Austrians are the world champions in making warm desserts and these Strawberry Topfen Dumplings (Erdbeerknödel) are proof of that. The strawberries are encased in a delectable chewy dough, boiled, and then rolled in a crispy, buttery crumb coating.
Dumplings, both sweet and savory, are a staple of the Austrian-Bohemian cuisine. Strawberry Dumplings are an especially posh variety. The fruity aroma that wafts up when you cut one open is intoxicating!
Topfen (farmer’s cheese, curd cheese or quark) is the key ingredient in the dough of these dumplings. It gives the dough elasticity and a delicate cheesecake-like tang.
We use the same dough for these Strawberry Dumplings as for my Apricot Dumplings. I’ve tried loads of recipes and this one is the easiest to work with and the dumplings are light and delicious.
You don’t need to wait for strawberry season to make Strawberry Dumplings. Using frozen strawberries is actually my favorite way to make these and I make them all year round. You just wrap the dough around the frozen strawberry. Easy.
When you use frozen strawberries the dough also behaves better due to the coldness of the strawberry. There is no sacrifice in taste – dumplings made with frozen strawberries are just as good as the ones made with fresh strawberries, if not better.
If you haven’t had much success with Strawberry Dumplings in the past or if this is your first time making them, I have some tips for you.
HERE ARE THE BEST TRICKS FOR MAKING STRAWBERRY DUMPLINGS
- Chilling the dough thoroughly before shaping the dumplings is the most important step in making Strawberry Dumplings! Two hours in the fridge helps the dough relax and get nice and cold. Warm dough is too soft and sticky.
- What kind of topfen should I buy? Get the smooth, “streichfähig,” topfen with 20% fat. Avoid the light products, “mager,” and the crumbly kind, “bröselig.”
- Use the right kind of flour. In Austria, this flour is called “griffig.” It’s white flour but is a little more coarsely ground and is ideal for making dumplings.
- Strawberries: do I use fresh or frozen? Either! The dumplings taste great with both.
- Keep flouring your hands while shaping the dumplings to prevent sticking.
- Use plenty of dough to wrap the strawberry. Add more dough while shaping the dumpling if you need to.
- Pinch the dough to seal and make sure the seam isn’t visible.
- Chill the dumplings while heating the cooking water.
- Work in batches. Depending on the size of the pot, don’t cook more than half the dumplings at a time, roll in crumbs and set aside on a platter while you cook the rest.
- You can freeze the raw dumplings. Make sure dumplings don’t touch until they are frozen solid. To prepare frozen dumplings, simmer in salted water, just as with fresh ones, and then roll in the crumbs.
I hope you’re excited to try your hand at making Strawberry Dumplings. They are well worth the effort!
Austrian Strawberry Topfen Dumplings
The recipe below yields enough dumplings to serve 6 hungry people.
- 2 eggs
- 3 ½ ounces (100 g) butter room temperature
- 18 ounces (500 g) quark or farmer’s cheese (Topfen 20% fat)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Scant 2 cups (270 g) flour (use griffiges in Austria)
- 1 pinch salt
- 16-20 medium-sized strawberries fresh or frozen
- 3 ½ tablespoons (50 g) butter
- 7 ounces (200 g) dry bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar for sifting over the dumplings
To make the dumpling dough cream the butter in a bowl with a hand mixer and add the eggs while continuously beating. The mixture will look curdled at this point! Add the quark, vanilla, sugar, flour and salt and mix everything together. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours (very important!).
Wash and dry fresh strawberries and remove stem. Frozen strawberries do not need to be thawed.
To shape the dumplings keep your hands well-floured. Using a soup spoon scoop out a generous portion of dough, flatten it with your hands, place a strawberry on the dough and wrap the dough around the strawberry, sealing the edges. Make sure the seam isn’t visible. Lightly shape the dumpling into a round ball. Place dumplings on a plate and keep chilled.*
For the crumb coating melt the butter in a large frying pan and slowly toast the breadcrumbs, stirring often and watching carefully to prevent them from burning. Remove from heat and stir in the granulated sugar.
In a large, wide pot, bring salted water to a boil. Reduce heat and lay the dumplings into the simmering water. To prevent splashing hot water on your hands, place dumplings on a slotted spoon and lower them into the water. Lightly nudge the dumplings with the spoon to unstick them from the bottom of the pot.
Once they have come to the surface, simmer the dumplings for an additional 5 minutes. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and roll them in the toasted crumbs to coat. Place finished dumplings on a platter while cooking the rest. Serve dumplings warm with additional crumbs and powdered sugar.
Store leftover dumplings and crumbs in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Dumplings and crumbs can be reheated in the microwave. You can also lightly toast the crumbs in a pan to crisp them up if you wish.
*The raw dumplings can also be frozen. Make sure they aren’t touching until they are frozen solid. To prepare: place frozen dumplings into simmering salted water. Once the dumplings have come to the surface of the water, cook them for an additional 5 minutes. Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and roll them in toasted crumbs.