STRAWBERRY FILLED SWEET DUMPLINGS
written by @juliarecipes
Sweet strawberry dumplings are one of my favorite childhood food fulfilled with beautiful summer memories, spent at my grandmothers in Slovakia. When someone asks you, what is the meal, that brings you back to your childhood, then this is it. It is also one of the Czech classics.
For me it was these delicious, fluffy sweet dumplings, filled with fresh strawberries and topped often with cottage cheese, confectioner sugar and melted butter. Oh what a delight!
I can still smell this fresh scent of strawberries, coming out of my grandmothers kitchen, where she used to cook close to 80 dumplings. Me and my other 11 cousins, used to spend summer holidays at my grandma’s estate in West of Slovakia. I called it back then the estate, because at that time i was just a kid and everything looked to me so big.
We used to spend hours in her huge garden not only picking up fresh strawberries or any other fresh fruits or vegetables, but also to remove bad weeds. These were our morning tasks, along with washing dishes or making beds.
Afternoons, we used to spend at the sandy lakes with our friends, surrounded by pine groves, we had nearby the village. Oh yeah, these were a great times!
My grandmother, at that time, grow all the main vegetables and fruits in her garden. We used to have cherry, apple, pear and plum trees, bushes of red and black currant. During the autumn season, we picked many sorts of grapes.
The feeling of independence was amazing, when in the morning I though of having vegetable soup and we went to the garden, to pick up all the fresh vegetable, such as carrots, celery, parsnip, potatoes or green peas, needed for the soup. This was my summer childhood.
Well enough of good old times, now i have to explain you, how to make these delightful, fluffy sweet strawberry dumplings. First, I will talk about yeast…Yeast is used in baking as a leavening agent, where it converts the food fermentable sugars present in dough into the gas carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to expand or rise as gas forms pockets or bubbles.
WHAT KIND OF YEAST SHOULD I USE
There are 3 types of yeast commonly available, fresh yeast which comes in solid square form, active dry yeast and fast-acting or instant yeast. Fresh yeast will only last a couple of days in the fridge but can be frozen for up to 3 months. Active dry and instant yeast can be stored in a cool dry (refrigerator once opened) place until the ‘best before’ date on the packaging.
Fresh yeast and active dry yeast granules need to be dissolved in warm liquid along with a little sugar to get them working and should be left to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbles start to form on the surface of the yeast mixture, before adding to the other bread ingredients. Instant yeast comes in the form of very fine granules so can just be added directly to the flour and mixed in along with the other ingredients.
I usually use active or instant yeast, because it’s easier to store it and it doesn’t have a strong smell. On the other hand, I find, that fresh yeast reacts much faster and makes the dough rise much quicker and dumplings are much more fluffier.
SUBSTITUTE ONE TYPE OF YEAST FOR ANOTHER
For dry active yeast use half the quantity of fresh yeast, instant yeast you need to use 1/4 of the quantity of fresh yeast.
30g (1 ounce) of fresh yeast = 15g (1/2 ounce) active dry yeast= 7g (1/4) instant yeast
Cottage cheese comes into three varieties, based on the amount of milk fat: regular cottage cheese, low fat or reduced fat cottage cheese and nonfat or dry curd cottage cheese. In this recipe for strawberry dumplings, I am using cottage cheese as a topping on the dumplings, but you can add a bit of cottage cheese also in the filling.
By adding desired amount of sugar or sweetener in cottage cheese, you will create tasty topping or filling for these strawberry dumplings. I use dry curd cottage cheese, because you can sprinkle it like a sugar on the dumplings.
Oh, sweet delight of summery fruits, like strawberries. At these times, we get strawberries all year long, but they don’t taste the same. When local strawberry farm next to my house open in late June with offer “pick up your own strawberries, I always run with my kids and we are having so much fun to stuff our faces with strawberries.
We bring many baskets back home and first thing, what I do, is these strawberry dumplings. I, as well make strawberry jam, smoothies, chia puddings, I freeze some strawberries for later use…strawberries are so delicious!
In this recipe for strawberry dumplings, you can use also frozen strawberries. Don’t forget to thaw them before using them, so your dough wouldn’t be too saggy. By adding few spoons of sugar to the filling, will make your dumpling even more delicious.
Clean and cut you strawberries in quarters, its is easier then to close the dumpling, when cut in smaller pieces. If your strawberries are huge, which some of them can be really giant, cut them in smaller pieces.
HOW TO STEAM DUMPLINGS
- bamboo steamer
- vegetable steamer basket
- double boiler pot
Without any special equipment, you can steam your strawberry dumplings. I have named 4 main tools for steaming. I am sure one of those must be in the forgotten corner of your kitchen. I have actually all 4 of them, but because I am using big quantity of dumplings (my family is big lover of strawberry dumplings), so cheesecloth allows me to use my biggest pot to steam 10 dumplings at the same time.
STRAWBERRY FILLED SWEET DUMPLINGS
Preparation time: 1 hour+1 hour raising the dough ⭐cooking time: 8 minutes⭐ servings: 20-25 dumplings/ for 4-5 persons
- 500 g (2 cups) all purpose flour
- 20 g fresh yeast / 10 g (2 tsps) dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 250 ml (1 cup) lukewarm milk
- 1 egg
- pinch of salt
- 300 g (2 cups) fresh strawberries
- 100 g (1/2 cups) sugar
- 250 g (1 cup) curd cottage cheese
- 150 g (2/3 cup) melted butter
- 100 g (1/2 cup) confectioner sugar
- In a large bowl, sift all purpose flour and make a small nest with your hand to place crumbled fresh yeast in it. Add sugar and half of the lukewarm milk. (If you are using dry yeast, place the yeast in a cup, add lukewarm milk and sugar, stir with a spoon & let rise for 10 minutes. Add it to the all purpose flour and continue the recipe below). Within ten minutes the yeast should start to activate and become bubbly.
- Add the remaining milk, eggs and salt and with wooden spoon or with help of electric robot, mix until the dough becomes non sticky. Allow the dough to rise for one hour, in warm place (cover the bowl with clean cloth).
- Spread the dough on a flat surface, sprinkled with flour. Roll the dough on 1/2 inch thick and cut out 4 inch large pieces with cookie cutter. You should be able to cut out at least 20 pieces.
- Clean and cut strawberries on small pieces, place it in medium bowl and add sugar. Stir the sugar with strawberries. Put one Tbsp of strawberry on each dumpling and close the dough by shaping it in a ball. Once all the dumplings are shaped, cover them with clean cloth and let rise for another 20 minutes.
- In the meanwhile prepare large pot with water and secure cheesecloth on the edges of the pot. By tightening up the cheesecloth on the handles of the pot. Bring the water to boil and add 1 tsp of salt.
- Place the dumplings on the cheesecloth, cover with a lid and steam for 8 minutes. After steaming, poke each dumpling with a fork, so the steam can escape and the dumplings remain fluffy.
- Place the dumplings in large bowl and cover with plastic food wrap, so they stay warm.
- To serve: place the dumplings on plate, crumble the cottage cheese on the top of the dumplings, pour melted butter, add fresh cut strawberries and sift all over confectioner sugar. It is a heaven! Enjoy!
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