Marillenknödel

I love apricots and I associate them with July in Maryland. Their season seems really short, so if I see them at Norman’s Farm Market, I grab as many as they will allow me to take.

My favorite apricot recipe is Marillenknödel, an Austrian apricot-stuffed dumpling. It’s sweet enough to be a dessert, but is often served as a main course in Austria.

The dough for the dumplings can be made either with potatoes or with quark. I’m not entirely sure which way is more traditional. The Austrian Tourist Office website calls for quark in its Wachauer Marillenknödel recipe (The Wachau Valley being Austria’s famous apricot-growing region).

I prefer them with potato. My wife and I found a good recipe on a now-defunct website called Sherie’s Kitchen; I’ve linked to an archived version from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. We made some slight adjustments to come up with the recipe below.

You need a floury baking potato for this recipe since you are forming a dough. Waxier potatoes don’t have the right consistency (I say through the lens of experience).

Ingredients

  • 500 grams of Russet potatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 150 grams of all-purpose flour
  • 10 fresh apricots
  • 10 small sugar cubes
  • 50 grams of plain bread crumbs
  • 7 grams of unsalted butter
  • 25 grams of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon or ½ teaspoon of Dutch process cocoa (or both)

Boil the potatoes in their skins, then peel them as soon as you can. (They peel easier when they’re hot, but it also hurts a lot to do it. Your pain tolerance may vary.)

Mash the potatoes in a large bowl, then knead in the salt and the flour to form a dough. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Slice slits along the seams of the apricots and remove the pits. Replace each pit with a sugar cube.

Form a patty of dough with your hands less than a centimeter thick. Wrap an apricot with dough and seal the seams. Pinch off excess dough as needed. After forming all the dumplings, cook them in boiling water for no more than 10 minutes. Gently stir from time to time to keep the dumplings from sticking to bottom of the pot.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the bread crumbs. Brown them slightly for about two minutes, then stir in the sugar and the cinnamon or the cocoa or both. Turn the heat down to very low and keep the bread crumb mix warm until the dumplings are finished cooking. Stir the crumbs occasionally.

Remove the dumplings from the water and allow them to drain for a few moments. Roll each dumpling in the bread crumbs until lightly coated, then serve. I can usually polish off two or three dumplings in a sitting.