Plum dumplings are a classic European dessert made of sweet ripe freestone plums wrapped in a soft potato dumpling dough covered in a cinnamon sugar breadcrumb. They’re easy to make and a filling dessert to share with others.
- 500g / 1.1 pounds starchy potatoes,* washed (do not peel them)
- 10 small plums,*
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (sunflower or rice bran are great)
- 1 cup/ 140g all-purpose flour
- 2½ teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter (or coconut oil)
- 1 cup / 100g breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla powder, or vanilla bean (optional)
- ¼ cup / 38g brown sugar
- Place the potatoes in a large pot with just enough water to cover them and bring the water to a boil. Cook the potatoes until you can pierce one and it goes through without hesitation. It should take between 25-35 minutes.
- While the potatoes are cooking, wash the plums, cut them lengthways on one side and take out the pips. Set aside.
- When the potatoes are cooked, hold each one mid-air with a fork, peel back the skin with a pairing knife, and add them to a large bowl. Mash the potatoes with a potato ricer or masher. Please do this while potatoes are hot because this way, the potatoes will break down easier, and the dough will be smooth. When all the lumps are out, add the salt, oil, and flour and knead the dough inside the bowl. When the ingredients have combined completely, take it out of the bowl and do it on a floured board or surface. Do not overwork the dough; this should only take a few minutes.
- Place a large pot of water on the stove to come to a boil while you shape the dumplings.
- Divide the dough into ten equal pieces by cutting it in half and then dividing that into five pieces each.
- Take a piece of dough in your hand, make a smooth ball, flatten it into a disc, and place a plum in the middle. Inside each plum, add ¼ teaspoon of sugar where the pip used to be. Then fold the dough over the plum until you get a nice round ball of dough. Ensure to seal the ball properly so that there is no plum showing- I usually do this first by pinching it shut, then rolling it in my hands to smoothen it out.
- When the water has come to a boil, lower the heat to low/medium and gently place the dumplings one by one in the pot using a slotted spoon, so you don’t splash hot water. If they stick to the bottom of the pot, just gently shake the pot to release them or use the spoon to push them gently. The dumplings are cooked when they rise to the top. It takes anywhere between 10-15 minutes for this to happen.
- While the dumplings are cooking, prepare the breadcrumb topping. In a large skillet or pan, add the breadcrumbs, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla on medium heat. Toast them constantly stirring, so they don’t burn. When they are nice and golden brown, turn off the heat and add the sugar. They can turn very quickly, so keep an eye on them.
- Once the dumplings have come to the top, pick them out of the water with a slotted spoon and roll them into the breadcrumbs immediately. This is the best way for the breadcrumbs to stick nicely when the dumplings are still damp and hot. Roll them around until they’re completely covered. You will have to do two rounds of boiling the dumplings, so you don’t overcrowd the pot.
- Serve on a plate with an extra sprinkle of breadcrumbs.
Potato variety and size: We’ve tried with King Edward and Dutch Cream, and they both worked great. Other varieties are Russet, Idaho or Yukon. When buying the potatoes, try to select potatoes of similar size. This makes it easier for all of them to cook through simultaneously.
Mashing potatoes: Do not use an electric appliance to mash the potatoes. Using one of these will make the mix smooth but very sticky and stretchy, which is not the desired outcome. Best results are achieved using the back of a fork, a potato ricer or masher. This way, you can make sure there are no lumps, but the mash is still fluffy and soft.
Plum varieties: Use small freestone plums. No larger than a large strawberry (ideally). The plums must be 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. I’ve listed a range of plum varieties that are ideal for this recipe earlier in the post.
Don’t have access to fresh plums? Try using plum jam instead. You’ll need 10 teaspoons of it- 1 teaspoon for each dumpling. You can then skip the brown sugar in the dumpling section, as it will be sweet enough. We also tend to freeze some plums when they’re in season to use them throughout the year if you don’t want to make an excess amount of dumplings. Alternatively, you can use apricots or apricot jam for a more Austrian-style dumpling. Again, small apricots that are ripe and sweet are ideal.
Freezing: 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 all together 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 above.
See tips earlier in the post for more guidelines to make the best dumplings.
- Diet: Vegan