The depths of January can be fairly gloomy in Munich, but the last few days we’ve had crystal clear, blue skies – with the resulting temperature drop meaning that I’ve been mostly appreciating the sunshine from the window, as well as dashes out to the markets to buy ingredients. I’m in the big final push for the cookbook now, which means the blog has had to take a back seat as juggling a full time job while cooking and photographing like a mad man eats up almost all of my time. I am SO excited with how it is going though, and it almost feels surreal watching it all come together. Naturally this is where my Virgo-perfectionist-streak is seriously dangerous as I ALWAYS think things could be better, more perfect, tweaked slightly, but I am having to learn to step back and view the project as a whole. Stressful? Yes, but an AMAZING experience and I can’t wait to share my cookbook with you all when it is done!
Anyone who knows me knows that I love plums. They are such an important part of my flavour memories of childhood with my grandmother’s famous plum jam filling the pantry and spread on hot buttery toast. While the plums in the markets here will never be as delicious as the variety my grandmother grew (Black Doris plums unfortunately, like many old fashioned varieties don’t travel well but the flavour is exquisite), the flavour of plums can always be massively enhanced with a little heat and sugar.
Buchteln, or Rohrnudeln are a much loved German recipe for sweet dumplings made from yeast dough, stuffed with fruit or jam, brushed in lots of butter and then baked. They are incredibly moreish and can be filled basically with whatever you like – I like plums or apricots because they fit perfectly inside and have a wonderful sweet-sour contrast to the soft yeast dough, but there is absolutely no reason you couldn’t use cherries, blackberries (yum!), jam or even come to think of it, something like Nutella. My recipe is here below. The dough makes enough for 24 buchteln, so I usually halve or quarter the dough and the rest for making other delicious treats – cinnamon scrolls are a perfect way for using up the dough, or simply forming into a loaf and baking – it’s a little bit like a less heavy brioche so incredibly versatile. It is much easier to use sugar cubes to fill the plums than sugar, but not absolutely necessary. Also, if your plums are particularly tart, up the sugar to 2 cubes per plum.
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
Buchteln / Rohrnudeln
- 200 ml milk
- 21 g fresh yeast / 7g dry yeast
- 550 g plain flour
- 75 g sugar
- zest of 1 orange
- generous pinch of salt
- 100 g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 8 plums or apricots
- 8-16 sugar cubes
- or spoons of sugar
- 50 ml butter, melted
- icing sugar
- Begin by warming the milk slightly, it should be comfortable to hold your finger in it. Remove from the heat, crumble over the yeast, mix well and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, combine the flour, sugar, orange zest and salt. Pour in the milk and yeast mixture and add the butter and egg. With your hands, or using the dough hook attachment, knead for about ten minutes. The mixture may stick to the sides of the bowl - if so, add extra flour, one tablespoon at a time until the dough moves freely in the bowl.
- After ten minutes, shape the dough into a ball, (it should feel soft, springy and elastic), put back into the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise for 45 minutes to an hour until almost doubled in size.
- Meanwhile halve and stone the plums or apricots.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4, and butter a 20 x 30cm high sided baking dish.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, knock out the air and divide in two. Reserve one half for cinnamon scrolls, or other yeast dough recipes (or more Buchteln!) then divide the remaining dough into six to eight equal sized pieces. Flatten each piece, then place a plum or apricot in the middle of each, stuff with 1-2 sugar cubes per piece of fruit, then wrap the dough around and pinch tightly to seal.
- Place the dough balls, sealed side down in the baking dish, brush over all of the melted butter and bake for 30-40 minutes until risen and golden brown.
- Dust liberally with icing sugar before serving warm.