I am not a native of Lancaster County, but I have lived here enough decades to consider myself a Lancastrian.

How does one know that they are a Lancasterian?  Here’s how I know…I don’t mind the smell of “dairy air” in the spring… I know the tractor pulls are at “The Buck”… I go to market… I roll my eyes at anyone who mispronounces Lancaster (Lank’aster is correct).. I’ve eaten stuffed pig stomach (bless my soul!)… I go to our local fair like it is a pilgrimage…I know at least a dozen Herr’s (sadly not related to any of them, that would have qualified me immediately)… in the summer I give directions to tourists… I know all the best farms to get plants and pumpkins and homemade bread… I make my own jam and applesauce … I shop at the Outlets… and I know about the Amish. There are about 100 more qualifications…we will save some for another time!
I also know that making and  eating Apple Dumplings, especially for dinner or breakfast, is a time honored tradition of many Lancaster County families. Served with milk in a big shallow bowl, an Apple Dumpling rises above pie status and becomes a countywide culinary treasure… a beloved part of our gastronomic heritage! Seriously, I am not overstating this! I found this so odd when I first moved to Lancaster. Being served “dessert” as a meal takes some getting used to.

But, not any more… Apple Dumplings are one of the best parts of being from Lancaster!

The recipe is very straightforward and so delicious!

I hope you will consider yourself an honorary Lancasterian and make Apple Dumplings for a breakfast or dinner.

Apple Dumplings
6 apples (any variety except Delicious)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 TBS butter, softened
pie dough, enough for 1 double crust
egg wash
sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Make pie dough. Click HERE for my very favorite Martha Stewart’s Pie dough (pate brisee). Refrigerate. You can also cheat and use a ready made pie dough.

In a small bowl , mix brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. Set aside.

Core apples.

Peel apples.

Take half the pie dough and roll it out. Cut it into 4 pieces. Roll out the second half of the dough and cut it into halves, and one half into half again.

Put the apple in the center of the dough.

Fill the whole in the apple with the sugar mixture.

Bring the dough up around the apple and press together.

Repeat for all the apples and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Make an egg wash with 1 beaten egg and 1 TBS water, mix well. Brush on apple dumplings.

Cut 12 leaves out of the remaining dough and brush them with egg wash. Fix the leaves  to the top of the apple dumpling.
Sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

Serve hot in a shallow bowl with milk.

Thoroughly enjoy without guilt!

Congratulations… you are on your way to being a Lancasterian!


  1. says

    Now I know what I’m serving for desert at annual Halloween dinner party! (along with your constructed pear salad as the first course)
    I guess I should have just consulted you about the menu from the ‘get-go’!
    Seriously, you come up with the perfect seasonal recipes and I truly appreciate it… Stone Gable is my ‘go-to’ blog for menu planning.

  2. says

    I love your recipe. It sounds wonderful.

    I just returned from “Lank’aster” Sunday after canning 14 quarts of grape juice and 17 quarts of applesauce. Your area of the world is WONDERFUL, beautiful, calm, green and I would move there in a heartbeat!

    I shared your blog with my friends who live in Lititz.

    From Virginia

  3. says

    Wonderful, wonderful. One of my all-time faves is apple dumplings.

    I am from Lancaster SC and it is also pronounced Lank’aster. I know; it seems funny for the South, but I hate to hear someone say Lan-caster.

  4. says

    thanks for the lesson, i thought a dumpling was a cake… i, a native californian, would call that a wrapped apple, aren’t i fussy!

    whatever its called, its fabulous~

    i just picked a big basket of apples from my garden today, you are spurring me onto dessert :)

  5. says

    My favorite place in my favorite state….I try to get there as often as I can, it has been a while…..I love all apple-y desserts, but a good apple dumpling, mmmmmmmmmmm xo

  6. says

    Yum! You are so right about that! As always your food looks divine!! It is nice to know about some of these customs. Guess the German in me has always found ways to serve cobbler and pies for breakfast on those cooler mornings. What a great tradition!!!

  7. says

    Can’t wait to make this recipe! While I’m not a Lancasterian, I do share some of the traits, among them how to say Lancaster properly (and grit my teeth when others say it wrong), enjoyment of fresh dairy air, a love for hog maw done correctly (stuffed with fresh sausage preferably from Wantz’s butcher shop and potatoes, baked til crispy – NOT boiled like they do here in the south), I used to know of some of the sweet spots for veggies, etc. when I was much younger and I’ve spent quite a few dollars at those outlets in past years.

