Father’s Day wasn’t on the radar when I was a child so it was only in the last years of his life that my father benefitted from it. Not surprisingly it is another American import.
It origins date back to 1909 when Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington State was listening to a Mothering Sunday service and she wondered why Fathers did not have their own celebration day. Sonora had lost her own mother when she gave birth to her sixth child. It was the norm in those days for the father to remarry quickly to have a new mother for the children. But her father, William Stewart, a veteran of the US Civil War, decided he would bring up the children on his own. Sonora realised how strong her father had been and was aware of and grateful for his sacrifices.
The following year on 19th June, her father’s birthday, she held an observance day to honour her father. A Bill was introduced in 1913 to try and have Father’s Day recognised as a holiday and in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak to a Father's Day celebration. The US Congress resisted making it an official holiday fearing that it would be commercialised. How right they were! The Bill was defeated at several attempts and it wasn’t until 1957 when Senator Margaret Chase Smith, a relative, wrote a proposal accusing the congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honouring mothers. In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson made a proclamation for the third Sunday of June to be Father's Day but it took until 1972 to make the day official. Nowadays the day is used to treat father’s to their favourite meal. This was my father’s favourite picnic treat.
|12oz (350g) shortcrust pastry
||A little milk for brushing
|2 medium Bramley apples
||A little caster sugar for sprinkling
|4 large teaspoons of mincemeat
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Roll out the pastry to form a rectangle approx 7” by 14” (18cm x 36m). Cut in two to make two 7” squares (18cm).
- Peel the cooking apples and slice in half vertically.
- Scoop out the core (I use a melon baller) and remove the stalk etc.
- Fill the scooped out area of one half of the apple with mincemeat and place the other half over the top.
- Place the apple in the centre of one of the squares of pastry and draw up the corners and then the sides to completely encase the apple in pastry. Squeeze the joins together and form the dumpling into as neat a shape as possible. Repeat with second apple.
- Stand the apples with the joined side of the pastry downwards, in a roasting tin.
- Make a small slit in the top and brush the pastry with the milk and sprinkle with the caster sugar.
- Bake for 30 mins.
I made these recently (it’s a good way to use up the last dregs of the Christmas mincemeat) and could not believe it when my Official Taster said he had never had an apple dumpling before. Good grief!