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Germknoedel – Steamed Sweet Austrian Dumplings

Germknödel, (Austrian German for yeast dumpling) is a fluffy yeast dough dumpling with a mix of poppy seeds and sugar, filled with spicy plum jam and melted butter on top, often eaten with vanilla cream sauce. It is a culinary specialty of Austria, Bavaria, and Bohemia. The dish is served both as a dessert and as a main course.

Germknödel is usually a spherical or bun-shaped dessert. The dessert’s main ingredient is a yeast dough with sugar and fat, usually butter, added to the dough. The dumpling is filled with Powidl (sweet and spicy plum jam). The dumpling is steamed and then served still hot with either melted butter or vanilla dessert sauce, and topped with crushed poppy seeds and sugar.

The main difference between Germknödel and a related dish, Dampfnudeln, is that the former is either steamed or boiled whereas the latter is cooked in a deep pan.

Germknoedel - Steamed Sweet Austrian Dumplings
Served either with melted butter or vanilla sauce and poppy seeds crushed with sugar, Germknödel are popular at Austrian ski resorts. Try these dumplings on a cold day, after a bowl of vegetable soup for a delightful meal.
Serves: 16
Ingredients
For dumplings
  • 1 package instant yeast (2 ¼ teaspoon)
  • 3 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (500 grams)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar or sugar plus ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
For filling
  • ¾ cup Powidl or plum jam
  • 1 tablespoon rum (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
For topping
  • ⅓ cup poppyseeds
  • ⅓ cup sugar
Instructions
Start the dough
  1. Mix the instant yeast with the flour, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon zest and salt. Add the softened butter, egg and milk and mix, using a dough hook or with a spoon by hand, until a medium-soft dough forms.
  2. If you are using a mixer with a dough hook, you can continue kneading in the bowl with the hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. Adjust flour or milk as needed to make a pliable, but not sticky dough.
  3. If you are making the dough by hand, turn it out on a lightly floured board and knead for several minutes, until smooth and elastic. If dough is too stiff, knead with wet hands until it becomes softer.
  4. Form the dough into a ball, flour lightly and place in a bowl to double in a warm place. Cover with a clean towel. Let it rise about 1 hour, or until doubled in size. The dough made with instant yeast might rise faster.
Make filling
  1. If you are adding rum and / or cinnamon to the jam, stir it together now. You may use any jam flavour or cherries or Nutella, too.
Form dumplings
  1. Remove your dough from the bowl to a lightly floured board. Pinch off 50-60 g pieces. You may make them larger, but they will take longer to steam.
  2. Roll the pieces into a ball and then flatten them with your palm to form 10 cm balls
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of jam to the centre and then pull up opposite sides and pinch closed. Pinch the other two sides closed and make sure the jam is well-sealed inside the dough. Roll the dumplings bit in your hands to round up the dumpling.
  4. Set dumplings on the floured board, sprinkle with flour if you wish, and cover with a cloth. Let sit 10 - 20 minutes.
Prepare your steamer
  1. Use a bamboo steamer set up that they have for woks (to make dim sum) or the metal vegetable steamer covered with a cotton cloth cut to fit.
  2. Place 3 - 5 cm in the pan, hang the steamer over the water and bring the whole thing to a boil (you will need a lid, too).
Steam
  1. Place dumplings on steamer over boiling water, leaving about 2 cm of room to rise in all directions. Cover pan and steam 20 minutes.
Make topping
  1. Grind equal amounts of poppy seeds and sugar in a poppy seed grinder or a blade coffee grinder. Set aside.
Serve
  1. Place 1 or 2 dumplings on a plate and pour melted butter over the top. Sprinkle poppy mixture over top, as much as you wish. You may also make vanilla sauce while you are waiting for the dough to rise. Pour vanilla sauce and poppy mixture over the top when you are ready.
Notes
You may substitute cake yeast or regular dried yeast for the instant. Proof both types in the milk before adding to the flour and other ingredients.
Also, you can also use the poppy seeds whole to save a step.
If this makes too many, or you don't want to steam them right away, you can place them in the refrigerator for later. This is what restaurants do, so they can steam one serving at a time.
You can also bake these into sweet buns: Melt 1-2 tablespoons butter in a 23 x 33 cm dish, arrange the buns seam side down with a little space between them. Let them rise a few minutes, then bake at 175°C for 25 - 30 minutes. Drizzle a little icing on top and you have a wonderful breakfast bun.

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Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, John is a superior specialist in growing palms and exotic plants.
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