    My mother, born and raised in York County, had many an apple dumpling (or apple pie) with milk for dinner. I can’t wait to try this recipe, Yvonne, and take them for my parents to enjoy – perhaps even for their dinner. Thanks for sharing!

  8. says

    Beautiful and quite tasty I’m sure! You always make each dish so beautiful and presentation is everything, right? Thanks so much for sharing this recipe ~ I will definitely try it!


  9. says

    Looks so very yummy! I love Lancaster and it’s not too far from where I live. Such a beautiful place! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


  10. says

    Wow! That looks yummy! Can I just stop in and enjoy rather than making them? LOL…I was looking for the link to print this recipe! Gee I’ve been saying it wrong for all these years! Lan..kaster…so now I have to try to emphasize Lank..aster… ugh..hope I get it right! My son lives near your area and I plan to visit soon!

  11. says

    OMGoodness, you are SPEAKING MY LANGUAGE here! I LOOOOOVE apple pie and dumpklings! In fact, I always wish for an apple pie instead of a cake for my birthday! I can do this!!!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I had a great day today! XO, Pinky

  12. says

    Lancaster is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Love the outlets there but mostly love the gentle peacefulness. Had these dumplings many times…got lots of Pa. Dutch influence here in Montgomery County.

  13. says

    Yvonne, those look sooooo delicious! My mouth is watering. I love apple dumplings, so I must be part way there. I’m going to try your recipe, and I’ll be closer to becoming a Lancasterian! Thank you for sharing this recipe. laurie

  14. says

    Oh yum! This just screams fall and must make right away :) I’ve never had an apple dumpling but that’s about to change.

    Have a great weekend ~

  15. says

    nummy, i WILL be making these. also, nothing wrong with dessert for a meal. right up my alley, not a problem. one morn, my grandbabes will get a “special breakfast” with sausage of course before school. thell love it and me. hehe

  16. says

    Hi Yvonne. These look soooo yummy! Thank you for sharing both the recipe and info about the area where you live. I’ve recently read several books by Beverly Lewis and enjoyed gaining a little insight about what it’s like to live in that area of the country. Take care.

  17. says

    After spending 20+ years in Berks county I know apple dumplings well! Have not made them in the 2 years I have been in NC. You have given me the nudge. Just added apples to my shopping list! I so enjoy your blog!

  18. says

    Yvonne, I still dream of your peach dumplings you did last year! You make the most beautiful dumplings.

    Our apple tree is so laden with fruit this year we had to prop up the branches with 2x4s! We will have to try these, although I am sure they won’t turn out as gorgeous.

    Wish I was your next door neighbor so I could get any leftovers when you bake!!!!

  19. says

    In Central PA, where I lived for many years, they pronounced Lancaster, “LANG-kis-tr”.

    Anyway, I made very similar apple dumplings for a dinner party one evening, only I used puff pastry instead of pie crust. Decorated them exactly the same way you did. They were a hit.

    I hope you have a wonderful and blessed weekend.


  20. says

    Those look scrumptious, Yvonne!! I was born in PA, Westmoreland county, to be exact. I’m trying your recipe & I just bought my Williams-Sonoma piecrust cutters yesterday…I’m set!!! Happy Fall blessings to you!!!!

  21. says

    Beautiful, Yvonne! And I know what you mean about the dumplings. And I could say the same thing you did about Lancaster County, subbing in Cumberland, instead!
    Lots of apple festivals going on now….

  22. says

    O, dear..remember last year and I made apple dumplings and one exploded?? Hahaaahhhaa…that was indeed, a mess. Ha..
    These look so delicious. You take the best foodie photos of just about anyone I know.
    xo bj

  23. says

    Hi Yvonne, I have enjoyed making so many of your recipes and this one looks delicious. I am adding it to my list of recipes.

    Thank you for your very kind comment on my post about nasty remarks. Your comment really touched me and I appreciate your kindness.

  24. says

    Made these for dinner tonight!!! They were awesome! (My husband had two!)

    Thanks for sharing.


    P.S. We are heading to Lank’aster on Friday for a few days. My favorite place in the world to be!!!

    P.S.S. I can never be considered a Lancasterian – I miss the qualifications. I would NEVER eat stuffed pig stomach. I’ll chance not having my soul blessed with that one :)

  25. Heather says

    My Dad’s side of the family lives in Lancaster PA. This is almost the same recipe, except they add chopped pecans with the center sugar mixture. ( Milton Hersheypark style ). Love this recipe!

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