These sweet dumplings are a very popular German dessert. Serve Zwetschgenknbdeln (zwct-shen-k’ncr-dcl’n) with Creme a la

Vanille.– oz. fresh yeast

2 tablespoons plus – teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons warm water

10 oz. flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

4 fl. oz. lukewarm milk

1 oz. butter, melted

12 small blue plums, halved and stones removed

3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar

1 oz. butter

2 tablespoons sugar

4 fl. oz. milk

Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the ½ teaspoon of sugar with a kitchen fork. Add the water and cream the water and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 to 20 minutes or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, salt and remaining sugar into a warmed, large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast, milk and melted butter. Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquid.

Continue mixing until all the flour mixture is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough on to a lightly floured board or marble slab and knead it for about 5 minutes, reflouring the surface if the dough becomes too sticky. The dough should be elastic and smooth.

Rinse, thoroughly dry and lightly grease the large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and set it in a warm, draught-free place. Leave it for 1 hour or until the dough has risen and almost doubled in bulk.

Turn the risen dough out of the bowl on to a floured surface and knead it for about 4 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll out each piece into a small circle about 3-inchcs in diameter. Re-form whole plums with two halves and place one in the centre of each circle. Sprinkle over a little of the cinnamon sugar and enclose each plum completely with the dough.

Place the balls on a baking sheet, cover with a clean cloth and return the sheet to a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the balls have almost doubled in size.

To prepare the cooking liquid, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, stir in the sugar and milk. Bring the liquid to the boil. Carefully place the dumplings in one layer in the pan.

Cover the pan tightly, reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the dumplings have absorbed all the liquid. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the dumplings to a warmed serving dish and serve at once.

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