When I was in Australia I met a lovely German girl called Marie. She told me about her grandmother’s wonderful plum dumplings that she ate as a child. It set my imagination rolling and I begged her for the plum dumplings recipe.
She contacted her dear Oma who was unfortunately in hospital and Marie was only able to get very thin details about the process and so from that point on, I was on my own.
Oma’s very loose instructions included one egg per person for the dough. Using potato dough with 40% to 50% potato to flour was about the right ratio. Possibly adding semolina or then again baking powder. However then she stated that she hadn’t used either recently and couldn’t remember if you should!
Oh great, lots to work on. Then Marie mentioned how they should look. Marie said the plum dumplings dough should not be too thick. This one below is close to perfect by Marie’s standards. Phew!
Marie’s Oma put the entire oval plum, uncut, unstoned into the dough. This is probably wonderful in the height of summer when the plums are really juicy, super sweet and soft.
However, as the Autumn plums are now quite dry, we preferred cutting open the fruit and stoning it, which is actually incredibly easy when they are on the drier side.
Then we sprinkled about 3/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar inside the plum before enclosing it in the dough. As the plum heats up, the sugar melts and you might be tempted into believing you are eating a doughnut! The fruit oozes out like homemade jam!
From further research, I learnt that in Poland, from where they apparently originate, they are rolled in butter-fried breadcrumbs after the plum dumplings have been cooked. I did try this, but personally, we preferred not to add more calories and liked to keep the flavours clean and simple.
But for sure, out there, there will be many who find this very appealing. In that case, just melt some butter and gently fry some breadcrumbs. Keep moving them until they turn golden brown and then add a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon sugar. Roll the plum dumplings in this once they have cooled enough to handle but make sure they are still slightly damp.
In Germany, Marie said that after cooking the plum dumplings, she would drizzle over melted butter and then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. This is definitely good too, but for us, once again, we felt the butter was not necessary (being of the age where every calorie counts!) and preferred them without.
WHEN SHOULD WE SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?
I have found that 2 of these after dinner is a delightful way to round off a meal. Marie told me though that it was normal in her family for the girls to be given around 6 and the boys would eat 10 to 12 of the little blighters!
The recipe below is for a healthy two dozen in total, which is about a kilo of the oval, darker type of plums which I found a little easier to work with.
I do hope you like these plum dumplings as much as we do. They are something that I have really enjoyed playing with in the kitchen and found the whole experience rather therapeutic. Certainly, they did not all look smooth and round and at times the dough split and I was left with a gaping hole. But absolutely none was wasted and I would implore you to give these a go if you feel like something really a bit different and definitely popular.
I recently took them to a small party and had wonderful feedback. They are very unusual and certainly get people talking!
Lastly, they can be eaten hot, cold or room temperature. We particularly liked them hot, although cold straight out of the fridge also does the trick!
PREPARING FOR A FEAST
I had no difficulties at all in preparing them the day before and then dropping the room temperature dumplings into boiling water for 90 seconds when ready to serve. Afterwards, plop them into a colander just for a minute to drain. They dry off very quickly. Plate them and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and serve with a dollop of plain yogurt. We are very keen on cutting the edge of sweetness with yogurt but of course for others, cream or ice cream might be preferred.
After many, many attempts I feel I finally got it right and hope you enjoy them as much as our neighbours did in the process. Since discovering this really simple but effective way to make faux doughnuts without lots of sugar, I have been distributing them around the block and clocking up lots of brownie points!
Although the original recipe called for potato in the dough mixture, I found I couldn’t get the dough smooth enough and after comparing with the final dough below, there was no real difference in flavour and the extra effort was wasted on us.
I hate to say it, but I think these beat Aşure, the infamous dessert also known as Noah’s Pudding, which is going round the neighbourhood at the moment!
- 2 cups plain flour
- 1 Tbsp melted butter
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup lukewarm milk
- 24 plums
- 10 tsp sugar
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- Wash plums and let dry
- Combine the flour, melted butter, egg yolks, and warm milk and mix until you have a smooth dough that is a little stretchy.
- Cover and leave to stand for half an hour or so
- Cut a slit in each plum down one side and remove the stone
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well
- Fill each hinged plum with around ¾ tsp of cinnamon sugar
- Put a large pot of water on the stove with 1 tsp salt and heat to boil
- Work dough on a floured surface into a long sausage roll about 2.5cm in diameter
- Cut the long roll into 3 equal rolls
- Divide the first roll into 8 equal little pieces
- Roll a small piece into a circle about 3mm thick and cup it in one hand
- Take a hinged, filled plum and place it closed into the dough in your other hand
- Gently smooth over the edge, rolling it around in your hand over and over until it is sealed and smooth
- If it will not seal, use a dab of water, however generally I found it better to work with totally dry hands to accomplish the best results
- Place the dumpling on a well-floured plate or back onto the floured surface
- Depending on the size of the pot generally, 12 dumplings can be dropped carefully into the boiling water at a time
- For the first 20 seconds ensure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pot or each other
- They say they are ready when they float but I found they still need minimum 10 to 12 minutes
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place into a colander
- After draining for a minute you can put them on a plate and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top or some may prefer to roll them in it to make them even sweeter.
- At this point, they will no longer stick to anything except your tummy!