Like many Hungarian recipes, szilvás gomboc borders the line between being a main course or a dessert. Szilvás Gombóc belongs in the pasta (or tészta) category, which means that they can be eaten as a meal in themselves or as a dessert following a light meal. Either way, plum dumplings are one of my all-time favorite Hungarian dishes. Hungarians love these dumplings, and it’s easy to see why after you try one (or many). They combine salty and sweet, juicy plums and butter. They always quickly disappear—if not the night they’re made, but for breakfast the next morning (at least in my house). This recipe can also be made with apricots instead of plums (in that case it would be called barack gombóc). Another possibility for when fruit isn’t in season is to stuff the dough with plum or apricot jam instead of the fresh fruit. But now that plums are still available at the market, these plum dumplings are a perfect way to use all of those plums that inevitably get a bit bruised by the time you lug your shopping bags home from the market.
FOR THE DOUGH:
1 kg (2 1/4 pounds) baking potatoes
50 grams (3 1/2 tablespoons) butter, softened
250 grams (2 cups) flour
Pinch of salt
FOR THE STUFFING:
32 small plums (or 16 larger ones), pitted
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
FOR THE COATING:
150 grams (1 stick, plus 3 tablespoons) butter
150 grams (1 1/2 cups) dry (unseasoned) bread crumbs
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar for dusting
Boil the potatoes in their skins in salted water until they’re cooked through. When they’re cool enough to handle, peel them and push them through a ricer (if you don’t have a ricer, use a potato masher, but be sure that no lumps remain). Leave them to cool. Meanwhile, halve the plums and sprinkle the insides with the sugar and cinnamon (if the plums aren’t very sweet, add an extra tablespoon of sugar).
In a mixing bowl, add the egg and butter to the riced potatoes and combine. Add the flour and salt, and knead until all ingredients are well-combined. Form the mixture into a ball.
On a large floured surface, roll the dough out roughly into a square shape, with 1/3 inch thickness. Cut into 32 even pieces.
To form the dumplings, place one plum in the center of a dough square and bring the four corners together to cover the plum. Pinch the dough, and be sure to completely cover the plum (otherwise all of the good juices will spill out and the dumpling will fall apart).
Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add dumplings, but don’t overcrowd the pot (you may need to do it in several batches). Gently stir occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking to the bottom. Cook for about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a medium skillet over medium heat and add bread crumbs, powdered sugar, and salt. Stir until well combined, and keep cooking until bread crumbs are lightly browned, stirring so the mixture cooks evenly.
To serve, roll the dumplings lightly in the bread crumb mixture until coated. Place in a serving dish and sprinkle extra bread crumbs (if there are any) on top. Dust powdered sugar on top, and serve with extra powdered sugar for sprinkling.
Tip: If your kitchen is very hot, keep the dough in the refrigerator while you are not working with it. It becomes difficult to handle when it’s too warm.
Yield: 32 dumplings