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Swiss Plum Dumplings: A Taste of Alpine Comfort

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Switzerland, known for its majestic mountains and rich cultural heritage, also boasts a diverse culinary tradition that reflects its geographic and cultural influences. Swiss cuisine is celebrated for its hearty and comforting dishes, often featuring seasonal ingredients in creative ways. Among these delights is the Swiss Plum Dumpling, a delicious and satisfying treat that combines sweet plums with a delicate potato dough, offering a taste of Alpine comfort and culinary craftsmanship.

Background and Origin

Swiss Plum Dumplings, known locally as “Zwetschgenknödel,” are a cherished dish enjoyed in various regions of Switzerland, especially during late summer and early autumn when plums are in season. This dish exemplifies Swiss culinary ingenuity, combining the sweetness of ripe plums with a tender potato-based dough, often served with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and a dollop of creamy butter. Whether enjoyed as a dessert or a comforting main dish, Swiss Plum Dumplings showcase the country’s love for simple yet flavorful cuisine.

Ingredients

The ingredients for Swiss Plum Dumplings typically include:

  • Potatoes: 1 lb (about 450g) of starchy potatoes, such as Russet or Yukon Gold, peeled and boiled until tender.
  • Flour: 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting.
  • Egg: 1 large egg.
  • Salt: 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  • Plums: 10-12 ripe plums, pitted and halved.
  • Sugar: 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.
  • Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • Butter: 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
  • Breadcrumb Topping (Optional): 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs toasted in butter until golden brown.

Recipe

Step 1: Prepare the Potato Dough

  1. Cook Potatoes: In a large pot, boil the peeled potatoes until tender. Drain well and let them cool slightly.
  2. Mash Potatoes: Mash the cooked potatoes using a potato masher or pass them through a potato ricer to achieve a smooth consistency.
  3. Combine Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, combine the mashed potatoes with flour, egg, and salt. Mix until a soft and pliable dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Step 2: Shape the Dumplings

  1. Divide Dough: Divide the dough into equal portions and roll each portion into a ball about the size of a golf ball.
  2. Fill with Plums: Flatten each dough ball in the palm of your hand. Place a halved plum, pitted side down, in the center of each flattened dough ball. Carefully wrap the dough around the plum, pinching to seal and forming a smooth ball. Ensure that the plum is completely enclosed.

Step 3: Cook the Dumplings

  1. Boil Water: Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil.
  2. Cook Dumplings: Carefully drop the dumplings into the boiling water, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for about 10-12 minutes, or until the dumplings float to the surface and are cooked through.

Step 4: Prepare Toppings

  1. Cinnamon Sugar: In a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon.
  2. Breadcrumb Topping (Optional): In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toast, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Drain and Plate: Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked dumplings from the water and drain briefly.
  2. Coat and Garnish: Roll each dumpling in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat evenly. Serve hot, topped with a dollop of butter and optionally sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs.

Serving Suggestions

  • Traditional Accompaniment: Serve Swiss Plum Dumplings with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla sauce for added richness.
  • Seasonal Twist: Substitute plums with other seasonal fruits like apricots or peaches for variation.
  • Storage: Dumplings can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently in simmering water before serving.

Conclusion

Swiss Plum Dumplings offer a delightful blend of sweet, fruity flavors encased in a tender potato dough, showcasing the creativity and warmth of Swiss cuisine. Whether enjoyed as a comforting dessert or a unique main dish, these dumplings evoke the essence of Alpine comfort and culinary heritage. Embrace the simplicity and satisfaction of Swiss Plum Dumplings and savor each bite as a tribute to Switzerland’s love for seasonal ingredients and timeless culinary traditions.

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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