You can never deny your roots and in this particular case it’s a good thing. Oliver’s family has a distinctive love for all kinds of sweet desserts, to be more specific: in his family his Dad has always been and still is in charge as well as the driving force of preparing the most wonderful sweet treats one can imagine: waffles, crepes, puddings (rice and especially semolina puddings) – in no particular order. All very good reasons for me to look forward to every visit… besides the two being wonderful people ;) I guess this, to an extent refutes the often heard prejudice about men & real food, ie. men and meat being inextricably linked. Which pretty much is true for my own family. I could certainly try and prepare one of the above mentioned sweet dishes for my grandpa, with only the best intentions in mind, but I’d likely be kicked out, denied any family relations and expelled from the inner circle (just had a Meet the Fockers visual).
So -lucky me- Oliver inherited his Dad’s love for all things sweet and besides his omni present sweet tooth, he’s also got the right touch on picking yummy recipes, such as this one: nougat filled semolina dumplings, tossed in buttered cinnamon bread- or better yet brioche-crumbs. It’s a recipe from a new book I recently got at a local bookstore portraying traditional sweet recipes in a new, modern light.
The dumplings by nature look a bit messy, but texture and taste are worth raving about. The sweet grapes were a wonderful addition, lightly sautéed in butter – and schnapps if desired – their flavor turned out to be a great complement. With all the sweet and yummy recipes we’ve indulged ourselves in lately, we’ve just made a belated new years resolution: a more frequent running schedule. As soon as the weather permits. Which is pretty unlikely to happen any time soon…phew.
For the dough, add milk, butter, salt, vanilla seeds (+shell) and lemon zest to a small pot and bring to the boil. Remove vanilla shell and stir in the semolina, remove from heat. Continue to stir for 1-2 minutes, then allow to cool. The mix is likely to become firmer than expected but that’s ok.
Combine the egg with the lukewarm semolina and the white breadcrumbs. Chill the dough for several hours. Form eight nougat balls and chill as well.
Divide up the dough into 8 equal portions, squeeze nougat into the center of each piece and begin forming dumplings. Once they look good, let them simmer gently for about 5-7 minutes in hot, lightly salted water.
There are different ways to prepare the buttered breadcrumbs, the method I use deviates from the book in that it’s quicker: Heat up butter, breadcrumbs, ground almonds, sugar and cinnamon in a flat pan until golden brown. Then set aside.
Remove dumplings from the hot water, drain and toss in still hot buttered breadcrumbs. Add another side of your choice, we used sweet, seedless green grapes (slightly sautéed in butter with a shot of fruit schnapps), but really any fruit is fine as long as it’s not too tangy.
Recipe source: Götterspeisen (Marion Michels, Dave Brüllmann), p.33
Prep time: 15min., chilling:2-3h, cooking: 5-7min.
Ingredients for dumplings(serves 3-4):
30g wheat semolina
90g white brioche crumbs
1 pinch of salt
zest of half a lemon
1/2 vanilla bean (& scraped out seeds)
Ingredients for filling:
60g almond nougat
Ingredients for buttered brioche crumbs (topping):
70g brioche crumbs
60g ground almonds
1 pinch of cinnamon
Sweet, seedless green grapes or sweet plums, briefly sautéed in butter with a generous shot of fruit brandy or fruit schnapps