Submitted by Cyndee Sindelar
About the cook: I've been an enthusiastic home cook for over 40 years! My first creations were in my Easy Bake Oven, then I graduated to making scrambled eggs and toast, at eight years old. Before long, I was making pot roasts, seafood dishes, and Duck a l'orange. Exploring foods from around the world has also been exciting, as has putting my own touches to dishes, and coming up with my own special creations.
About the dish: Fruit dumplings are popular throughout Central Europe, but this recipe is different than others in that it is made with farmer's cheese. Strawberry dumplings are our family's favorite, but this recipe can be used with Italian prune plums or small apricots. Though many would see this as a dessert, and it could be, these are more traditionally eaten at lunch. The best farmer's cheese for this recipe is one that resembles feta, though if only a "pot style" farmer's cheese is available, a little more flour could be added to make it work. For lunch, it serves two. For dessert, it could serve four.
National Origin: Czech
Estimated Time: Under 30 Minutes
8 oz farmer’s cheese, grated
1 large egg, beaten
6 Tbs all-purpose flour (A bit more may be needed for wetter farmer’s cheese)
Pinch of salt
12-15 medium strawberries, washed, dried, and hulled
Sifted confectioner’s sugar, for topping (2 to 4 Tbs)
Melted butter, for topping (2 to 4 Tbs)
More grated farmer’s cheese, for topping (2 oz or more)
Optional: Whipped cream (for topping)
Optional: Halved or sliced strawberries (as decoration)
Grate farmer’s cheese, then mix it in a medium-sized bowl with the beaten egg, flour, and salt to form a soft dough. Only add a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time, if very sticky. Knead on floured board.
Set a large pot of water on to boil and add a little salt.
While water is heating, on the floured board, work the dough into a long cylindrical shape, which you’ll slice into roughly 12-15 even-sized pieces. Use these individual pieces of dough to wrap around the fruit until the fruit doesn’t show anymore. The dough wrapping will not be that thick. Flour hands frequently so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. I usually first flatten the dough piece in my hand, then work it around the strawberry. Then I roll the wrapped “ball” in my hand to help distribute the dough more evenly around the strawberry. Put wrapped dumplings on a lightly floured or wax paper lined plate, as you wrap the rest.
Gently drop the prepared dumplings into the large pot of boiling salted water (make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot). Cover with a lid, and simmer for about 6 minutes. Most or all dumplings should be floating by then.
Spoon cooked dumplings out of pot with a large slotted spoon, draining off water. Put onto serving plates. Serve with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, a drizzle of melted butter, more farmer’s cheese, and optional whipped cream and fresh strawberries, to decorate.
If desired, these dumplings can be frozen before the boiling process. Simply freeze wrapped dumplings on a waxed or parchment lined tray or large plate. Once frozen, they can be transferred to a freezer bag. To cook, simply boil from frozen, but for about 5 or more extra minutes, than usual.