Though he comes from a line of bakers, Eric Wolitzky was slow to join the family business. He acted in a soap opera (Another World). He got a master’s degree. Then everything changed. “I was working in a law firm in the World Trade Center on 9/11,” he says. “Afterwards, all I could think was, ‘I need to start doing what I really feel in my heart.’” So he went to culinary school. After stints in New York City and on Top Chef: Just Desserts, he settled in Atlanta, where he creates throwbacks such as this stuffed apple dumpling. Part apple pie, part caramel-coated Halloween apple, it’s the ultimate stand-alone Thanksgiving treat.
Food & Drink
Baked Apple Dumpling
Part apple pie and part caramel-coated Halloween apple
photo: Squire Fox
Cream Cheese Dough
2 1/4 cups flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into large chunks
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. vodka
1/2 cup pecans
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 tsp. plus 2 tsp. cinnamon
6 firm sweet apples, such as Golden Delicious or Gala
1 egg white
1/4 cup sugar
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tbsp. bourbon
For the dough:
In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt. Add cream cheese and pulse 5–10 times, until incorporated. Add butter and pulse 15 times, until sandy and lumpy. Add water and vodka and pulse 20–30 times, until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.
For the apple:
Adjust oven rack to center. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray. In a dry skillet, toast pecans for 8–10 minutes, until fragrant. Remove nuts from heat, chop, and stir together with butter, brown sugar, zest, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Trim off bottom of each apple so it sits flat. Then cut it across the equator, leaving about ²⁄³ of the apple on the base and maintaining a good-size top. Peel only the bottom half of each apple, and remove core and seeds from both halves with a melon scoop. Fill bottom cavities with pecan mixture.
Divide cream cheese dough into six pieces. Roll each into a circle, and wrap around the bottom half of the apple, folding and crimping to enclose fruit entirely. Replace the top of the apple. Secure with toothpicks.
Beat egg white with a fork until foamy. Mix sugar and remaining cinnamon, and spread out on a plate. Use a brush to paint egg white over the sides of the dough, then roll apples in the cinnamon sugar. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Bake apples for 35 minutes, until the dough is toasty brown. Remove to a cooling rack to rest for 10 minutes. Discard toothpicks, and serve with warm bourbon caramel sauce.
For the sauce:
Whisk together creams, and warm in a small saucepan.
In another pan, combine sugar, water, and corn syrup. Boil, without stirring, until mixture turns a light amber. Whisk in bourbon carefully. Whisk in cream mixture, and remove pan from heat. Transfer to a boat or pitcher. Allow the sauce to cool slightly and thicken.
Recipe from Eric Wolitzky of the former Cakes & Ale, in Decatur, Georgia
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