Plum dumplings are made of sweet ripe freestone plums wrapped in a soft potato dumpling dough covered in a cinnamon sugar breadcrumb. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy they are to make and even better, how affordable the ingredients are.
It’s a delicious way to use only a handful of ingredients that are pantry staples and to celebrate plums when they’re in season.
The dumplings are easy to freeze so you can enjoy them all year round.
The origins of plum dumplings
If you’ve grown up with these types of dumplings in the house, get ready for some nostalgic feels! I know I’ve certainly had them since we created a vegan version of this recipe.
Posne knedle sa šljivama is what it translates to in Croatian and that’s where these specific plum dumplings have originated from.
Plum dumplings are a popular dessert across eastern and central Europe. They’re filling, not too sweet, and the perfect way to use stone fruit.
In Austria, you’ll find that apricots are used, and in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, and Hungary, plums are the popular choice.
Are plum dumplings normally vegan?
The traditional recipes aren’t vegan as they use butter, eggs, cream cheese, and sometimes even lard, but trust me, these are just as good!
They’re also served slightly differently. Most are served with sweetened breadcrumbs, some with poppyseed, and some can be served with sour cream.
I’ve only ever had them with sweet breadcrumbs and it’s super easy to veganise.
What are the best variety of plums to use for potato plum dumplings?
First of all, it’s important to use freestone plums for dumplings. What are freestone plums, you ask? They’re a variety of plums that once opened, the stone inside is not attached to the flesh of the plum- you can remove it without any issue.
This is ideal as you want to keep the whole plum intact and to replace the stone inside the plum with a small amount of sugar so that it can close up again before being wrapped in the potato dough. This will result in the perfect plum dumplings.
Here’s a list of freestone plums that are ideal for these dumplings:
- Italian Prune
- Imperial Epineuse
Sometimes they’re just known as “European plums”. You want to use smaller plums that are ripe, so the end of the summer-early autumn (fall) season is the ideal time.
You’re looking for a red-purple colour rather than a blue-purple. You’ll see the difference between a super-ripe plum and a slightly underripe (still sweet) plum when they’re cut in half. You’ll find that these plums have a dusty white film on them.
See the image below for the two dumplings that have been cut in half. The one on the top right has turned into more of a jam-like consistency. Whereas the one further down is still in one piece and a bit firmer. This, of course, comes down to personal preference of how you like your dumplings.
The ideal size is the size of a large strawberry. They’re more of an oblong shape rather than a round shape.
A few tips to get the perfect Croatian plum dumplings (aka posne knedle)
- When buying the potatoes, try to select potatoes of similar size. This makes it easier for all of them to cook through simultaneously.
- Do not peel the potatoes and cut them into small chunks. Although this may seem like a time saver — when boiling the potatoes this way the dough will be too wet to work with and you may need to add more flour.
- Do not use an electric appliance to mash the potatoes. Using one of these will make the mix smooth but very sticky and stretchy and this is not the desired outcome. Best results are achieved using the back of the fork, a potato ricer or masher. This way you can make sure there are no lumps but the mash is still fluffy and soft.
- Be careful not to add too much flour as the dumplings will be hard and chewy. Instead you’ll know that the dough is ready when it’s fluffy, elastic and doesn’t stick to your fingers.
- The amount of flour you’ll need will depend on how wet or dry your potatoes are. So feeling is very important with these. However, I’ve made them 3 times with this same recipe, and used different potatoes, and the quantities of flour to potato ratio was spot on.
- Depending on the size of the plums available to you, you may want to only put half a plum in each dumpling instead if they’re a little on the large side. Still make sure to add the sugar in the middle.
- These freeze very well. If you feel you won’t eat the whole lot, place the UNCOOKED dumplings on a tray lined with baking paper and place them into the freezer. When they have just frozen after a couple of hours, you can put them altogether into a freezer bag. To cook the frozen dumplings, take them out of the freezer and place them directly into a pot of boiling water. Then wait for them to rise to the top as you would instructed in the recipe below.
- It’s essential that the plums are juicy, sweet and in season. When they cook inside the dumpling they create the jam of the dish so it will not work if the plums are hard and flavourless. See the list above for the best plum varieties to use and ideal size.
- If you’d like to make this recipe when plums aren’t in season, you can use plum jam instead. Alternatively, if you can’t find the right plums, you can make them with apricots, or apricot jam. If using jam, skip the additional sugar as it will be sweet enough.
The perfect dough to plum ratio for these dumplings
The dumpling dough to plum ratio should be as pictured. It should be fairly even once cooked as the dough expands a little as it cooks. If there is more plum to dumpling ratio, the plums are too big and you’ll need to cut them up.
If you have too much dough to plum ratio the dish will be noticeably dough dominant and the sweetness and texture of the plum won’t come through as much.
I hope you give these plum dumplings a try! Even if you’ve never had them before and have fond memories of enjoying them, I’m confident that you’ll love this recipe!
I need to reiterate again that they’re pretty filling. Some people even enjoy them as a main dish! I don’t know about you, but something sweet for lunch is just a little too odd for me. At least a light meal, followed by these beauties is the perfect way to enjoy them.
Other Balkan dessert recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Kremšnita (Vanilla & Custard Cream Cake)
- 3-Ingredient Chestnut Puree With Whipped Coconut Cream (Kesten Pire)
- Easy Vegan Apple Burek (Posna Pita Sa Jabukama)
- Vegan Cherry Strudel with Cream Cheese
- Vegan Tufahije Recipe (Bosnian Walnut Stuffed Poached Apples)
- Sweet Poppy Seed Pasta