Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Daddy Can Cook: Plum Dumplings

Sometimes I forget things.  My forgetfulness usually takes the form of an aptitude to misplace small items.  There is a running joke in my household that anything that is covered by a single sheet of paper is rendered invisible to me.  I laugh along and call myself a rock.

Get it?  

Paper beats rock.


My wife helps me out when I need it.  She always seems to know where I left my phone, or my wallet, or the baby.  But there are some things that I am not allowed to forget.  These things are of such basic importance that I require constant reminders lest I forget them, even for a moment.  She frequently reminds me that I am a wonderful father, a good man, and quite possibly the luckiest person ever to have married her.

 I am also lucky to have been allowed to be a part of her family.  She comes from Bohemian ancestry (Czech yourself b4 you wreck yourself) as well as English, Norwegian, Irish and a smattering of other nationalities.  We've been spending a lot of time with her grandmother lately, who honored me by teaching to me the way of traditional Bohemian plum dumpling-making.

It starts, as most good things do, with potatoes.

Here is what you'll need

4 potatoes peeled, boiled, mashed, and cooled
2 to 3 cups of flour
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup sugar for optional plum sauce
1 stick butter
7-10 ripe Black Beauty Plums (or 12-16 Italian Prune Plums)
Poppy seeds for topping

Add the egg and salt to the potatoes and mix well.  Mix in the flour, one half cup at a time until the dough reaches the consistency of fresh Play-Doh non-trademarked children's modeling compound.  It should be easy to mold, but not too sticky to manipulate.  There's your dumpling dough.

Now take your plums, they should already be slightly soft, if not you can put them in the microwave for twenty seconds.  Clean them with a wet cloth and roll them in a saucer filled with 1/4 cup of sugar.  Wrap them in 1/4 to 1/2 inch of your dumpling dough and hand roll them to seal all the cracks.  Sealing the cracks is very important otherwise your dumplings will open while cooking and all your plum goodness will be washed away.  Put completed dumplings into a pot of boiling water and boil those suckers until they float.

While your dumplings are boiling, cut up a few plums (2 Black or 4-5 Prunes) and add the 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water and boil until the plums are very soft for a plum sauce topping.

Serve dumplings cut up, seeds removed, drenched in butter, topped with plum sauce or sugar, and very liberally covered in poppy seeds for the ultimate in Bohemian comfort food.

1 comment:

  1. Also, if Plums are not in season. You can always just make the dumpling dough and roll them into 2 inch balls and boil to make your traditional dumpling. Then open a big can of plums and warm it in a pot with a little sugar. Then top your cooked dumplings with the warmed canned plums, butter, sugar to taste and (of course) poppyseeds.

    So, how about some plum dumplings for dinner tonight? I LOVE when you cook!