
Suffice it to say, the most precise recipe could not hold a
candle to the apple dumplings Grandma used to make.
Grandma's Apple Dumplings:
2 cups flour
2 - ½ tsp
½ tsp. Salt
½ cup milk
2 cup brown
2 cups water
¼ cup butter
Peel and core
apples. Cut in half. To
make pastry, sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
Cut in shortening until particles are approximately the size
of peas. Sprinkle milk
over mixture and press together lightly, working dough only enough
to hold together. Roll
dough as for pastry and cut into 6 squares and place 1 piece of
apple on each square. Fill cavity of apple with sugar and cinnamon.
Pat dough around apple to cover.
Fasten edges of dough on top.
Place dumplings 1 inch apart in greased 13x9x2 inch baking
pan. Bake in moderate
oven. When finished
baking you are ready to serve...pour sauce over them. Yummmmmm, I
can smell them now!
Combine brown sugar, water and spice.
Cook for 5 minutes. Remove
from heat and add butter. Bake
apple dumplings a 375 for 30 – 35 minutes.
Baste occasionally during baking.
Serve hot with rich milk or cream.