Dorset Dumplings

This is a traditional eighteenth-century recipe for apple dumplings as made in Dorset. The rum and butter makes them just a little better than any other apple dumplings.


  • ½ lb (240 g) suet crust
  • 1 stick (120 g) butter, softened
  • 1 generous cup (240 g) demerara sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • cup (1.5 dl) rum
  • 4 medium cooking apples, peeled and cored
  • 4 cloves
  • Clotted or double cream


Roll out the crust thinly into a large square and cut in 4 pieces. Mix together the butter, sugar, ginger and rum. Put one apple in the centre of each square of crust and fill up the core with the rum mixture. Stick a clove in each. If any mixture is left over, it should be melted just before the dumplings are served and poured over the outsides. Fold the crust over the apples, pressing and moulding the edges so that each apple is sealed in. Grease the perforated bottom of a steamer and set the apples on it. Steam over boiling water for 1½ hours. Remove the dumplings carefully to an ovenproof serving dish and put in a medium oven, 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4), for 5 minutes to dry the outsides. Serve with clotted or double cream.