Autumn has already arrived in Graz and I am still clinging to the last rays of summer. I didn’t eat nearly enough apricots this summer- the unusually warm year meant an early crop and I just wasn’t expecting it!
Not to fear though, the farmer’s stands are still selling the last of these especially tasty fruits.
My favorite way to save the flavor of summer is by making dumplings- whether you use plums, peaches or apricots, this is a quick, relatively healthy and easy way to preserve summer fruit. I started with about a little over a kilo of apricots. They should be relatively small unless you have room in your freezer for huge dumplings.
Ingredients for the Apricot Dumplings:
- 1 kilo of small-medium sized apricots
- about 25 sugar cubes
- 250 grams Topfen¹
- a pinch of salt
- two eggs
- 500g flour + flour for forming the dumplings²
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/2 Liter -3/4 Liter whole milk
¹ I used Topfen with about 20% fat, but I have also mixed low-fat and 20% together in the past and the flavor was still good! If you are reading in America you can try substituting mascarpone cheese, though you may need to use a little extra flour when you’re forming the dough.
² Spar makes really nice universal use gluten-free flour! It is a bit smoother than regular flour and you may have to use a little extra in the recipe, but I don’t notice a difference in the flavor at all. The texture is slightly smoother than regular flour.
Ingredients for the Topping (for 6 dumplings):
- 6-8 T butter
- about 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs*
- cinnamon to taste
- powdered sugar for sprinkling
*You can also buy gluten-free breadcrumbs at Spar. Look for the crumbled Zwieback panko-topping 🙂
Instructions for Making the Dough:
- First, take your topfen or mascarpone cheese out of the package and add to a large bowl. Beat with a spoon or whisk until smooth. Add both eggs and mix until smooth.
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Mix well. Two pinches of salt was perfect for my taste.
- Next, slowly add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients (topfen and eggs). Take two large spoonfuls of flour and begin mixing it into the wet ingredients scoop by scoop. When the dough starts to get stiff, add a splash of milk. Keep alternating between adding flour and milk until you have added all the flour. The mixture will be sticky (especially if you used gluten-free flour) but firm.
- Lastly, slice a vanilla bean down the middle. Scoop out the mark on both sides of the bean and mix it into your dough. Add a bit more milk if necessary. Adding vanilla adds flavor without adding more sugar 🙂
- Now, set your dough aside for a few minutes. Resting will allow it to firm up a bit more.
Making the Dumplings
- While your dough is resting, wash your apricots. Slice them down the middle and remove their stones and stems. Replace the stone with a sugar cube and put them back together.
- I find that gluten-free dough is too sticky to roll out. Not a big deal though! Instead, wet your hands and dip them in your bag of flour to coat. This keeps the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Next, scoop a palm sized amount of dough out of your bowl. Sprinkle a bit more flour on top of the dough and press it into a flat circle.
- Take the first of your apricots and place it in the center of your circle of dough. Wrap your hand around the apricot and push the sides of dough up and around it to seal the dumpling.
- Next, place your dumpling in the middle of your palm and press firmly on both sides to make sure the dough is sealed. Do not hulk smash. Pressure should be firm but not violent 😉
- Make all of your fruit into dumplings and set aside on a plate.
If you are going to freeze your dumplings, stop here. Follow these instructions:
Add the dumplings to freezer bags slowly. Add the first into the first bottom corner of the bag and press the bag flat around the dumpling. Add the second dumpling into the second bottom corner and press the bag flat. If you like, twist the bag once in the middle. Keep adding dumplings like this until the bag is full, then tie off. I like to freeze mine in groups of four for easy meals.
Want to eat a few dumplings now? Here’s how to cook them 🙂
Instructions for Cooking Dumplings
- Take a large pot, fill it 1/2 way up with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a low boil.
- While the water is boiling, take a large frying pan out and set it on the stove over medium heat.
- Melt about 4 T of butter in the pan, then add about a cup of breadcrumbs and stir until fully mixed together
- Allow the breadcrumbs to brown in the pan, adding more butter if necessary. It is best to cook your breadcrumbs in multiple batches so that they brown nicely without being pushed out of the pan. I need little over one cup of breadcrumbs for six dumplings.
- Once the water has boiled, reduce the temperature to medium heat.
- Add the dumplings one by one with a spoon. Careful that they don’t splash!
- 4-6 dumplings can usually fit the pot at one time. It is ok if they touch each other, just make sure they are not smashed.
- Fresh dumplings take about 7-8 minutes to cook. You want the sugar cube to melt without the dough to fall apart.
- Frozen dumplings will need about 10-15 minutes to cook, depending on how long they have been frozen and how big they are. It’s always a good idea to test one first!
- When your dumplings are finished cooking, they should be puffy and more buoyant. Take them out of the water one by one and roll them around in the breadcrumbs directly in the pan.
- Garnish with more bread crumbs, powdered sugar and sprinkled cinnamon.
*recipe adapted from an old Kleine Zeitung recipe 🙂