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Austrian Information Washington , D.C.             Volume 52, No. 9, September 1999

The well-known and ever extensible versatility of the dumpling is demonstrated by the variations from country to country, from region to region, from house to house, from generation to generation. It is believed its fans do not simply read recipes but uses them as a starting point for imaginative, and thus also for inventive, cooking.

It is all the same whether the dumplings to be prepared are naked or blind (without filling or seasoning apart from pepper and salt), or are filled (with meat, sausage, vegetables, fruit or whatever), or fried in dripping or boiled in a cloth such as a table napkin.

Almost all soup dumplings depend for the development of their flavor on the production, or at least the availability, of an appropriate soup. There is no limit to the list of materials that may be used for soup dumplings, so they are a means of making good use of leftovers.

Dumplings as garnish and main dish are generally bulky, but cannot be distinguished in their function as main or subsidiary matter. No matter what dumpling serves as main dish, great care is needed in the choice of accompaniments.

Sweet Dumplings are indeed esteemed mostly as dessert but are also enjoyed as main dish. It is easy to understand that the size of sweet dumplings varies according to their role as dessert or main dish.

A few tips may be helpful, particularly for less experienced dumpling makers who are exhorted not to give up at the first miscooked, collapsed dumpling.

  • The flour to be used for dumplings should be self-raising or a mixture of plain and self-raising.
  • Dough made of bread, the crumbs of bread rolls, semolina, must be allowed to "rest" for a while in order to absorb moisture.
  • Flour and potato dumplings are shaped with floury hands. Some doughs are made by forming a roll on a floured pastry board, which is then cut in slices, filled and formed into balls by hand.
  • Dumplings as garnish in soup, meat and liver dumplings, bread dumplings should be rounded with wet hands.
  • It is advisable to cook one dumpling first as a trial. If the inside is "dry," i is a success; if it is too solid, add liquid (soup, milk, water); if it tends to fall apart, perhaps bind with egg and/or flour.
  • Leave the saucepan in which you boil dumplings half uncovered: only yeast dumplings should be cooked with the saucepan lid wholly on.
  • Drain the dumplings carefully and serve in a warm dish. If dumplings are to be kept warm and you do not have a steamer, put them in a colander on top of a saucepan of hot water.

Another truism applies here as everywhere: practice makes perfect.

Source: "Nur Knvdel" by Helmreich/Stau-dinger; published 1993 in Austria by Verlag Christian Brandstdtter; out of print

Dumplings with Soup

Liver Dumplings

9 oz beef liver
3 stale rolls
1/2 pint milk
3.5 oz butter
1 small onion
1 egg
salt, pepper
marjoram, parsley
3.5 oz bread crumbs

Pour milk over the rolls, and work it in. Chop the onion and sautie it in butter. Mix the rolls, fin-ely chop-ped liver and spi-ces together. Make a dough. Form the dumplings and boil them for 15 minutes in salted water. You can also fry them in hot vegetable oil.

Best served hot in a beef broth.

Liver Dumplings can also be served as a main dish with sauerkraut.

Matzoh Dumplings

7 oz matzoh
5 eggs
2 oz oil
about 1/4 pint water

Beat the eggs, add oil, one glass of cold water as well as the broken matzoh and mix well. Let rest for a while. Form small dumplings and simmer them for 10 minutes in salted water.

Taste delicious in fish soup.

Pressed Cheese Dumplings

7 oz cheese (Esrom, Appenzeller or Gruyere)
4 diced rolls
flour as necessary
2 medium-sized boiled potatoes
1/2 pint milk
2 eggs
salt, pepper, nutmeg
vegetable oil for frying

Whisk the milk, eggs and spices and pour over the diced rolls. Mix the chopped browned onions, cover, and let rest. Thicken the thinly cut cheese and mashed potatoes if necessary with flour and mix into the dumpling mass. Form the dumpling, press it flat, and brown it floating in hot oil.

These dumplings taste delicious in all clear broths.

Dumplings as Garnish and Main Dish

Viennese Bread Dumplings

5 stale rolls
40 oz butter or margarine
about 1/4 pint milk
2 eggs
2 oz flour
1 onion
1 bunch of parsley

Dice the rolls and toast them lightly in the oven. In the meantime sautie the finely chopped onions in butter until glossy. Add the chopped parsley. Pour this mass over the toasted dumpling cubes and mix well. Whisk milk, eggs and salt and pour over the diced mixture. Let this rest for about 1 hour. Mix again and add flour. With wet hands, form large dumplings and let them simmer in salted water 12-15 minutes.

Usually served with meat such as Schweinsbraten (pork roast) or Rindsbraten (brisket with gravy). A very popular dish is Semmelknvdel with Schwammerlsauce (Mushroom ragout: either white or wild mushrooms).

Innviertler Bacon Dumplings

1 lb boiled potatoes
4 oz flour
2 tablespoons semolina
2 oz butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley or chives
14 oz bacon
salt, pepper

Add the ingredients to the mashed potatoes and knead into a smooth dough. Form into a roll and cut thin slices.

Mix the finely chopped bacon with parsley, add salt and pepper. Form balls the size of a nut. Put these in the middle of the dough slices and form into dumplings. Cook for 20 minutes in salted water.

When using ground pork loin or finely chop-ped smoked pork, instead of the bacon the dumplings are called Fleisch-kndel (meat dumplings)(see picture).

Tyrolean Dumplings

5 diced rolls
3.5 oz lean bacon
1 onion
1 bunch of parsley
1-2 eggs
1/2 pint milk
2 oz flour
5.5 oz smoked meat (or sausage)
salt, pepper

Brown the onions, parsley and small cubes of bacon and pour over the diced rolls. Whisk the milk and eggs, salt and pepper and fold into the mass. Mix well and let rest. Work in the flour and finely chopped smoked meat or smoked sausage. Form dumplings and cook in sal-ted water for approx. 12 minutes.

Tyrolean Dumplings are either served with Sauerkraut (picture to the left) or in a beef broth. Both are considered a main course.

Apricot Dumplings

1 pint water
3 oz butter
14 oz flour
5 eggs
about 2 pounds apricots pitted
and filled with one sugar cube each
bread crumbs
powdered sugar

Bring the water to the boil with butter and salt, stir the flour in quickly until the mixture separates from the side of the pan and shines. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Make a roll out of the dough and cut { cm thick pieces, press them flat and place one apricot on it and form into a dumpling. Cook for approx. 10 minutes in boiling water to which one teaspoon of salt has been added. Fry the bread crumbs in butter until golden, then add the dumplings and serve with powered sugar and cinnamon.

Plums or strawberries may be used instead of apricots.

Yeast Dumplings

1 lb flour
1/2 pint milk
1 oz yeast
1-2 eggs
2-3.5 oz butter
2 oz sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
plum jam
1.5-2 oz butter
2 oz ground poppy seed

Form a dough out of some lukewarm milk, flour, sugar and yeast. Let rise. Add the rest of the flour, milk, eggs, butter and a bit of salt to make a rich dough. Knead this well and let rise again. Take a little bit of dough at a time, fill with very thick plum jam and form dumplings. Simmer for 30-40 minutes in a covered pot.

Serve with hot butter, poppy seed (or bread crumbs) and sugar.


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