Marillenknödel are technically Austrian dumplings, filled with apricots and sugar, rolled in toasted breadcrumbs and dusted powdered sugar.
These are perfect dessert or snack on a rainy summer evening! Knödel can be made with either a potato based dough or a quark based dough. This recipe is made with quark or greek yogurt because it is quick and simple. One of the best parts of this recipe is that it is a small batch because they taste best when eaten immediately but if you’re serving lots of people it can be scaled up very easily. If you can’t find quark at your store, I have a recipe for quark so you can make it at home!
Marillen vs. Aprikosen?
These dumplings are most traditionally called Marillenknödel but they are filled with what we call Aprikosen (apricots) – so what’s the difference. Well, truthfully there isn’t a difference, Marillen and Aprikosen both refer to an apricot they are just called something different depending on where you live. However, in Germany, apricots or marillen are generally smaller than they are here in the US.
Can Marillenknödel be made in advance?
No, I would not recommend making these in advance. They definitely taste best immediately after being removed from the water bath when they are still hot. That’s not to say that you can’t store left overs in the fridge and heat them up in the microwave the next day – but if you are serving them to guests you probably want to make them fresh.
What kind of bread crumbs should I use?
I have found that plain, unseasoned bread crumbs work best. You can make your own by letting bread dry out and then pulsing it in a food processor (beware this is really loud!) or you can buy them at the grocery store. Panko bread crumbs work too but they have a slightly different texture. Traditionally, semmel brösel are used, which are the bread crumbs from semmeln (German buns), but unfortunately those are almost impossible to find here in the US.
How can I tell if the Apricot Dumplings are fully cooked?
To be completely honest, there is not a perfect way of telling when they are fully cooked other than taking one out of the water and cutting into it. The dough should still be nice and damp but it should no longer be goopy – if it is leave the dumplings in the water for a few more minutes.
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Tips for making Marillenknödel
- Mix the dough well. Unlike cookie dough, which will get tough when over mixed, this dough wants to be really well mixed to the point where it holds together in a ball in the center of the bowl and no longer readily sticks to the side of the bowl.
- When forming the dumplings, use plenty of flour on your hands and work station, this will prevent the dough from sticking which can then cause tears in the dough. If the dough tears simply patch it up with a little extra dough. Preventing tears is important because otherwise the juices and sugar will leak out of the apricot and the apricot will become water logged.
- Once the apricots are fully enclosed in the dough, roll them around in your hands (make sure to use plenty of flour) as though you are making a snow ball, to make sure the dough is evenly distributed around the apricot.
- Don’t freak out if one of them tears as you remove them from the water, they will still taste great! Plus, once you add the butter, bread crumb mixture on top, no one will notice.
- Greek yogurt: Traditionally marillenknödel are made with quark but if you can’t find it use greek yogurt instead.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour should work for these knödel! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Cream of Wheat: Cream of wheat acts similarly to oats – so it absorbs some of the liquid in the dough and helps hold everything together.
- Butter: Melted butter is used in the dough and more butter is used in the breadcrumb topping.
- Sugar: These dumplings have a very small amount of sugar in the batter but then more sugar is added to the topping which works so well with the apricots.
- Apricots: For best results, use ripe apricots. These will make it easier to pit them as well as give the marillenknödel better flavor.
- Bread Crumbs: The breadcrumbs are toasted in a pan with butter and then mixed with cinnamon sugar for the topping. Be careful – you’ll probably want to eat it all but make sure to save it for the dumplings.
- Cinnamon Sugar: Cinnamon sugar is used in this recipe for the filling of the apricots.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla adds a little bit of extra flavor to the dough.
How to make Marillenknödel
Make the Dough
- In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla.
- Add in the flour and cream of wheat and stir together with a fork until a crumbly mixture forms. Stir in the yogurt or quark to create a thick dough. Keep stirring with a fork until everything is well combined and the dough starts to hold its shape without sticking too much to the sides of the bowl.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Make the Breadcrumb topping
- In a large pan, combine the breadcrumbs and butter. Heat over medium heat and stir frequently until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
- Remove the pan from the heat and pour the breadcrumbs into a large shallow bowl or plate for later.
Cooking & Assembling the Marillenknödel
- Add water to a large pot until it is at least 5″ deep. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
- While the water heats up, assemble the apricot dumplings.
Assembling the German Apricot Dumplings
- Using the end of a spoon, press through the top of each apricot (where the stem would be) into the center of the apricot where you will hit the pit. If the apricots are ripe enough you should be able to push a little harder and have the pit pop out through the bottom. If your apricots are still a little hard, use an apple corer to remove the pit.
- Dump the rested dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the dough with more flour and then shape the dough into a thick log. Divide it into 3 equal portions.
- Pat each portion out into approximately a 4″ wide disk. Place one apricot in the center of each disk and pour 1-2 tsp of the cinnamon sugar into the center hole of each apricot. Gently bring up all sides of the dough, up and around the apricot, and pinch them shut at the top. The apricot should now be fully enclosed in the dough.
- Gently roll the dumpling between your hands in a circular motion to round out the ball and evenly distribute the dough around the apricot. Repeat with each dumpling.
Cooking the Dumplings
- Once the water is boiling and the dumplings have all been formed, turn the heat down to medium. Gently lower each dumpling into the water with a large spoon – leaving at least a few inches between each one. Set a timer for 15 minutes and leave the dumplings to cook in the water.
- The water should not be boiling, more just steaming. If it is bubbling, turn the heat down slightly.
- Gently move them around every few minutes so that they don’t get stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- When the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove each dumpling from the water and place them, one at a time, into a bowl with the toasted breadcrumbs.
- Very gently press the crumbs on to the dumplings.
- Serve them warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and optionally a drizzle of Vanille Soße.
Marillenknödel | Apricot Dumpling
- 3 apricots ripe
- 100 grams ap flour
- 15 grams cream of wheat
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 20 grams butter melted
- 125 grams greek yogurt or quark
Bread Crumb Topping
- 40 grams bread crumbs unseasoned
- 20 grams butter
- 50 grams cinnamon sugar
Make the dough
- Stir the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract together in a bowl.
- Add in the flour and cream of wheat and stir together until crumbly.
- Stir in the greek yogurt or quark with a fork until fully mixed and no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl and set aside for 20 minutes.
Make the breadcrumb topping
- While you wait for the dough, add the breadcrumbs and butter into a medium/large pan.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and become a golden brown color.
- Pour the toasted bread crumbs into a shallow large bowl or plate and set aside for later.
Make the dumplings
- In a large pot add in at least 5" deep of water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
- Prep the apricots by using the end of a spoon to push the pit out of the center, from the top of the apricot to the bottom. This will ensure that the pit comes out but the apricot remains intact.
- Dump the rested dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with more flour and shape into a thick log.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Pat each portion into a 4"-5" round disk.
- Stand one apricot up in the center of each disk. Then, fill the center cavity of the apricot with 1-2 teaspoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Bring the dough up and around the apricot and pinch it closed at the top.
- With well floured hands, roll each dumpling around in your hands to even out the dough.
Cook the dumplings
- Once the water has come to a boil, turn the heat down to medium.
- Using a slotted spoon, gently lower each dumpling into the water. Leave a few inches of space between each dumpling.
- Carefully stir the dumplings around every few minutes to ensure they don't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Cook the dumplings in the water for 15 minutes. The water should be steaming but not boiling.
- When the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings and place them, one at a time, into the toasted bread crumbs.
- Either roll the dumplings in the mixture to coat them, or pat the topping onto each dumpling.
- Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of vanille soße.