Fluffy and light plum dumplings with their juicy filling are a beloved Czech dessert or even a sweet entree.
Although I come from the Czech Republic, our national cuisine has never been the most prominent in my cooking. I mostly gravitate towards Mediterranean cuisines, probably because of their health benefits and quick & simple recipes.
However, there are quite a few Czech recipes I absolutely love and regularly make for special occasions. I’d like to share some of them here with you.
The original recipes can hardly be considered healthy or clean eating, since our cuisine overflows with heavy, hearty meals. Fortunately, the recipes can be tweaked easily to healthier but just as delicious versions. Now you can try Czech meals out without feeling guilty about the excessive grease or sugar!
As for today, meet Plum Dumplings.
Dumplings of all shapes and forms are a staple in Czech cuisine. Bread dumplings, potato dumplings, Karlsbad dumplings, even so-called “hairy” dumplings. They are mostly boiled or steamed and served as a side to our hearty meat-based entrees. In addition to the broad dumpling collection, Czechs also make all kinds of sweet dumplings, typically filled with fruit.
Actually, it is one of the specifics of Czech cuisine, that sweet meals are sometimes served for the main course. Of course, these plum dumplings are just as irresistible as a dessert! But in the Czech Republic, we would most likely eat them for lunch.
Alright, enough culinary excursion to my country’s cuisine :). Let’s get to the food.
The plum dumplings are made from yeast dough filled with plums and then boiled in water. You can use either instant, active dry or fresh yeast. The instant, you just add to your flour mixture, which is a little easier and a bit less intimidating if you’ve never worked with yeast before. Active dry or fresh you’d need to mix with a little bit of lukewarm milk and sweetener and let it activate for about ten minutes until it’s all bubbly. I used instant because that’s what I had on hand.
After the yeast has been activated (or right away with instant), mix all ingredients and knead into a quite firm, not overly sticky dough. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
While the dough is rising, you can use the time to make the topping. Most often, the fruit dumplings are topped with melted butter, powdered sugar and a special grated cheese called “tvaroh”. I haven’t been able to find the cheese outside the country (I’m not a fan anyway) and the loads of butter and sugar are a nutritional nightmare.
Personally, I much prefer a lighter option, which many of my Czech friends like to top their plum dumplings with – yogurt sauce. It’s simply yogurt with your favorite sweetener and a little vanilla extract. Keep in mind it needs to be very sweet since the dumplings themselves are hardly sweetened at all.
After the dough has risen, roll it out and cut into squares.
Wrap each square around a plum.
Boil for about 12 minutes, turning them halfway through. Then take them out with a spoon and stab each of them a couple times with a toothpick or a fork.
Now just pour over your topping and dig in!
- For the dumplings
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 1 tablespoon active dry or 20 grams fresh)
- 4 cups and 2 tablespoons (500g) whole wheat flour (or a mixture of whole wheat and regular all purpose)
- pinch of salt
- 1 and ¼ cup (300ml) lukewarm almond milk (or milk of choice, make sure it's around body temperature, if too hot or it could kill your yeast)
- 1 tablespoon agave or other sweetener
- about 20 pitted plums, fresh or canned and drained
- For the topping
- 2 cups (500g) soy yogurt of choice (or yogurt of choice)
- 3 tablespoons agave or other sweetener (adjust amount to taste)
- optional: ½ teaspoon vanilla
- If using active dry or fresh yeast, mix it with a little bit of the lukewarm milk and sweetener and let activate for about ten minutes until it’s all bubbly.
- After the yeast has been activated (or right away with instant), just mix all dumpling ingredients (except for the plums) and knead into a quite firm, not overly sticky dough. If it sticks too much, add flour and if too dry, add more milk. Different flours absorb liquids differently, so it is basically impossible to give exact measurements.
- Cover your dough with plastic foil and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. The dough should double in size (the times may vary a bit depending on temperature and humidity and a thousand other factors).
- While the dough is rising, mix all the ingredients for the topping.
- After the dough has risen, roll it out on a floured surface into about ⅓-1/2 inches (1 cm) in thickness. You can even use your hands, the dough is very pliable. Cut into somewhat even squares, about 3 x 3 inches (8 x 8 cm) and put a plum in the center of each square.
- Put a large pot of water onto the stove and start bringing to a boil. In the meantime, wrap the dumpling dough around the plums into round dumplings and set back on the floured surface (so they don’t stick).
- As soon as the water starts to boil, drop some of the dumplings into the pot. They need to have enough space though so don’t boil all at once. Only drop in as many as fit next to each other floating in the pot.
- Boil for about 12 minutes, turning them halfway through. Then take them out with a spoon and stab eat of them a couple times with a toothpick or a fork. That way the steam can come out and the dumplings will be fluffier. Repeat until you boiled all of your plum dumplings.
- Now just pour over your topping and dig in!
- Makes about 20 dumplings
Dessert or a sweet entree? What do you like better?