PART II: Sweet Treats

By Sharon Hudgins • Photographs Courtesy Sharon Hudgins

After my dumpling dissertation in the last issue (“The Dumpling Detective”, FM23, p. 8-17), supported by recipes for savory (non-sweet) dumplings, it’s now time for dessert! This food feature focuses on three very different types of dumplings that have a much sweeter character than their more serious savory cousins.

Each of these dumplings illustrate a different main ingredient and cooking technique. Salzburger Nockerln are light, fluffy peaks of baked egg whites, much like a soufflé. Marillenknödel are denser dumplings made with fresh white cheese in the dough surrounding a whole apricot. And Dampfnudeln are large, yeast-raised, flour-based dumplings that are poached in hot milk while also steaming in a big pot.

Although all these sweet dumplings can indeed be eaten for dessert, traditionally they were also served as meatless main dishes on religious fasting days, especially in Catholic regions of southern Germany and Austria. (What a delicious way to “fast”!) As such, many of them belong to a special category of Germanic foods known as Mehlspeisen (flour-based foods), which includes a large number of dumplings and Strudels. In the past, these dishes were such an important part of the cuisine that upscale urban households in Austria and Bavaria even employed special Mehlspeisen cooks for making these beloved “flour foods”.

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