Plum Dumplings


Plum DumplingsFew childhood food memories excite my taste buds with anticipation as Plum Dumplings still do.  My mother knew exactly how to get this pickiest of eaters to stuff herself if only for one night.  I think my mothers’ addition to the recipes was the brown sugar to sweeten the crumbs.  She knew very well I would eat anything if it was sweet.  The Plum Dumplings were always served with pork of some kind and carrot salad with pineapple and raisins with Miracle Whip (that’s right, not mayonnaise)!

With Italian plums available only once a year, I busily make these by the dozens, setting aside any other responsibilities for the time being so the plum dumplings can be rationed out over the year.  That’s what I always hope for, but they are usually gone in a few months leaving me to wait for the next late August – all the while anticipating my childhood delight.

The small Italian plum is split open and the seed is replaced with a sugar cube.  These are then wrapped in a potato dough and boiled for a few minutes.  A quick turn in buttered, sweetened breadcrumbs finishes this treat. When the plum dumplings are pierced, the juice of the plum and the melted sugar form a sauce.  Fantastic when just out of the water, these are also good room temperature and cold. We always make enough so we can have them for breakfast the next morning!  I can also see them as dessert.  Of course, I can see them any time of the day – or night if you find yourself awake.

So I encourage you to come back to my childhood with me and savor the plum dumpling of my dreams.

Plum Dumplings
1 large baking potato
16 Italian blue prune plums
16 sugar cubes
2 1/2 cups flour (350 grams)
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter
2 eggs, beaten

Peel the potato and cut into 1-inch dice.  Cut potatoes for Plum DumplingsCover with water, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook until soft but not mushy.  Fit a mixer with the whisk attachment and mash the potato.  The whisk makes them smoother an fluffier than a paddle.   Measure 1 1/4 cups and cool completely.Beaten mashed potatoes for Plum Dumplings

In the meantime, pit the plums and place the cubes of sugar in the voids. Set aside.Plums cut in half with sugar for Plum Dumplings

Add the flour and salt to the mixer bowl.  Cut the butter into pieces and add to the bowl. Mix at medium until the butter is cut in.  Butter added to flour for Plum Dumplings

Add the mashed potatoes and beat until they are completely combined.  The mixture will look sandy.

Butter cut in for Pum DumplingsAdd the eggs Eggs added to dough for Plum Dumplingsand mix completely until a soft dough forms.Finished dough in bowl for Plum Dumpings

Knead several times to bring the dough together.  Kneaded dough for Plum DumplingsOn a floured board, roll the dough into a 16”x16” rectangle. Dough rolled out for Plum DumplingsCut into 4” squares.  Dough cut into squares for Plum DumplingsPut a plum in the center of the square.  Plum in center of dough for Plum DumplingsPull up corners and pinch very well to seal all edges. Dough pinched together for Plum Dumplings Roll between palms of your hands to make a round dumpling.  Rolling between hands for Plum DumplingsPlace on a parchment covered tray until ready to cook.Tray of Plum Dumplings

Bring 6 to 8 quarts of water to a boil.  Add 2 tablespoons of salt.

Crumb Garnish
1 stick butter
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1 cup brown sugar, packed

While the water is coming to a boil, melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Melted butter for Plum Dumplings Add the breadcrumbs and toast to a medium brown.  Browned crumbs for Plum DumplingsRemove from the heat and stir in the brown sugar.  Set aside.Brown sugar added in for Plum DuplingsAdd about 6 to 8 dumplings to the boiling water, depending upon the size of your pan.  Dumplings going into water for Plum DumplingsDo not overcrowd.  Cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.  They will float to the top when they are done. Immediately remove from the water with a slotted spoon Dumplings coming from water for Plum Dumplingsand transfer immediately to the crumb mixture.  Roll gently to coat completely.  Repeat with remaining dumplings.  Sprinkle with additional crumbs over the plum dumplings.Rolling dumplings in bread crumbs for Plum DumplingsServe warm, room temperature or cold.  Refrigerate any leftovers.

These freeze very well.  Line a sheet with waxed paper or foil.  Place the uncooked plum dumplings on it and freeze solid.  Transfer to freezer-proof bags.  If cooking from the frozen state cook for 18 to 20 minutes.  Finish as above.Plum Dumplings

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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12 thoughts on “Plum Dumplings

  1. Sally Schmied Johnson

    This recipe sounds wonderful. I will try it. Years ago my German Grandma made a plum cake, with the sliced plums on the top. I have never been able to figure out how to make it. She had no recipes, she did everything from memory.
    Also, I have been making shortbread cookies with my granddaughter, and always have a hard time getting tho dough out of the mold. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Sally, I have seen plum upside down cakes where the plums are put in the bottom of the pan, the batter poured over and baked. When it is turned out, the plums are on top.

      What kind of mold are you using and how are you preparing it?

  2. Dolores

    Hi Helen! I adore them! In Germany, when I was a child, my Mother would serve these Zwetschgenknodel as a thrifty main meal, with a filling soup before. My Hungarian mother-in-law serves them as a dessert, accompanied by a bowl of honey sweetened sour cream.. So wonderful!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Delores. Thanks for sharing. As a child, we didn’t have a lot of money but my mother could make the most delicious food. It wasn’t expensive ingredients but I also remember kidney stew and polenta that I loved.

  3. ED

    Helen –

    I apologize for dropping this here, but I had a quick question for you. I am in the process of researching double wall ovens for volume baking at home (selling goods at Farmers’ markets).

    Do you happen to have any recommendations for brands/models?

  4. Janet Laudenslager

    I am so wanting to make these, and I so much else to do. These look adorable. There are first on the list for after my upcoming event. Thanks, Helen. For me, this will be something entirely new.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Janet – These are definitely “old world” but mother was from Yugoslavia where plums were used a lot. Slivovitz, a plum brandy, is made from plums and the only thing stronger I have tasted was a rhubarb liquor my husband brought home from an assignment. It was near lethal!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Judy – thank you so much for bringing this omission to my attention. I added this sentence to the blog, right after the butter is cut in, “Add the mashed potatoes and beat until they are completely combined.  The mixture will look sandy.”  

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