These lovely warm plum dumplings (zwetschgenknödel) with a crispy bread crumb coating are my way of saying farewell to summer. What a year it has been so far! In the blink of an eye summer is almost over. To me it feels like something is missing. Time is running much too far, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I still have many summer recipes in my drafts folder. But I know I cannot squeeze them in here in the next few weeks. The mornings are already chilly and the evenings are dark. Also, I feel like I have worked way to much and did too few things I love. It was impossible to catch up. I am struggling to find a balance.
And still, baking and cooking helps me cope. Assembling ingredients, kneading dough, waiting for food to get cooked. It’s relaxing. So, let’s finally talk about these plum dumplings. They are made with the sweet, juicy Italian plums pictured above. And the best part is: you get to replace the pit with a piece of rock candy or a sugar cube! While the dumplings are simmering the sugar melts and when you cut them open a sweet velvety liquid is released, which makes these dumplings look super dramatic.
A similar version of this dish is called Marillenknödel and they are made with Marillen (apricots). Both recipes are very popular in Austria, Southern Germany, and East Europe. They can be served as lunch or as a dessert.
Sweet, warm lunches like these dumplings, rice puddings, semolina puddings, or pancakes are super popular all over Germany. Although I must admit, I am not a fan. I prefer these Zwetschgenknödel as a dessert. The recipe makes seven dumplings and if you want to make these as a main dish, it will serve two to three persons, depending on their appetite. If you feel more like making them for dessert the dumplings are great with vanilla ice cream, too.
Traditionally, there are two possibilities to make zwetschgenknödel dough: You can prepare a quark (curd cheese) based recipe or a potato based one. While many vegan recipes are based on the curd cheese version, I opted for the potato dough. Potatoes are not only delicious, they are also much more accessible than vegan quark or curd cheese for some people. When you make these, it is important that you use really starchy potatoes. Otherwise the dough won’t hold together and you will end up with a mushy purée instead.
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Plum Dumplings (Zwetschgenknödel)
- 450 g starchy potatoes
- 130 g flour (1 cup + 1 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 30 g semolina (3 tbsp)
- 1 tsp lemon peel
- oil for shaping the dumplings
- 130 g margarine, divided (½ cup + 1 tbsp)
- 100 g bread crumbs (2 ¼ cups)
- 7 Italian plums
- 7 pieces rock candy (optional), or sugar cubes
- Wash the plums and cut them halfway to remove the pits. Set aside.
- Place the potatoes in a large pot with water and boil for 20 minutes, until tender.
- Immediately peel the hot potatoes and place in a bowl.
- Mash with the potato masher or a fork.
- Add 30 g (2 tbsp) margarine and make sure the potatoes are mashed very finely.
- Add semolina, flour, sugar and lemon peel. Mix with your hands until you have a soft and slightly sticky dough.
- Bring 2 litres of water to a boil in a large pot.
- Divide the dough into 7 equally sized pieces.
- Place a little bit of oil in your hands to help shaping the dumplings and keep the dough from sticking.
- Place a piece of sugar in each plum.
- Shape one piece of dough into a disk and fold the dough around the plums.
- Place in boiling water, reduce temperature and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add remaining margarine to a pan and melt. Add bread crumbs and toast for a few minutes.
- Roll the dumplings in the breadcrumb mixture and serve topped with powdered sugar.