This is an attractive, traditional English pudding which is usually eaten in the winter.
12 oz. flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 oz. butter
1 oz. vegetable shortening to
5 tablespoons cold water
6 large, tart apples, cored
4 oz. brown sugar, mixed with grated rind of
6 cloves a little milk castor sugar
Preheat the oven to hot 400°F (Gas Mark6,200°C).
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Put in the butter and vegetable shortening and cut into small pieces with a table knife. With your fingertips, rub the fat into the flour until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add
3 tablespoons of cold water. Using the knife, mix in the water. With your hands, mix and knead until the pastry is smooth.
Add the rest of the water, a little at a time, if the pastry is too dry. Chill the pastry in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Prepare a baking sheet by greasing with butter.
Roll out the pastry fairly thin. Cut into 6 equal squares, leaving a two-inch strip. Place an apple in the centre of each square. Fill the centre cavity of each apple with the sugar and lemon-rind mixture, inserting 1 clove in the middle.
With your fingers, lift the edges of the pastry squares and work the pastry around each apple until it is completely enclosed. Seal the pastry edges by moistening with water.
Place the dumplings on the baking sheet. Cut 24 small leaves from the left-over strip of pastry. Moisten with a little water and attach 4 leaves to each apple. Brush the dumplings with milk and dust with castor sugar. Bake for 30 minutes.
Serve hot with cream.