While most Americans usually eat savory foods like sandwiches, hamburgers or salads at lunch and casseroles, pasta dishes or meat and potatoes for dinner, Germans often bypass the savory and fill you up with noodles or dumplings that are sweetened with fruit compote and vanilla sauce. Americans might call this skipping the meal and just having dessert. Just about everyone loves to eat something sweet, and making it the main attraction cuts to the chase.
These dumplings caramelize on the bottom, which gives them a nice, chewy bite with soft insides.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/2 envelope)
- 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water (110 F)
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (110 F)
- 4 tablespoons melted butter, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour or more if necessary
- 1/2 cup cold milk
- Dissolve the yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in the warm water. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes or until bubbly.
- In a bowl, stir 1 tablespoon sugar, the lukewarm milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and the salt until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
- Add the bubbling yeast mixture to the milk mixture and then add the flour, beating until a smooth dough forms. Add flour as necessary, until the dough can be formed into a soft ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes.
- Lightly grease or spray the bowl and place the dough in it. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Punch the dough down, divide it into 12 pieces and shape the pieces into balls.
- Place the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly oiled baking sheet, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet or saucepan with a tight lid.
- Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cold milk and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, arrange the dumplings in the saucepan and cover.
- Simmer for 25 minutes without peeking and then check.
- Keep simmering until the dumplings have absorbed all the liquid.
- Remove from heat but keep warm until serving.
- Serve warm, bottom side up, with vanilla sauce and tart fruit compote.
If you have leftovers, place them on a plate bottom side up and cover with a clean towel, not plastic. Eat cold or reheat in the oven and eat within 24 hours for best quality.