Thursday, January 14, 2010

Knedle ze śliwkami or Polish Plum Dumplings

129. We are all familiar with the dumpling; soft, chewy, comforting little dough pillows. One of my most favorite memories as a child was my mothers handmade Polish Plum Dumplings or "Knedle". Knedle ze śliwkami means dumplings with plums. In our backyard was a small Italian plum tree or as some refer to these plums as prune plums. They were about the size of a large walnut and would turn a purple/blue when fully ripe. I haven't had these dumplings for many years and when we traveled to Poland, and I saw these plums for sale by the street vendors, my memories and taste for these dumplings grew.

I just had to make some! So, my dear honey was sent on a mission to find Italian blue prune plums. When all was said and done...5 stores later...he brought home the closest he could find to these plums. They were larger, and had more of a burgundy color and were not as sweet as the Italian blue plum. But they were put to good use! I found a similar recipe for these wonderful dumplings at A Cat In The Kitchen's Blog. She has a beautiful post of her recipe and other traditional Polish favorites.
First I made my dough...which my mother always told me, "You just have to know how it is suppose to feel, measurements aren't always the same." The dough must be soft and pliable with slight stickiness. Adding just enough liquid so the dough will hold together but not stick to your hands. You can find a similar recipe here.
I let the dough rest for 20 minutes and then break or cut off small pieces and form it into a circle.
Then you place a plum, seed in, onto the center of the dough. I'm sure you could remove the seed but this may cause seeping of the fruit juices. If you leave in the seed, you will experience that "popping" or breaking open of the plum when it is broken open and the juice squirts out!
Seal each dumpling making sure there are no openings. Set them aside till all are rolled.
Drop into a boiling 6 quart pot of water with a teaspoon of oil added. They will drop to the bottom, so lightly stir them to keep from sticking.
Once the dumplings begin to cook, they will rise to the top. Continue to boil them, rolling them often to cook all sides. The boiling process not only cooks the dough but also the plum inside. Allow time for the plum to soften and become tender. You may need to taste test, my favorite part.
I also drop the remaining dough in small bits along with the dumplings...you can't let it go to waste.
After the dumplings are fully cooked, remove with a slotted spoon to a buttered casserole dish.
Pour over melted butter to keep the dumplings from sticking to each other.
Since this was always considered a dessert treat, I served the Knedle immediately with cinnamon and sugar.
You can either serve them in individual bowls or allow everyone to serve themselves.
It is fantastic when you break open the dumplings and the fruit juice squirts out into your bowl.
So juicy and beautiful! And the color is fantastic. Serve with warm melted butter, sugar or sugar and cinnamon mixed and whipped cream if you so desire.


One of my favorite quotes:
"The pessimist complains about the wind,
the optimist expects it to change,
but the leader adjusts the sails."
William Arthur Ward

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