October 21, 2009

Zwetschgenknödel or Plum Dumplings

Okay, now I really have been remiss. I've been quasi-busy with school and a bit busier than that with work. I've also been having some bad luck - I recently fell off a horse and hurt my bank and hip, that injury turned into a pinched sciatic nerve, and on Monday I rolled my ankle really badly and have a very bad sprain. But today I did a presentation in my grad level German class and I'm tired and am not planning on doing any work tonight. So here's a post about something I made a while ago. Plum dumplings. They are a traditional German dish (in German: Zwetschgenknödel) that Anders family makes every summer. They can really only be made (and enjoyed) when plums are in season. In Ontario, that means the end of August. Anders and I made them one night shortly before school started.

We began by making the dough, which is very simple - flour, eggs, butter and Quark cheese.

We mixed the ingredients together by hand until they come together into a nice soft, sticky ball. The dough had to be cooled for an hour after that.

While the dough was in the fridge, we worked on our plums... and our apricots. That's a variation Anders' family loves to do.

After washing the fruit, we cut a slit down one side and pulled out the stones. You absolutely need freestone fruit for this, or you'll just want to die.

Next, we replaced the stone with a sugar cube.

Once we'd replaced all our stones with sugar cubes and our dough was cooled, we tore off small pieces of dough and flattened them out. These we used to cover each plum or apricot.

This is trickier than it may seem. The dough is sticky, and the fruit is somewhat wet/juicy. So between the dough sticking to your hands, and the juice from the fruit making the dough wet and not sticky, covering all the fruit takes some time and patience.

To cook these bad boys, we brought a large pot of water to a boil and dropped them in. The dumplings are finished then they float to the top.

We set the finished ones in a colander to drain.

And this is the final and most important step. We each took as many dumplings as we could fit on our plates and in our stomachs, cut them into bite-size pieces and covered them with cinnamon sugar (Anders also put melted butter on his, which is traditional, but I never do it).

And there you have a delicious, traditionally German MAIN COURSE. I'm serious! No one ever believes that this is a main course dish, but it is! Which is not to say that they don't also make a delicious dessert, it's just not traditional.
I have to apologise for not posting this sooner, as plums are definitely out of season in most places (although it is spring in the southern hemisphere...). But it's something to look forward to through the long winter months ahead of us.


Zwetschgenknödel or Plum Dumplings

350 grammes flour
1-2 eggs
40 grammes butter
250 grammes Quark

Pinch of salt
50 prune plums
50 sugar cubes
Bowl of sugar


Mix and knead flower, eggs, butter and Quark thoroughly until smooth. If sticky, use more flour. Cool ball of dough in refrigerator for 1 hour. Meanwhile, wash and dry the plums. Slit plums along one side and replace stones with sugar cubes. When the dough is cool, form it into a thick roll. Cut off small pieces, and knead into flat thin wraps. Wrap each plum in dough.
Drop dumplings into slightly salted boiling water. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until dumplings rise to the surface. Remove gently and place into colander to let the water run off. Serve in a large warm bowl with cinnamon sugar and melted butter on the side.

Guten Appetit!


BRG said...

Yay! Thank you Cathlin, I've been checking every day to see what new creations you might post. Megan calls these plum pierogies. Could it also be translated that way?

Cathlin said...

Well, the word "Knödel" is only translated as "dumpling" as far as I know, but it's possible that Megan's family uses a different recipe, and perhaps those ones ARE pierogies. I've seen recipes similar to this that use mashed up potato rather than Quark, so perhaps those are the pierogie ones!