Serving a dumpling is like serving a little package of love.

Making individual servings of anything is special. And this apple neatly tucked inside a pastry dough glistening with spicy syrup is truly a treat.

For this recipe, it’s best to use tart, small apples instead of large ones because of the time it takes to bake an apple.

The dough is a simple, buttery pastry that’s firm enough to hold up during the basting and baking. Most of the old dumpling recipes call for shortening, but I use butter in this recipe. If the dough is too soft to roll out easily, you may want to chill it for a while and then roll it out.

Measure and get everything ready before you start. Peeling and coring the apples takes the longest. Since they will darken after you peel them, I usually rub them with lemon juice or lemon water.

The sugar, cinnamon and cream mixture for inside the apple can be stirred up and waiting and the spicy syrup can also be ready to go.

Corinne Cook is a columnist for The Advocate. Reach her at food@theadvocate.com.