Plum Dumplings

Plum Dumplings Recipe

(Courtesy of the Lang family.  Don't make too many of these, as they're quite filling and you may find your family doesn't share your taste for them)

Ingredients:

Dumplings:(all quantities are approximate. Remember, our grandmothers' words, 'a little of this, a little of that;' well, this is just a small improvement over those vague recipes!)

- twelve or so, nicely ripe prune plums
- two cups flour
- two-thirds cup finely mashed unseasoned potatoes
- three or four tablespoons cooking oil
- quarter teaspoon salt
- one cup milk
- two or three tablespoons sugar
- tablespoon or so of sweetened condensed milk (optional)
- egg (optional. It tends to make the dough tough)

Sauce:

- three or four tablespoons butter
- two tablespoons flour
- milk, as needed
- two or three tablespoons honey
- condensed milk (optional)

Method:

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil and mashed potatoes to milk, blend thoroughly (hand blender works well). Note: using mashed potatoes in the dough is an old family secret. The dough is essentially the same as for perogies - but without sweetener-and stays soft even if you happen to overcook it). Add liquid to dry ingredients and make a dough. It should be quite soft and sticky. Work it with flour if it's too sticky, and add a little more milk if it's too stiff. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into rounds with a drinking glass. The dough should be quite thin, perhaps a quarter of an inch; if it's too thick, give the rounds another pass with the roller.

You can use whole plums with pits and just a bit of sugar, but I prefer to "Butterfly" the plums, by cutting them half open and removing the pits. Fill the pit-holes with some butter and brown sugar or honey(this part is my own invention). Put plums on dough rounds, wet edges of dough with water (just dip your finger into a dish of water and rub it around the edge). Squeeze the dough up and around the plums, and seal them so that they are fully contained. Roll the balls between your hands to ensure they are covered evenly. Don't worry if a bit of purple is just barely be visible through the dough in spots. Remember, the dough should be quite thin (most people who don't like these things always say there's too much dough!)

Sauce: Make a roux with the butter and flour, add milk and honey to produce a fairly thin, sweet sauce. You can also just use condensed milk with regular milk: mix the two, add some melted butter and voila.

Have lots of water at a full boil and drop the dumplings in for about four minutes. Some may bleed a bit -don't worry about it. Option one: Remove, cut in half on a dessert dish, add a tablespoon or two of sauce and serve. Option two (my favorite): boil for just three or four minutes, then remove and place all dumplings in glass dish. Pour sauce over all the dumplings, so that all have been coated and there's about a half inch of sauce in the dish. Cover and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or so. To serve, put dumpling on plate, slice open to reveal the cooked plum. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of sauce over the dumpling and serve hot.

More traditional, optional method: Do not pit plums. Do not sweeten the dough. Add an egg. Coat plum thickly (half inch) Boil for several minutes until cooked. Roll in bread crumbs, sautee' in butter, cut in half, sprinkle on some sugar and serve hot or cold. Personally, I think this version gives you a much heavier dumpling and less dessert-like, but suit yourself.

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