Plum Dumplings or Szilvás gombóc is a traditional Hungarian dish made with potato dough, stuffed with cinnamon-y plums, covered in sweet toasted breadcrumbs.
Lately, on our cheat days I made Hungarian desserts, my favorites from my childhood. I was thinking about our next Saturday dessert, when I spotted some plums in the grocery store (by the way they were also on sale, yay!). Then came the idea to prepare my favorite summertime food (in the middle of January): plum dumplings, aka szilvás gombóc.
These delicious potato dough dumplings are very popular in Eastern Europe, they can be stuffed with various fruits (plums, apricot, cherry) and even with jam. Plum dumplings are usually made late summer, when plums starts to ripen. The best plums for dumplings are ripe but not too soft damson or Italian prune plums (the overripe soft plum becomes very mushy after cooking).
A sturdy potato dough is mould around the sugary and cinnamon-y prune plums or damson plums, then they are cooked in salted water until they float on top of the water. The cooked dumplings are coated with sweet browned breadcrumbs. Well, that’s how the traditional Hungarian plum dumplings are made.
The dumpling dough is made of a simple mixture of flour, potato, butter and egg. After kneading, rolling out and cutting little squares out of the dough, you can wrap the sugary cinnamon-y half plums with the potato dough, making balls with your hand. This part I enjoyed so much when I was a child and I helped my mother or my grandmother to make these fun little dumplings. We had such a great time making this delicious food with fresh plums from our garden. Good old memories! :)
I know, I know, there’s so much work with this food, but trust me it’s worth it. To ease of the process you can cook the potatoes in advance, you can use whole plums to stuff your dumplings, or you can double the portions and freeze half of the dumpling before cooking them.
Dumplings are usually eaten as meatless main course after a hearty meaty soup, like goulas – you can find my bean and pork goulash recipe here -, bean soup or potato soup, also can be served as delicious dessert. I hope you’ll find this delicious food as pleasing as I do! Enjoy!
- 1,5 tablespoon butter
- 3 large potatoes (about 500g | 17 oz), unpeeled
- 400 g | 14 oz flour
- 1 egg (can be omitted)
- 250 g | 8.8 oz ripe plum
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp vanilla
- 1-1,5 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter or 2 tbsp oil
- 1- 1½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (optional)
- First cook about 500 g | 17 oz unpeeled whole potatoes in salted water.
- Wash the plums, half them and remove the stones. Place the plums into a bowl, mix them well with sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Check if the potatoes are cooked with a fork, when they are tender inside, remove them from the stove, drain and let them cool. Peel the cooled potatoes, then smash with a potato masher.
- Transfer the potatoes into a large bowl, add the butter, salt and egg, mix it well.
- Sift in the flour, knead the mixture until it turns into a dough. If your dough is too sticky and soft, add more flour. Your dough should be smooth but not too sticky and easily rollable.
- Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare a large pot, fill with water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring it to boil.
- In another pot heat 1 tablespoon butter or oil, when it's melted add 1½ cups of breadcrumbs and ½ cup sugar. Toast the breadcrumbs for 1-2 minutes, stir continuously, until the mixture becomes brown. Set it aside.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin in a floured surface to about 1cm | 0.4" thickness.
- Cut the dough into squares, large enough to wrap around a half of a plum.
- Wrap the sugary cinnamon-y half plums with dough, making smooth and tight balls with your hand.
- Transfer the dumplings into the pot of boiling water, cook them for 7-9 minutes, until they rise and starts to float on top of the water.
- Remove the dumplings from the water using a slotted spoon, drain them well, then transfer them into the breadcrumb mixture.
- Coat the dumplings well with the breadcrumbs. Dust the dumplings with powdered sugar if you desire. Serve them warm.
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