It’s getting chilly, and apple-picking season is just around the corner. You know what that means? Dumpling season! Somewhere between pasta and bread, dumplings can be light or dense, comforting or totally exotic, savory or sweet. Take a look at these different types of dumplings, and see if any of them sound right for warming you up on a crisp autumn night.
These are one of the simplest, most adaptable dumplings. All you need is flour, water, and salt. Cold water is kneaded into the flour and salt mixture until soft dough is formed, then it is rolled out and cut or ripped into noodle-like strips. Check here for a fail-proof recipe. Though it is traditional to serve these with creamy chicken soup, the sky is the limit here. Why not put ground ginger and Chinese five-spice in the dough, serving it in hot and sour soup? How about sprinkling some dill and lemon zest and adding it to a Greek Avoglemono soup instead of rice? Even add some thyme and cracked black pepper before poaching them in French onion soup broth. The great thing about these dumplings is how much flavor they absorb, and their tender, hearty texture is superb.
Cracker meal dumplings
Of course, I am talking about matzo balls. Sure, they are traditionally served at Passover, but why not break them out as the weather heads into lower temperatures too? Follow the ingredients on the back of matzo meal, and always buy it unseasoned so that you can spice the dumplings yourself. Use seltzer instead of plain water for a lighter dumpling, and make sure that you don’t serve the matzo balls until they rise to the top of the soup while boiling. Season them with fresh herbs, roasted garlic, and your favorite spices, and use bacon grease instead of vegetable oil for a particularly cheeky version.
Dessert dumplings are the only type of dumplings that are baked, not boiled. A slightly dryer dumpling dough is wrapped around a fruity filling (usually a whole peeled apple), then it’s baked until the fruit is tender and the dough flaky and golden. The dough is moistened during the cooking process with simple syrup, and the result is a shiny, sweet crust surrounding sweet filling. Don’t stop at apples—try pears next time!