The berry and fruit season has begun and like every year I have the tendency to be kind of paralyzed by the great selection of fruits and recipes that come my way. Cake, ice cream, dessert, salad, canning, … where do I start?
In my helplessness I came back to my childhood recipe that I first of all associate with summer and fruits: dumplings!…
I can see my grandmother standing in the kitchen and forming dumplings, that have previously been filled with plums or apricots, in such a meditative manner. And in each and every plum or apricot a sweet little secret was previously hidden, a sugar cube. I can already smell the scent of breadcrumbs browned in butter and I remember how we kids waited impatiently for the dumplings floating in the pot, while my grandmother quietly stirred the crumbs in the pan.
This fruit dumplings are very popular in southern Germany. But – like most of those Mehlspeisen – they come from Austrian respectively Bohemian cuisine. And of course the Habsburgs distributed this culinary tradition throughout their empire, so that Marillenknödel/meruňkové knedlíky and Zwetschgenknödel/švestkové knedlíky enjoy a high popularity f.ex. in Croatia, Poland or Hungary.
So many grandmothers, so many recipes. Basically, the thousands of recipe variations can be broke down to three basic recipes: Most commonly found is probably the quark (curd cheese) dough (quark and semolina or breadcrumbs), but there are also yeast dough variations and – less common – fruit dumplings are sometimes made from a potato dough.
I chose a quark dough that I – rather unusual – filled with cherries. And, cause in a pitted cherry really fits no sugar cube, I simply filled the cherries with a sugar– cinnamon–mixture.
And what can I say? – Simply delicious! The dough has become quite soft and could do with bit more crumbs or straining the quark before further proceeding, but that really hasn`t held anyone from munching the dumplings!
Here are two other recipes from two of my favourite German/Austrian foodblogs. You can find Susannes recipe here, Nicoles here, or in her latest book “Sweets”, that I’ve won – by the way – a few days ago in Maras giveaway!
Cherry quark dumplings
(12 dumplings; serves 2 persons as full meal, 4 persons for dessert)
250 g quark (curd cheese), 1 egg yolk, 70 g butter (at room temperature), 100 g breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon flour, pinch salt, 5 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 12 cherries
Mix quark with egg yolks, 30 g butter, flour, salt, 40 g of breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of sugar to a homogeneous mass. Put in the fridge for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, wash and pit cherries. In a small bowl mix remaining sugar with cinnamon.
Share quark mass into 12 equal portions. Fill the cherries with about half of the sugar–cinnamon mixture (about 1/2 teaspoon per cherry) and press together. (This is a bit of a fiddly work). Then flatten each portion of quark, place cherry in the middle and wrap quark dough around so that it is completely enclosed.
In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. When the water boils, let dumplings slip in and poach for 15 minutes at a low temperature (do not boil).
Meanwhile, in a pan melt butter, add remaining sugar and breadcrumbs and roast until the breadcrumbs are slightly brown and smell delicious. Set aside.
Take dumplings out of the water. Drain briefly, then roll in the breadcrumbs. Serve warm.