Knedle. Also known as plum dumplings. Freshly made pasta envelopes only just soft plums and oozes the sweetest of juices when broken. Ribboned with the tiniest drizzle of sour cream and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar, they are simply delicious.
September is the month to be celebrating plums in all their glory.That almost velvet like appearance with their deep flesh colours. The joy of splitting one open into almost perfect halves. The juice that runs down your chin as you bite into one of them. The flavour that is both tart and sweet at the same time.
I suspect the idea of pasta and fruit combination might be foreign to a few of you. But I assure you, it works well. You might recall another recipe using the same combo I blogged about here.These dumplings are traditional and this is my Mum’s recipe that has been modified slightly. The pasta is made with the addition of cold mashed potato meaning it is a soft and pliable dough, a pleasure to work with. And a perfect way to use up any left over potatoes. It really is one of the easiest and most forgiving pasta recipes and is best made by hand rather than in a machine. Traditionally the dumplings would be filled with fresh prunes. But since I could not find any prunes locally and instead glorious Marjorie plums had caught my eye with their large, purple-blue fruits, they went in as a replacement. Meaning my dumplings were bigger than normal in size. No one complained.
The slight change I have introduced to my family recipe is the addition of quark to the pasta. Or curd cheese. I find that it results in an even softer dough as well as adding extra tangy notes that offset the sweet juices of the plums. My preference is for quark because of its smooth texture. However a well milled curd cheese also works well. What is important here is to ensure that you sweeten the plums well to counterbalance their tartness. I would suggest you taste the plums beforehand so that you have an idea how much sugar they might need. Therefore please remember the sugar quantities given below are rough and might need to be adjusted. Here is the recipe:
- 250 grams of cold mashed potatoes (cooked the previous day in salted water)
- 250 grams of quark or curd cheese, milled
- 1 egg
- 750 – 1000 grams of plain flour
- 1 kg of fresh plums, halved and de-stoned
- extra cinnamon sugar, see note below
- sour cream for serving
To start with, place 750 grams of flour in a large bowl or onto your worktop. Make a well and add to it the mashed potato, quark and the egg. Bring all the ingredients together into a pliable dough. You may need to add more flour and this will depend on the potato, some need more flour, some don’t. You are looking for a dough that is soft but does not stick to you hands. Once you achieve that texture, you are ready to start shaping.
Set your prepared plums on a plate next to the dough. Same with the sugar – you will need a small teaspoon too.
Sprinkle the worktop with a light dusting of flour and remove a small piece of dough. You can either roll it out using a rolling pin or try flattening it in the palm of your hand. You want it fairly thin but thick enough so it doesn’t rip. Place one plum half into the circle of dough, cut side up. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar into the stone cavity and place the other plum half on top so that you end up with a whole plum again. Carefully bring the dough around the fruit and pinch the edges sealing it completely. Gently roll it around in your hands to form a ball. The smaller the plums, the neater the dumplings.
Continue with the rest of your dough and plums until you have no fruit left. Set each dumpling aside on the floured worktop.
In the meantime bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Place 3 to 4 dumplings in the water ensuring you don’t overcrowd your pan. Allow the water to come back up to the boil and watch the dumplings. Once they float up to the surface, allow them to cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the water and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.
Drizzle with the faintest ribbon of sour cream and add a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. This is simply made by mixing sugar with cinnamon. I am particularly fond of plum and cinnamon combo.
Break the dumplings open and enjoy their juicy, pink sweetness. Don’t forget to mop up. Every. Single. Drop. Pure joy.
If you find yourself with any leftovers, simply fry them off in some brown butter until deep golden brown crusts form. Treat them to cinnamon sugar coating and devour hot straight from the pan. Enjoy x