Yield: 6 servings.
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 rounds refrigerated pie pastry
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup dark brown sugar
3 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lemon
Vanilla ice cream (for serving)
Preheat oven to 400°. Use 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Mix together cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
On a clean, lightly floured countertop, place pastry rounds end to end, then roll out into one large rectangle, about 24 x 16 inches. Cut into 6 square pieces. Place an apple on each pastry square with the cored opening facing upward. Cut butter into 8 pieces. Place 1 piece of butter in the opening of each apple; reserve remaining butter for sauce. Divide brown sugar between apples, filling some inside each cored opening and the rest around the base of each apple. Sprinkle the cinnamon spice mixture over the apples.
With slightly wet fingertips, bring one corner of pastry square up to the top of an apple, then bring the opposite corner to the top and press together. Bring up the two remaining corners and seal with fingers. Slightly pinch the dough at the sides to completely seal. Repeat with the remaining apples. Place in prepared baking dish.
In a large saucepan, combine water, white sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and reserved butter. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Pour over dumplings.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Place each apple dumpling in a bowl and spoon sauce over the tops. Serve with vanilla ice cream.