and, confessions of a new mother.
This past weekend I baked Aunt Edna’s Apple Dumplings in memory of her and my mother. I miss them both very much. Aunt Edna was my second mother and took care of me from infancy through my elementary school years. This story is about apple dumplings and my mothers.
Aunt Edna, Cousins Connie, Lee, Howard and me (1955)
I recently found a birthday booklet titled “1951 Pages of Time” that my mother gave to me 20 years ago. It shows prices of things in 1951, such as
loaf of bread….@ .16
gallon of gas..…@ .19
gallon of milk…@ .92
In this birthday booklet are pages for your personal memories from 1951. Here are my mother’s memories-more like confessions of a new frightened mother.
“We were married 4 years, 1 month and 17 days before you arrived. Your Dad was away deer hunting but he came to the hospital later that day. Aunt Edna and son Billy drove me to the hospital. My Mother thought I would die having you, if you were big boned and had a big head like your Dad.
I started back to work at the Court House when you were 13 months old. You had the best baby sitter ever, Aunt Edna. I remember the first night home from the hospital. I had nursed you and you kept on screaming. I started crying. Aunt Edna put you on a pillow on her lap. I went to sleep and so did you. Only one time can I recall having to come home from work to be with you. You were teething and had a high temperature. Aunt Edna loved you as much as we did.
Your Dad was so proud of you. All the men at Pepco thought you were a doll. We bundled you up for 12 years and he was the one who watched over you during those trips to Aunt Edna’s. You were with him so much in your early age.
It was during your first year that I gave you too much aspirin and you turned blue and ice cold. I had you next to the old coal stove and rubbed you to warm you up. You probably wouldn’t have survived without Aunt Edna. I was so dumb and inexperienced.
You got your third Mom when you started Jr. High School, Bonnie S. She was good to you and loved you like one of her daughters.
You’ve been a lucky girl and loved by everyone who has had the pleasure to meet you. Keep being your sweet self with your loveable personality. I love you lots. Mom 11/23/93”
Ok, you ask…what does this have to do with apple dumplings? A lot! It has to do with Aunt Edna. Aunt Edna saved my life. Aunt Edna made luscious apple dumplings. Aunt Edna was my second mother. Aunt Edna planted the seed which has bloomed into a passion for cooking. I remember those large pans full of gooey sweet syrup bubbling around the apple bundles when she pulled them from the oven. They were so brown and beautifully wrapped in their individual dough coats. They were baked with love and shared happily by the family. Aunt Edna was sweet and I loved holding onto her apron.
I got to help her make the apple dumplings by spooning the cinnamon sugar mixture into the middle of the whole apple and topping it with a dab of butter before she would wrap it up in pie pastry dough. Those are special memories to me. I was Aunt Edna’s helper and a regular pest to my cousins that hung around the old homestead.
Those childhood experiences help form us in our early years. Of course, we don’t realize that at the time, but as I age I recognize it and appreciate it.
Here is Aunt Edna’s recipe as my Mom wrote it on a recipe card. Feel free to make your own favorite pie pastry or use a box mix. The secret flavor spark is in the sauce that gets caramelized as the dumplings bake.
Aunt Edna’s Apple Dumplings
1 box Betty Crocker Pie Dough, makes 8 dumplings. Divide dough into 8 small balls, then roll out.
Wash, core and peel apples. Place in cold salt water. Leave whole.
Sauce: 1 cup sugar to 2 cups water, plus chunk of butter.
Heat but don’t let boil.
Mix more sugar and cinnamon in bowl and fill center hole of apple, then place small slice of butter on top.
Wrap dough around apple and place in buttered pan. Spoon sauce over each and about ½ inch in pan.
Bake at 450° for 10 minutes, then 375° for 30 minutes or until brown and apples are soft.
Can be frozen after cool.
Served with vanilla ice cream, these apple dumplings are just down home good!
I respectfully offer to you Aunt Edna’s apple dumplings.
Thank you, Susan