baking, German food, Germany, heirloom recipes, homemade bread, weekend baking
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Dampfnudeln (my Grandma’s Recipe for Sweet Dumplings from Germany)

I have very fond memories of my Oma Gertrud making these fluffy, sweet dumplings in her kitchen. They are steamed, not baked – have a light, airy top and a crunchy, slightly salty crust on the bottom. Serve with vanilla sauce or stewed fruits, such as plums. This is a traditional recipe from the Black Forest region in Germany. Special thanks to my friend and fellow foodie Michelle Danzer-Gries for asking me about this recipe and sending me on a trip down memory lane…

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yeast dough

1 tbsp dry yeast

2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 cup sugar

zest of one lemon, finely grated

6 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft

3/4 cup of warm milk

2 large eggs

Place the warm milk, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp flour and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir to combine and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and work into a smooth dough (start with 2 1/2 cups of flour, but add more if needed). Dough should not stick to the sides of mixer after kneading for about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in volume – about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

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After initial rise, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to one inch thickness and with a 2 1/2 inch diameter glass cut out 12-14 dumplings.

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Cover again while preparing the pan.


In a large pan with tight fitting lid (very important!!) melt:

3 tbsp unsalted butter; add 3/4 cup of water and 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Bring to a boil and place the dumplings on top of mixture, leave some room in between.

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COVER and do NOT REMOVE cover again for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Dampfnudeln translates to “steamed noodles” – the steam that builds up in the pot allows the dough to rise and at the end of the cooking process there will be a sizzling sound in the pan. After 15 minutes, stand by the pan and listen – when there is a sound like steak hitting the grill and all the liquid is evaporated – it is safe to open the lid. Check if the characteristic golden brown crust has formed on the bottom of the dumplings. If not cover again and cook few more minutes.

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Serve immediately with stewed fruit or vanilla sauce (in a pinch I use Dr. Oetker Vanille Soße  from Germany).

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Vanilla Sauce

2 cups of whole milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean (scraped)

4 large egg yolks

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan bring 2 cups of the milk, 2 tbsp of the sugar, and the scraped vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 2 tbsp of sugar. Slowly pour 1 cup of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly, into the egg yolk-sugar mixture. (Do not pour the entire yolk-sugar mixture into the boiling milk mixture, as it will curdle the eggs.) Whisk in the remaining milk. Pour the milk-yolk mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil.

Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine wire sieve into a heat-proof bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator, until ready to use. Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days if well sealed.

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Characteristic golden brown bottom of these delectable treats.

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