Germany loves dumplings. Lot's of different dumplings. There are dumplings made from potato, stale bread, semolina flour and polenta. Filled and plain. Sweet and salty. There are hundreds of dumpling recipes. I recently was gifted a wonderful book called “Omas Küchen” that is filled with old fashioned Schwäbisch recipes which are presented by several Omas. It also tells a little story about each of their lives and especially, in some cases, the weekly family menu. It’s funny (even to me) but quite common, that a family will eat certain things on certain days of the week. The roast on Sunday. Leftovers on Monday. Stew on Tuesday. A sweet dish on Wednesday. Vegetables on Thursday and so on. It’s a tradition that sounds very rigid but there is a certain comfort in the order. And I guess this helps with meal planning. Well, I’m not that organized...
Fruit filled dumplings are intended as a main meal. That's how I grew up and that’s how we eat them in our family, but they can obviously be a dessert. There are 3 different doughs that can be used to make the dumplings. Potato, Quark/Semolina or yeast. And the dumplings can be filled with different fruit, such as plums and very commonly apricots (they are called Marillenknödel if they are filled with apricots). I have also used blackberries or a dollop of jam.
For the Dough
- one recipee for dough (see below)
For the Filling
- 12 small apricots or 8 italian plums
- sugar cubes
- 1/3 cup plain, unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp soft unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- powdered sugar
- vanilla sauce
Make the dough according to recipes below. Wash, dry and remove the pits from the apricots or plums by cutting them open along the seams. Only cut half way! Replace the pit with a sugar cube.
Roll the dough into a long log and devide into 8-12 equal portions. Press each portion into a flat round disk. Place a sugar filled apricot or plum in the center and gently wrap the dough around, forming a neat ball, making sure that the entire fruit is covered.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a gentle simmer and carefully cook the dumplings for about 8 to 12 minutes or until they rise to the top. Do not let the water come to a rapid boil.
In the meantime melt the butter in a small saucepan and carefully roast the breadcrumbs until golden brown. Let cool and add the tablespoon of sugar. Remove the dumplings from the water with a slotted spoon, let them drain for a minute on a wire rack and then roll them in the breadcrumb and sugar mixture. Arrange on a plate and dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately!
Serve with Vanilla (go to recipe) or fruit sauce. To make a fruit sauce of plums, simply boil the fruit with some sugar and cinnamon. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to smooth the sauce.
These dumplings can also be filled with other fruit such as blackberries.
YEAST DOUGH FOR FRUIT FILLED DUMPLINGS
- 1 1/2 cups (250g) of white flour
- 1/2 packet of active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup (1/8 l) milk
- 2 tbsp (25g) soft unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 3 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
Dissolve the yeast in a small amount of warm water and let stand for several minutes to activate the yeast. Add the flour, sugar and salt to a mixing bowl. Heat the milk in a small saucepan to lukewarm together with the butter until the butter is completely melted. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture together with the yeast and the egg yolk. Knead into a smooth soft dough. Place it covered in a warm spot and
let rise for one hour, until the volume has about doubled.
QUARK DOUGH FOR FRUIT FILLED DUMPLINGS
- 1 pound fresh quark cheese (you can use a greek yogurt such as Fage and strain it for 2 hours or preferably over night)
- 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
- 2 tbsp (30g) soft unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 3/4 cup (120g) semolina flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) of white flour, plus more for forming
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Place the quark (or Fage) in a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth and let drain for an hour (or overnight). In a big bowl cream together the strained quark, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of soft butter, egg yolk, semolina flour, sugar, vanilla, and salt using a wooden spoon. When the mixture is well combined fold in the flour. Do not over-mix.
POTATO DOUGH FOR FRUIT FILLED DUMPLINGS
- 1 1/4 pound russet potatoes
- 1 cup (150g) of flour
- 3 tbsp (40g) soft unsalted butter
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Semolina flour
- pinch of salt
Boil the potatoes in their skins until soft. Peel and grate and let them sit for some time to cool and to get rid of any extra moisture, at least one hour. Add flour, butter, egg, salt and semolina flour and knead into a pliable, soft dough.
What if you cannot find quark or Fage? You can make it yourself by bringing 2 cups of whole milk to a very gentle simmer in a very clean pot. Let cool to room temperature and then whisk in a 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Let sit overnight at room temperature. It will thicken to a yogurt-like consistency. Strain it overnight in a cheesecloth-lined strainer in the fridge. Voilá, you have made quark!
SOURCE: ADAPTED FROM FAMILY RECIPES