I remember this being one of my mom’s favorite desserts when I was little. For some reason, at some point she stopped making them, but I always kept great memories, especially for Sundays, when whole family was getting together for an extended lunch. Good times, but we all lost interest in this dessert eventually and forgot about it, until my wife told me few days ago that her sister made some and that she was anxious to try them as well. So eventually she came home one day with a bag of plums and… that was the end of it.
For more than a week nothing happened, I guess making tons of pasta recipes and different variations of magic cake to keep her readers entertained, takes its toll so I decided to step in and make those dumplings myself. Have you ever imagined a dude making dumplings in the kitchen? (that didn’t sound right) Well, it took me probably around three hours because I am not that organized when I start cooking, compared to everything else, but I managed to surprise her and luckily I got rid of some chores for the next week or so (I expect more of “or so” to be honest).
Anyway, the whole exercise is not that difficult if you plan a bit in advance but when I started I realized I didn’t have any potatoes so I had to go buy some, then I had to boil them to death and this is how my afternoon went down the drain. Eventually, things came together and I was so excited that I started to send her images with my cell while she was at work. So much for my surprise, but it was fun… for me. I don’t know how it is for everybody else, but when I cook I kinda lose appetite… see where this is going? I probably touched one dumpling, the rest disappeared, vacuumed, heck even the freakin’ dog ate one but for me it was definitely mission accomplished.
Back to dumplings. If you are not Romanian or at least accustomed with these type of recipes, you will probably find this a bit weird but trust me when I say, it is a great dessert. The only ingredient a bit hard to find for me it was wheat semolina which I could only find yellowish, like it was made from corn and that it is not what you want. There is another kind made from wheat, obviously white and looks a bit more coarse than flour (actually a lot more -check out next picture). Once you have everything, you are good to go.
Another thing that might take a bit of time, besides boiling potatoes, is cooking the breadcrumbs. It sounds more weirder that it actually is, in fact you have to fry breadcrumbs in a bit of butter (see recipe) and stir continuously until becomes golden-brown. Actually. you could go as brown as you want but don’t burn it because you will roll the dumplings in this and they have to look nice besides tasting great.
The remaining of the procedure is very simple, you make the potato mixture, with flour semolina and a couple of eggs and after mixing everything together you start making balls each with a half of plum inside and throw them into a boiling pot of water. Easy enough! At the end of the boiling time, drain them as much as you can and roll them into the breadcrumbs mixture. At the end of this they should look at least like mine but don’t go jumping on them just yet, they are amazing when completely cooled so refrain from trying one while hot because you might ruin your experience. Good luck and enjoy!
- 25 oz (700g) white potatoes
- 5 oz (150g) flour
- 2 eggs
- 1.8 oz (50g) wheat semolina
- pinch of salt
- 6 oz (180g) breadcrumbs
- 2.5 oz (70 -75g) sugar
- 1.4 oz (40 g) unsalted butter
- 6 plums, pitted and halved
- 2-3 tbsp of powdered sugar to spread onto the plums
- Start by cleaning the plums, halve them and discard the pits (obviously); sprinkle 2-3 tbsp powdered sugar on them.
- Wash potatoes and boil them with peel on.
- Meanwhile, in a non-stick frying pan melt butter then add the breadcrumbs and brown it on low heat. When it becomes golden-brown remove from heat and mix in the 1.4 oz of granulated sugar; mix thoroughly and let completely cool off.
- When potatoes are done, remove peel and finely shred them into a plastic bowl. When they are completely cool, mix in the eggs, salt, flour and wheat semolina. The dough will be very sticky but homogeneous.
- In case your dough is too wet you could add a a tbsp of flour and a tbsp of wheat semolina but no more. However, if you follow the recipe to the letter you don't need to.
- Add water to a decent size soup pot and heat on high; when water start to boil add a tablespoon of oil to it.
- With your hands slightly wet, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. With your hands, flatten each piece so that it's about ¼ of an inch in thickness. In the center of each piece, place half a plum, then seal it and shape it into a ball.
- Place the dumplings into the pot, 3-4 at a time, and cook them until they rise to the surface. Using a strainer, take them out and place them directly into the pan with the breadcrumbs mixture. Roll them around to make sure they are perfectly coated all around.
- Serve when completely cooled!