Enjoy a taste of summer in Austria with these traditional apricot dumplings, made even easier with our vegan version! Under a coating of sweet toasted breadcrumbs, a simple dough hides a delicious, juicy apricot... Try our recipe and you'll see why these Marillenknödel are a favourite in every Austrian kitchen.
Here’s what we love about these vegan apricot dumplings:
- They are simple with only a few, easy ingredients
- They are a classic sweet dish of Austria
- They've got sweet toasted crumbs on the outside...
- And juicy apricot on the inside
- You can make them all on the hob with no oven required - a big plus for us in the van!
What is a Marillenknödel in Austrian cuisine?
A Knödel is what Austrians call a dumpling. And there are plenty of different varieties of dumplings in Austrian cuisine, both sweet and savoury. There are hearty bread dumplings, light yeasted dumplings, potato dumplings, quark dumplings, strawberry dumplings, and many, many more… The sweet dumpling classic though, is the Marillenknödel, an Austrian apricot dumpling.
To make Marillenknödel, you enclose apricots in dough, cook them and roll them in toasted breadcrumbs. And of course, you put icing sugar on top. Austrians basically eat icing sugar for breakfast…
In restaurants, you might find Marillenknödel on the menu as a dessert or sweet course. But when I had apricot dumplings as a kid, it was usually a main meal for lunch. Sweet main courses… A typically Austrian thing. And a welcome treat for hungry children coming home from school. It sort of was a game: can my mum cook more apricot dumplings than we could eat? Yes, I ate a lot of them. And really, who wouldn’t?
How to make the dough for our vegan apricot dumplings
Some recipes for vegan Marillenknödel use soy yoghurt strained through a muslin cloth, but we found that very messy, faffy and resulting in a dough that stuck to our hands when we were shaping the dumplings. Also, we don’t ever have soy yoghurt with us in the camper van, trying to reduce waste by avoiding products in plastic packaging. So we tried a kartoffelteig potato dough, and liked it!
The potato dough is so simple, you've got to love it: Potatoes and flour, that’s all you need. Cook some potatoes, mash them, add about 1 part flour to 4 parts mashed potatoes (by weight) and knead into a dough. When the dough has cooled down a bit, it is immediately ready to use. Just mix the flour in while the potato mash is still hot, or the dumplings could end up grainy.
Shaping the dumplings
To shape the Marillenknödel, take a piece of dough - size depending on the size of the apricot to wrap up - and flatten it. Place an apricot on it, wrap the piece of dough around it. Finally, roll the dumpling between your hands to smoothen it up. Try not to tear holes, they can be a pain to patch up again and result in a leak of the apricot’s juice in the cooking. It is a bit easier to shape the dumplings with cold, floured hands - Sophie finds it a lot easier than Paul 😉
We leave the stones in the apricots. You simply remove it while you eat. Some people like to remove the stones before cooking and replace them with a cube of sugar for some extra sweetness from the inside.
Cooking the Marillenknödel
The beautifully shaped Marillenknödel are cooked in gently boiling water in a deep pan. It’s tempting to put in too many at once, but leave them a bit of space to move about. When a dumpling floats to the top, it is telling you that it is almost done. After two more minutes, take it out and place it on a board or plate to steam off for a minute before proceeding… The best is yet to come.
Semmelbrösel - toasted breadcrumbs
The apricot dumplings are not eaten plain. Before they are sprinkled with icing sugar, the knoedel are rolled in toasted breadcrumbs. In Austria, you can often buy fine bread crumbs (as well as bread cubes) in local bakeries, but also in supermarkets, in reasonable quantities. You can also make them at home by putting stale bread cut into cubes into a food processor, and pulsing until fine.
If you are good at multi tasking, prepare the bread crumbs while the dumplings are cooking. The dumplings will forgive you if they are floating on the water a few minutes longer than necessary. That’s important because once the bread crumbs are toasting, they will require a lot of attention.
To toast the breadcrumbs, heat some oil in a frying pan on medium heat and toss the bread crumbs inside. Combine well and stir often. Be very careful not to burn them, as they can VERY suddenly burn at the bottom of the pan and spoil the whole lot. Better have some patience, don’t cook the breadcrumbs too hot and stir a lot.
Once the broesel start turning darker, it’s just a matter of seconds. The breadcrumbs are perfect when they have turned dark orange brown. Personally, I like to mix some icing sugar into the bread crumbs. As a kid, I did that on the plate, but since I am now cooking myself, I mix the icing sugar straight into the pan 🙂 That, however, doesn’t keep me from sprinkling some more on later…
Ready to roll
Toss the steamed off apricot dumplings into the pan of toasted bread crumbs roll them around and use a ladle to completely cover them in breadcrumbs. I always like to have some excess breadcrumbs. If you didn’t make enough, start serving and make another batch of breadcrumbs!
Time to eat! YUM! Marillenknödel taste so amazing… Just look at the heavenly stream apricot juice running from the opened dumpling… We had to hold back from eating all of the dumplings for the photo session. Oh, it’s so easy to put on weight in the summer, despite all outside activities, when apricots are in season…
Apricot dumplings also freeze well uncooked, after you have wrapped them in dough. To cook from frozen, do exactly as if they were fresh. They might take a little longer, but when they float to the top, they should be done after two or three more minutes. You can also freeze the apricots whole, and make fresh dough to make dumplings. Apricots are easy to wrap in dough when they are frozen solid, right out of the freezer.
Vegan Apricot Dumplings - Marillenknödel
Making the dough
- Peel the potatoes and cut into pieces. You can save the peels to make these potato peel crisps.
- In a pan of (lightly salted) water, cook the potatoes until tender. Approximately 10 - 15 mins.
- Drain the potatoes and mash or puree them.
- Mix the mashed potatoes with the flour into a smooth dough.
Shaping the dumplings
- Divide the dough into pieces. If your apricots are quite large, then 10 should be about right. If your apricots are smaller then try 12.
- Using lightly floured hands, shape a piece of dough into a disc, place an apricot inside and wrap it with the dough. Press the dough together to seal the gap. Make sure you have no holes in the dough. You can also gently roll the ball in your hands to smoothen the surface.
Cooking the dumplings
- Prepare a large pot or pan with boiling water.
- Place the dumplings carefully in the water and continue to boil the water gently.
- After the dumplings start to float, cook for another 2 minutes.
- Remove the dumplings from the water, ideally with a slotted spoon and put on a plate to steam off the excess liquid.
Toasting the breadcrumbs
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil with the breadcrumbs. Mix well to remove any lumps.
- Stir constantly until golden brown.They can turn from brown to burnt quite quickly, so stay alert!
- Remove from heat and mix in the icing sugar.
- Roll the dumplings in the breadcrumbs so that they are full covered.
- Top the dumplings with an extra sprinkle of icing sugar, and a spoonful of breadcumbs.
This information is calculated per serving and is an estimate only.
We hope you enjoyed our vegan apricot dumplings!
With lots of love from Austria,
Sophie and Paul