This sweet, bourbon-infused dessert will be the hit of your next holiday table. Our friend Trace Barnett, The Bitter Socialite, stopped by the Southern Living kitchen to show us how to make his go-to apple-bourbon dumplings. With recipes like apple-bourbon pie, apple pie-infused bourbon, and apple-bourbon turkey and gravy, we know that apple and bourbon pair well, especially during the fall and holiday seasons. But we’ve never had a dessert like these dumplings, which start with simple pastry dough. If you're pressed for time, pick up some pre-made pie crust in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. Cored apples are stuffed with butter, sprinkled with a mixture of sugar, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon, topped with bourbon-soaked raisins, and wrapped up in the pastry dough. Once your dumplings are ready in the pan, finish them with a bourbon-brown sugar sauce that caramelizes to the perfect consistency in the oven. Trace says this warm, comforting fall dessert is best served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – and we're inclined to agree!

Apple-Bourbon Dumplings

Pastry for 2 crust pie, or refrigerated pie dough
6 medium apples
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice

For the sauce:

2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon


1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Make the pastry and form into a ball. Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Core and pare the apples using a sharp knife or an apple peeler.

3. Mix together sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice in a small bowl.

4. On a lightly floured surface, divide the pastry into 6 individual sections and roll into a 7 inch square or circle. Use a pie crimper to trim the edges. 

5. Place an apple in the center of each pastry and fill the core with 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 tablespoon raisins. Form the dough around the apple. Pinch the edges together with fingertips to seal. Use leftover dough to cut out leaves or decorative stems and adhere to the top of heat apple. Gently pressing to secure. Place on a baking sheet, allowing room between each apple so they do not touch. 

6. Make the sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Add brown sugar, bourbon, cinnamon, and vanilla. Bring to a boil and dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. 

5. Spoon the sauce over each apple. Transfer the pan to the heated oven and bake 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender and the pastry is nicely browned. Top with the remaining sauce and serve warm. 

Pastry for 2 crust pie

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
8 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons sugar
4-5 tablespoons water


1. Sift together flour, salt, and sugar into a large bowl. Add shortening and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. 

2. Cut cold butter into 1/4 inch cubes and gradually add into the bowl, using the pastry blender to combine. Once the butter has been gradually cut into the flour mixture, gradually add ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time. Add only enough water to moisten and bind the dough. 

3. Form the dough into a disc and wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate up to 30 minutes before rolling.

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