Cooking Like the Amish!

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Way back machine 1990, I was a young(er) homemaker and looking to expand my cooking horizons. This was in the day just before Food Network and the internet. I would often times try to catch the limited cooking programing offered by PBS....that was when, where and how I met Marcia Adams (an award-winning food columnist, who is an authority on Amish foods and folkways and writes with equal knowledge about Midwestern and American cuisine) and Cooking From Quilt Country. I didn't know much about the Amish but I was quickly tutored by Miss Marcia. I simply loved those shows...AND the food, the best of homestyle cooking for sure!

Here is a synopsis of the first episode:

Program 101 ~ Maple Syrup ~ Maple Syrup Season. Marcia makes maple mousse, maple cream pie, maple syrup dumplings, and maple baked ham. Also shown on this program is a segment shot on an Amish farm showing the process of taking sap from maple trees and making it into maple syrup. A friendship quilt was shown at the end of the program from Nappanee, Indiana.

See why I was hooked! After watching a few episodes, I ordered the companion cookbook. I have loved that book dearly! Over the years I have recommended that book (as well as ANY book by Marcia Adams) countless times. Since that first book, I have added more Amish-themed cookbooks to my collection, including More Cooking From Quilt Country (also from Marcia Adams). Recently,my sweet friend Marilyn sent me a copy of Amish Cooking edited by Jillian Stewart. Stunning pictures and such yummy recipes. Thank you certainly speak my launguage.
I've had the pleasure of visiting Amish communities in Wisconsin, Ohio and Missouri and if you get the chance, visit a Amish will go away well-fed.

Sharing what has become one of our favorite recipes from that first book!

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings
(Printable Recipe)

Pastry for 2-10-inch pie shells
6 medium-firm cooking apples
2 Tbsps lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp mace
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°f. Roll out pie dough to form a rectangle 14x21 inches. Cut into 6 uniform squares. Peel and core the apples, but leave them whole. Pour the lemon juice into a small bowl. In another bowl combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Roll each apple first in lemon juice, and then in the sugar and place each on top of a dough square. Fill each core cavity with approximately 2 Tbsp of brown sugar and 1 tsp butter. Pull the pastry squares up over the apples and crimp the edges tightly; you will have pretty round pastry balls. Place in an oiled 9x13x2-inch pan. Bake for 1 hour or until apples are tender.

While the apples are baking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Bring to a boil ande cook rapidly for 1 minute. After dumplings have baked for 30 minutes, pour the sauce over the top of the dumplings and bake for 30 minutes longer, basting occasionally. Serve hot with cream.

Note: Unbaked dumplings, without the sauce, can be frozen before baking. Bake unthawed, at 400°F for 30 minutes, then cover with the sauce and proceed as above.

Posting to Miz Helen's Fill Your Plate Thursday, Michael's Foodie Friday and Tina's Potluck Sunday! Thank you to these gracious hostesses!


  1. Olive Cooper said...:

    You are surely a fabulous cook Gail. I have never had Amish food but we have a Mennonite community and restaurant here and I believe the food is similiar. It is very good home cooking and baking. I once became ill from eating too many yeast rolls when I was younger but have since quenched my spirit with Weight Watchers but in a good way.

  1. Kim McCallie said...:

    Oh, doesn't that look and sound wonderful! I would love to go to Lancaster, PA to see the Amish lifestyle for myself.

  1. Carmen C. said...:

    Oh my gosh I remember watching that show! I loved it and those dumplings look SOooooooo good!!!!

  1. LyndaLoo said...:

    Gail, if it weren't for you I wouldn't know Marcia. :) I think I managed to collect all her books plus some others on the Amish. Thanks for feeding my addition. :)


  1. Pam said...:

    I remember watching that show, too. Oh, how I miss it! I've got to see if I can get my hands on those cookbooks. I love going to Shipshewana, Indiana and getting my fill of Amish cooking and handicrafts. Got to make some of those apple dumplings. Yum!:-)

  1. Lynnie said...:

    That looks SOOOO delish! I cannot wait to grind some wheat and make these!! Thanks for sharing.

  1. Oh how I loved Marcia Adams!!! I have Cooking from Quilt Country. Our favorites from that was the Swiss Meatloaf and the creamed new peas & potatoes. What a dinner!

    Deborah in NC

  1. Forgot to say...did you know that you can visit an Amish home and have dinner with them? I did that a few years ago. Great memories.

    Deborah in NC

  1. Sounds good. Is it OK if I cheat a little and use Pillsbury ready made pie crusts? I do not have a good track record for making pie crusts from scratch. :)

  1. Mecky said...:

    I have her cookbook, but I have never watched her show. I wish I knew about it back when it was on. Maybe they will bring it back.

    I live not too far from an Amish/Mennonite community. They have a wonderful restaurant there. They also have a couple for good bulk food stores in that area where they sell their cheese and butter, plus many other things. Plus there is a meat market there that is great.
    I have 3 cookbooks from their community that are excellent! I will have to share some of their recipes on my blog.


  1. The dumplings are beautiful Gail! Wishing I was smelling them in the oven now:@)

  1. Patty Sumner said...:

    Yummy! Blessings and thanks for all the great info.

  1. shopannies said...:

    would love to go back in time for a meal or two those ladies knew how to cook that is for sure

  1. Jane said...:

    There is nothing more satisfying than an Amish meal. We lived in the PA Dutch area and frequented many of their restaurants, farmers' markets, and festivals. They make the most amazing apple butter! Wish I had some right now!
    Jane (artfully graced)

  1. Wonderful sounding recipe. Come make it for me. I love old cookbooks. We are old souls for sure.

  1. Debbie said...:

    I have had a fascination with all things Amish for a long time. I would have liked that program, but I've never heard of it. (Should have too, since my 1990's were full of PTV. Barney, Lambchop,Blues Clues...)

