Friday, August 19, 2011

Sweet Plum Dumplings--All I Eat These Days

I am in Poland, and I promised myself to take some time off from the blog, especially that I have to cope with rather poor internet access. But of course I think about the food blog all the time and still take many pictures. I try new ideas with old ingredients (which means more beets and cabbage in the future) but also eat a lot of simple, seasonal, and tastyPolish food. My native cuisine and its ingredients inspire me so much that I cannot resist to share at least a couple of recipes over this remaining days here.

Eating in Poland to me is always about Polish food and I forget completely that those gorgeous tomatoes would taste fantastic with burrata, or the local smoked ham would go well with fresh figs. Instead, I eat tons of tomatoes Polish way--with onion and oil--and I eat a lot of salted cucumbers. Every other day I cannot resist fresh wild mushrooms, mostly chanterelles that are picked up at dawn the day you can buy them at the market, and gain extra pounds indulging in different cakes made with fruits that are popular in Poland--sour cherries, red currants, or Hungarian plums.

Today's recipe is a result of one of such feasts and is one of my favorite sweet dinners. I ate these dumplings (knedle in Polish) often in late summer and early fall all my childhood. Their taste--coming from a blend of a starchy dough, plums, butter, sugar, and cinnamon--is one of a kind. If you ever wonder what to do with those blue-black plums (they are called Italian in the US), my suggestion is to try and cook this wonderful dish.

My grandmother used to wonder how such a petite body as mine could accommodate so many of them--my record number was eight, but my usual intake depended on their size, which could vary from that of a tennis ball to a small cannon ball, depending on the size of the plums. I hope I convinced you to try.

Plum Dumplings
(Makes ten large dumplings)

3 packed cups of cooked potatoes,
1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour, plus extra to clean hands and dust the working surface,
1 egg,
1 tbsp potato or corn starch,
10 Hungarian or Italian plums,
1 stick of butter, melted,
1 cup sugar (more or less, depending on how sour the plums are),
1 tbsp salt,

1. Cook potatoes and cool them down. Mush them into a purée.
2. Place potatoes in a large bowl, add the egg and both flours and make a smooth dough.
3. Cut plums in halves, but leave them connected, remove pits and put a tsp of sugar inside each of them.

4. Roll the dough in a thick log and cut into 10 equal cylinders. Place a plum on each of them and close the dough around the plums. Roll it in hands to make a perfect ball. Place on a large cutting board, dusted with flour.

5. In a large pot bring to boil water with one tbsp of salt. Dump half of the dumplings and, depending on their size, cook them for 3-5 minutes from the moment they appear on the surface. Repeat with the the rest of the dumplings.
6. Drain the dumplings, place on a serving place, drizzle with hot melted butter, a tsp of sugar per dumpling, and dust with cinnamon.

Serve and enjoy.

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