23 May 2010

Apricot Dumplings

Sweet dumplings are a regional specialty of Southern Germany and Austria, and there are two I am particularly fond of, steamed poppy seed dumplings and apricot dumplings. The latter are called 'Marillenkn√∂del', marille is simply the southern name for apricot. These dumplings are very easy to make, and are delicious as a main course - serve two per person - or desert (one will suffice). You need to prepare a quark-based dough at least two hours in advance; I prefer to do this the evening before if I want to eat these for lunch, and the remaining cooking time will be no more than twenty minutes. 

Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to buy quark, a soft curd cheese. I believe you could easily substitute with fromage blanc or frais. If you cannot get that either, experiment with a mixture of yoghurt and thick cream such as mascarpone. You are aiming for a soft but not runny consistency, somewhat thicker than yoghurt. The following quantities will make 4 large dumplings.

For the dough, you need:
125 g quark
125 g flour
1 egg
75 g soft butter

You will further need:
4 apricots
4 lumps of sugar (or substitute 4 teaspoons of thick honey)
apricot brandy or fruit juice, very little thereof
75 g butter
100 g sugar
100 g breadcrumbs

Combine the ingredients for the dough and mix until you have a smooth batter. Cover and rest in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.

Wash and half the apricots, remove the stone. Fill the fruit a lump of sugar, drizzle some brandy or fruit juice on this. You can easily replace the lump sugar with a teaspoon full of thick (not runny) honey. Quarter the dough, take one piece at a time and flatten out with your hand until large enough to cover the apricot. Place the apricot on this and encase in the batter.

In a large pan of plain boiling water, boil the dumplings for 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the sweet breadcrumbs: melt your butter, add the sugar and melt, then add the breadcrumbs. If you use caster sugar, you should get sweet caramelised breadcrumbs. This time, I had run out of caster sugar and used muscovado, the result was different but still delicious, more like a caramel sauce. Remove the dumplings from the pan and roll in the breadcrumbs.


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