    The dumplings look and sound absolutely delicious.

  1. OhPioneer1806 said...:

    Once again Gail we are sisters of the heart. I too love that cookbook. I am on my third copy of it and many pages are stained and written on as I've made notes for myself. So many family favorites come from there. Just the other day I made the Country Stew!

  1. Hi Gail, the recipe sounds wonderful. You always make me hungry. Ha.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  1. Faith said...:

    Sounds like something I would have liked to watch. Never heard of it. We visit Ohio Amish country quite a bit when whether permits. It is something we all enjoy as a family. The food good and hearty. I like the bulk stores.and the simple way of life..and love those cute.

  1. Kathleen said...:

    I can't believe I have never been to Amish Country in PA. We can't travel much, but maybe that would be doable from NY.
    Those dumplings look amazing!

  1. Carol said...:

    These dumplings are beautiful! I'm sure they taste as wonderful as they look.
    We're only 40 minutes from Lancaster, PA. How fortunate is that???

  1. Marlis said...:

    I have the first cookbook and you are right.. it's fabulous. I picked mine up in Pennsylvania while visiting the Amish. it was a trip I won't forget.

  1. Lori said...:

    Oh the Amish! I have long loved and respected their simple life and mastery of good food and quilt talent. I too hope to visit Pennsylvania one day.

  1. Miz Helen said...:

    Hi Gail,
    I am so happy to see you and I can't wait to try one of your Apple Dumplings. They look so delicious. I really enjoyed your post. Thank you so much for sharing with us at FULL PLATE THURSDAY and please come back!

  1. Pam said...:

    Wow, those dumplings look delicious. I'm a huge fan of Amish and Mennonite cooking. I'll have to check into that cookbook.

  1. Oh my goodness, Mrs. P! I live in the middle of all that Amish food, but in the Lancaster Pa area! We call it Dutchy food. If they can butter it, dump gravy on it, make it into a stuffing the Amish will. Their sweets are legendary! W really try hard to stay away from Dutcy food... I don't need any more help expanding my waistline!
    Love your dumpling picures! YUMMY! We eat them for breakfast with milk pour over them. I call it "eating legal pie".

  1. Picket said...:

    Hey girl....lordy those apple dumplings need a scratch and sniff patch!!!! lol There is a little cafe here in town that makes them and my mama loves them! Thanks for coming by...girl you must having the painting 'flu' to tackle so many projects...but I bet the results will be amazing...I have wanted to paint my top cabinets ever since I painted the bottoms...the black just calls me! lol Oh course I told hubby that we'd need new black & stainless appliances to go with the cabinets....had to drag out the smelling salts on him! lol lol Have a great week sweetie! Picket

  1. Diann said...:

    Oh yum! I bake a lot of apple dishes because apples are always the cheapest fruit regardless the time of the year. I will have to give this one a try next time.We have several large communities of the Amish here in Michigan. One of our favorite stores is an Amish store. We have bought most of our cast iron there and different baking wares.

  1. FABBY'S LIVING said...:

    I'm a native Newyorker and my father used to take us young kids on trips for the day in the summer to Amish country and we used to love it!

    Yummy, I love apple bakes, I will right away make your recipe. Thanks for sharing, I'm also your new follower. I'll be delighted to have you visit me.

  1. FABBY'S LIVING said...:

    First of all, thank you for your visit, I love new blog friends!
    Second thing...your children are just beautiful!

    God bless you and yours!

  1. Hi Gail, I'm so happy I stumbled across your nice blog. I have always wanted to spend time in Amish country. Your books look delighful. Oh my! I really want to try your apple dumplings. I am going to copy this off right now. Thank you!

  1. Gail, we have friends who live in Indiana amidst both Amish and Mennonite families. What delightful people -- and yes, they DO know how to cook!

  1. Missy said...:

    Omg! that looks sooo yummy! Im happy I found your blog because its so cute!


  1. Anita said...:

    I do not remember that show, but in the early 90s I was not watching PBS yet, lol. Now, that's about all I ever watch. The dumplings look soooo good!! I have determined that this year I will have to learn to garden and can and all that with food prices going so high. I was even thinking about getting chickens!! My mom will be ever so glad to show me how to do it all! Thanks for stopping by!!

  1. Hey Gail..great minds think alike! I've been cooking from my Amish cookbooks also! I checked out Amazon for the cookbooks you've shown..I think I may have to buy a few of them!

  1. Cathy said...:

    Hello, Gail ~
    I had many Amish friends when I lived in Wisconsin. The first co-op group I belonged to met in an Amish home for the meetings. That was before that settlement had a family that opened a drygoods. That is in Dalton, WI It's Mishler's Country store. If you ever get to that area, stop by! (I was blessed to be able to stop there and stock up this past fall when I went home for a visit).
    I love Marcia Adams cookbooks - great recipes and lots of interesting facts about the areas and traditions of the people. I have those books and also "Heartland".
    I have a few Amish cookbooks by Phyllis Pellman Good, "The Best of Amish Cooking" and "From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens". If you don't have those, maybe your library does?? Also the Amish Country Cookbook series by Das Dutchman Essenhaus is a collection of "authentic" Amish recipes. You should be able to buy these at an Amish drygoods (bulk food store).
    I love the cooking posts you are doing on cast iron cooking. I'm working on getting back to doing more of that this year :)
    Have a great week!

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