Cookbook:Germknödel (Plum and Poppy Seed Dumpling)
The Germknödel is a traditional Austrian dish, originating from Viennese and Bohemian cuisines. It is a yeast dumpling filled with plum jam and served with poppy seeds, powdered sugar, and lots of melted butter or vanilla sauce on top.
The plum jam is a special kind of jam called Powidl. The plums are cooked for 24 hours without any other ingredients except for unripe walnuts, which give the jam its dark color. Its tart flavor, makes Powidl the perfect filling to contrast the sweet dumpling.
Frozen Germknödel are sold in Austrian supermarkets. They are prepared by boiling them for 20 minutes, before topping with poppy seeds, powdered sugar and melted butter. When lacking time this is very convenient, but like most frozen foods, it is not a worthwhile alternative to the homemade version.
Germknödl can be eaten as a desert or as a main dish. Due to the main ingredient we call them mehlspeisen, literally meaning ‘flour dish’. During the Lenten season, the seven weeks before Easter, members of the Catholic church were not allowed to eat meat. Since fish was very expensive, people made meals with vegetables, eggs and flour. Over the years the meals developed into sweet dishes such as Kaiserschmarrn, Buchteln, and Marillenknödel. In the 19th century the term Mehlspeise was coined, and it is now a synonym for Süßspeise ('sweet dish'). It is typical in Austrian cuisine to have a soup as a starter and then eat a Mehlspeise as the main dish.
In Austrian ski huts the Germknödel is certainly one of the favorites on the menu.
For 4 servings:
- 2 tbsp active dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup softened butter
- 1 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg
- 1 package vanilla sugar or 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Mix the flour, salt, vanilla, eggs, and sugar in a bowl.
- In another bowl, mix the lukewarm milk with the yeast, and stir until all of the yeast has dissolved.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the flour, and knead everything together with the softened butter. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.
- Cover the dough and leave it to rise for one hour until it has doubled its size.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Pat them flat and round on a board until they are about 4 inches in diameter.
- Fill each of the pieces of dough with a tablespoon of the plum jam, and carefully form round dumplings. Make sure that the seam is completely closed.
- Place the dumplings on a board with a dishtowel covering them, and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Boil salted water in a large pot.
- Add the Germknödel to the pot. Depending on the size of the pot, only add about 4 at a time so they have space to rise.
- Let them simmer for 20 minutes with the lid on. Do not take the lid off, as the dumplings will not rise properly.
- When finished, remove the Germknödel and place them in a bowl.
- Top the dumplings with poppy seeds and powdered sugar. Pour butter or vanilla sauce over the top.
- Serve right away. Enjoy the delicious dumplings!