Marillenknödel are quick and easy, sweet German dumplings filled with apricots and sugar and topped with a butter and breadcrumb mixture.
These are perfect as the temperatures start to cool off or even on a rainy summer evening! This recipe is a small batch because they taste best when eaten immediately but if you’re serving lots of people feel free to double or triple the recipe.
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 this recipe uses yogurt instead. Look for greek yogurt as it has a thicker consistency more similar to that of quark.
- 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: Cinnamon sugar is used in this recipe for the filling of the apricots as well as mixed into the breadcrumb topping.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla adds a little bit of extra flavor to the dough.
How to make Marillenknödel
Make the Dough
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cream of wheat, sugar, yogurt, vanilla and melted butter. Stir together to create a thick dough. Keep stirring with a spoon 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 high heat and stir frequently until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for later.
- In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon. Stir together so all of the cinnamon is evenly mixed into the sugar and set aside.
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 well 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 and place them on a well floured plate or tray.
Cooking the Dumplings
- Once the water is boiling and the dumplings have all been formed, turn the heat off from under the water. Gently lower each dumpling into the water with a large spoon – leaving at least a few inches between each one. Set a timer for 20 minutes and leave the dumplings to cook in the residual heat of the water.
- Prepare a plate with a couple of paper towels for when the knödel are finished cooking.
- About 5 minutes before the timer is set to go off, return the pan with the butter and breadcrumbs to low heat. Allow the mixture to reheat and then turn off the heat and pour in the remaining cinnamon sugar; then stir to combine.
- When the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove each dumpling from the water and place them on the paper towels to drain briefly. The dumplings may stick to the pot a little, just gently use the spoon to loosen the stuck dough.
- After the knödel have been briefly drained, gently, add them into the pan with the breadcrumb mixture. Very gently press the crumbs on to the dumplings.
- Serve them warm with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Marillenknödel | German Apricot Dumpling
- 3 apricots ripe
- 60 grams ap flour
- 10 grams cream of wheat
- 30 grams granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 30 grams butter melted and cooled
- 125 grams greek yogurt
Bread Crumb Topping
- 40 grams bread crumbs unseasoned
- 60 grams butter
- 80 grams granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Make the dough
- Add all dough ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. Stir together with a spoon until fully mixed.
- 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/high heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and become a golden brown color.
- Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
- In a small bowl make the cinnamon sugar by combining the sugar and cinnamon – stir to combine. Set aside.
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 well 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.
- Using plenty of flour, 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.
- Place the dumplings on a well floured plate and bring to the stove where the water is boiling.
Cook the dumplings
- Once the water has come to a boil, turn the heat off. Immediately, using a spoon, gently lower each dumpling into the water. Leave a few inches of space between each dumpling.
- Cook the dumplings in the residual heat for 20 minutes.
- Lay 2 paper towels on top of a plate for when the dumplings are finished cooking.
- When there are about 5 minutes left in the cook time, reheat the butter and bread crumb mixture over low heat.
- Once the butter begins to bubble, turn off the heat and add in the remaining cinnamon sugar. Stir to combine.
- When the timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove the dumplings and place them on the paper towel lined plate.
- Then quickly and gently place each dumpling into the pan with the breadcrumb topping and 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.