There's been a heated debate amongst the co-organisers for this event, Jeanne and Andrew, over whether the theme I have chosen is appropriate and you might have found yourself reacting in the same way as Andrew when you read the title... "Dumplings? That's very wintery!" I beg to disagree. Yes, some dumplings are very stodgy and comforting and yell "cuddle-up-in-front-of-the-fireplace" at you. These are usually the ones that consist only of dough, in whichever incarnation, and accompany roast meats or stews. But they can also be filled with meat or vegetables... those are the ones that our foodblogging friends in the Southern Hemisphere will find most comforting to make.
For those among us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, let me tell you that dumplings can be VERY summery, indeed! In fact, where I come from, they abound in the summer and you can't run far enough not to encounter one at every corner. In the summer, when the fruit harvest is in full swing, my Mum used two bring home crate after crate of deliciously ripe fruit: apricots, plums, peaches, strawberries, currants... the list goes on. And she would instantly transform them into four things: jam, cordial/syrup, compote and... DUMPLINGS. For me, picking fruit in the summer and eating dumplings goes hand in hand. Convinced?
Now, I realise that you might have had a different upbringing and are unfamiliar with fruit dumplings, but to make life easier, I will give you some basic recipes and challenge you to try your hand at making some. Exploring new cuisines, trying new techniques and putting a new twist on an old and trusted recipe: that's what foodblogging is all about, right? Recipes follow below.
Although the most fitting at least for out half of the globe, fruit dumplings are not the only ones I am going to accept, and here are the rules for what I will and won't let pass as dumpling:
- Any kind of dough (see recipes below) that is wrapped around a filling of some sort (fruit, meat, vegetable, etc) and rolled into dumplings, then cooked.
- Dumplings can be boiled, steamed or baked: not fried.
- Dumplings can be refined after cooking by dusting with sugar, rolling in crumbs, smothering in butter and herbs, etc
- Your dumpling MUST have a filling.
- In that vein, over and above the traditional central European way of dealing with dumplings, I am also accepting all kinds of dim sum and ravioli/tortellini etc, but not doughnuts (because they're fried), gnocci or spaetzle, even though I would argue that the latter are mini-versions of dumplings. But this time, we're going big and bold, just because that's how I like it.
Here's how to participate:
- Between now and the 30th of June, post a dumpling recipe fitting the above rules.
- The recipe must have been created specifically for this event, or at least you should not "recycle" an old post. If something is lurking in your "coming soon" folder that fits the bill, but you haven't posted yet, by all means use it. Additionally, you can add links to simliar, older posts on your site, if you wish.
- Include a link to this announcement and eventually a link to the round-up, if you can.
- Send me and email with the following information:
- your name
- your blog's name
- your dishes name
- a permalink to your recipe
- if the picture of your dish is not in a jpg or similar format that I can lift from your site (eg if you only have a slide show or flash movie of your dish), please send me an image you would like me to include.
Basic dumpling dough recipes:
Potato dough (makes about 20 dumplings)
500 g floury potatoes (peeled)
ca. 150 g flour
1 small egg
Cook the potatoes (without peeling or cutting them) until tender. Peel and mash with a fork or potato ricer (don't be tempted to use an electric whisk, or you'll end up with a glue-like mass that is impossible to work). When the potatoes have cooled down just enough to be able to handle them with your bare hands, add the egg and flour, season with salt and knead into a smooth dough.
Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions, flatten them in your hands and put a ball of filling of your choice in the middle. Roll the dumplings with floury hands, making sure that the filling is well envelopped and the dough closes tightly around them.
Choux pastry dough (makes roughly 16 dumplings)
250 ml water
pinch of salt
40 g butter
250 g all-purpose flour
Heat the water with the salt, dissolving the butter in it. Add all the flour, then carefully work to a smooth dough with a wooden spatula. Leave to cool a little (you can place it in a bath of cool water, to accelerate this process), then add the egg and continue beating with your spatula until the dough comes of the sides of the bowl. This takes quite some time and needs some muscle, so if you can convince a strong and able man to do it for you, be my guest!
Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead (adding flour if necessary) until you think you can form patties out of it. Form a roll, cut off about 16 equal-sized portions of dough (depending on how much filling you have, you might yield more or less dumplings). Form a flat patty, put the dough in the middle and carefully pull the dough to envelop the filling. You want the dough to be as thin as possible, to make the filling be the prominent taste.
Roll the dumpling in your floured hands until round and smooth, giving the filling no chance to escape.
Curd dough (for sweet fillings, makes about 12 small dumplings)
250 g curd (10% fat)*
1 tbsp butter
120 g bread flour
1 pinch salt
1 pinch vanilla sugar
zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Work all ingredients into a smooth dough. Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Envelop filling with a thin layer of dough, rolling with floured or wet hands to form a smooth, round dumpling.
* Curd is available at Sainsbury's here in the UK, under the label "Quark". This would be the best suited. You can use ricotta as well, but it tends to be wetter, so you might need to up the quantity of flour.
How to cook your dumplings:
For savoury fillings, you can now either drop them into a pot of boiling water (add a pinch of salt, too), bring back to a simmer and cook them until they surface (cooking time should be about 15 minutes), or (for fillings that have previously been cooked) place them in a baking dish, proceeding as in the Speckknödel recipe here.
For sweet fillings, you can put them into a pot of boiling water (add a pinch of salt, too) bring back to a simmer and cook
them until they surface (cooking time should be about 15 minutes).
You can then roll them in browned bread or brioche crumbs, nuts, poppyseeds with a bit of sugar etc (see my threesome of curd dumplings post for some ideas).
Here are some more ideas for dumplings, central-European style:
Meat-filled dumplings (Hascheeknoedel): this recipe can be used for all kinds of relatively dry savoury fillings, so you could experiment with vegetables as well.
Dumpling parade: this post has a variety of recipes, including a potato dough for savoury fillings, a steamed yeast dumpling filled with jam, and a curd dumpling recipe which can be used for stuffing with soft fruit (strawberries).