Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fruit Dumplings with Cottage Cheese and Butter

Strawberry Version

If you ask any adult Czech living abroad what childhood foods they miss the most, the Fruit Dumplings will be at the top of a list, no doubt. My mom was a master in making these and when I came to Canada every summer I dreamed about them. When she visited us for the first time it was this recipe that I just had to have. The version here is slightly modified because European ingredients are bit different but taste is the same.

There are several types of dough used for fruit dumplings. Some regions use dough made with potatoes and flour, others use cottage cheese and flour and some combine cottage cheese, boiled and riced potatoes and flour. I like to follow the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and just use plain flour.

 Ingredients for the Dough
1/4 cup milk (room temperature)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 egg yolks or 2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 pint strawberries, hulled, washed and halved.

In a bowl, mix together milk, water, vanilla extract and eggs.
In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast to combine.
Slowly add liquid contents from bowl through the feed tube and mix till dough doesn’t stick to work bowl, about 45 seconds.
Since the flour moisture content varies you may have to adjust the ratio of liquid to flour by working in more flour if too wet or adding more water if the dough doesn’t form a ball.
Place the dough in clean, lightly buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in warm and draft-free place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and roll it out on floured board. You can roll the dough into 12-by-16 inch rectangle and cut it into 12 four-inch squares or roll it into a cylinder shape about 2” diameter, 18” long and cut into 12 disks about 1-1/2” wide and then flattened into pie shape that is 4” diameter. I did the later because I find it easier to make a ball with round disk instead of square.
Lay 2 strawberry halves into center of each disk, enclose the sides and roll it into a ball. Make sure that all the seams are tight and strawberries are well enclosed.
Place each dumpling on floured baking sheet, cover with towel and let them rise for 10 minutes.
In 4-quart pot, bring 3-quarts of lightly salted water to a bubbling boil. With a large slotted spoon, carefully place 4 or more dumplings (depending how wide your pot is) in the water. Partially cover the pot and once dumplings come to top, gently boil for 4 minutes. Turn dumplings over and cook additional 3 minutes.
Remove dumplings to large platter with a slotted spoon and immediately open each with 2 forks or prick them in several places with sharp needle to release the steam.
Repeat the process with remaining dumplings.
To serve, place 3 dumplings on preheated plate, top with cottage cheese, dribble melted butter on top and as an option, sprinkle sugar on top.
These dumplings are also popular when filled with pitted plums.

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