Austrian apricot dumplings
Marillenknödl is one of those magic words that conjures up smiles on the faces of the people around. When I promised my friend to make a load for her housewarming party, she was a bit like a five year old on his birthday, face lit up and eyes glowing.
No surprise. Marillenknödl an Austrian dessert dumpling wrapped around a fresh apricot. And if those Austrians know one thing, it’s how to do desserts! It combines the sour-sweetness of apricots tightly wrapped in a hearty dough, rolled in a sweet crisp sugar cinnamon coating.
Apparently, there’s a bit of an argument about what the right dough is for the dumplings. One side says only flour based doughs are right, others think potato dough is the only way to go. For my first attempt, I decided to go with potatoes. I have made potato dough in other recipes a few times lately (like the asparagus flat bread Spargelfleckerl) and they worked out great!
This time, however, the potato dough seemed all against me. So in a way, this recipe is filled with tips on how to not do it.
for the dough
1 kg floury potatoes + extra for dusting the rolling surface
250 g flour
80 g soft butter
50 g semolina
a pinch of salt
for the „crust“
1 kg to 1 ½ kg of fully ripe apricots, pick the smallest ones you can find
180 g butter
150 g bread crumbs
50 g sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Let’s get going. Potatoes are the first thing you’ll want to take care of. Bring a pot with salt water to a boil and boil the potatoes until they’re really soft. This is important. If they’re not fully soft, you might still be able to mash them up easily, but there’ll still be chunks later that slightly mess up your surfaces and how evenly you can wrap the apricots. All potato dough recipes usually make you peel the potatoes just after pulling them out of the saltwater and mash them up right away. Make sure you have proper supplies for peeling: a fork, preferably a three prong triangle fork, which helps not have the potato split in two, and a good, handy vegetable knife.
Meanwhile, pit the apricots. Try to not fully half them but rather just slit them open halfway around. Sit them in a bowl and slightly sprinkle and mix with sugar. If your fruits are very ripe, you can skip the sugar.
Also while the potato are on, mix the rest of the dough ingredients loosely together. Once you peeled each potato, mash it into the flour mix. I would have found it really helpful to have the dough sitting in the stand mixer and mix it properly after each potato. This way it would have been easier to tell how wet the dough was and I could have stopped adding potatoes. Instead, I added all the potatoes and the dough was so wet, I almost ran out of flour trying to get it dry enough and not have it stick to my fingers and the bowl like glue.
Roll out the dough to about half a centimetre on a floured surface. If in doubt, roll it out a little thinner. If it’s too thick the dumpling will become very doughy and extremely filling. Cut the dough into squares of about 7 cm. Cut one and try out, how easily it wraps around your apricots. You can pull the dough a little to spread it across, what you don’t want, is lots of overlap. Roll the dumplings nice and round.
Bring a pot of salt water to a boil. Boil the dumplings for about 10 minutes. Don’t layer them, if they don’t fit into one pot it’s better do do multiple rounds. Adding the dumplings will reduce the temperature. Don’t worry about that, it’ll come back to a boil after a few minutes, just don’t let the boil get rolling fully again.
While the dumplings are cooking, melt the butter in a pan and add the breadcrumbs, sugar and cinnamon. They can brown a little, but don’t heat them too much.
After 10 minutes fish out the dumplings using a slotted spoon, a Schaumlöffel. Roll them in the buttery bread crumbs and – voilà – ready to serve. Custard and Marillenknödl are really good friends.
If you end up having way to many dumplings (I had enough to feed an army of movers), freeze them before cooking. To serve, just add the frozen dumplings to bolding water and let them boil for around 15 minutes.