Dampfnudeln with Vanilla Sauce


Whenever my grandma is making these, basically the entire family will drop by to make sure to get their fair share of grandma’s best food – Dampfnudeln… So this recipe comes basically straight outta my grandma’s kitchen 😉 Okay, it actually doesn’t. But that is because my grandma’s recipes work like the ones of every other grandma as well: take a good amount of flour, pour in some milk until it feels right, add an egg or two until it feels right and so on… nothing to help the inexperienced baker, explaining how it should feel when it is feeling right… So I went on the internet and ended up combining several recipes plus the knowledge of my grandmother to get to this super delicious final recipe 🙂

Dampfnudeln literally means steamed pasta and is a traditional dish from southern Germany. But even there, depending on the region you come from, there are different interpretations of the same dish. What is common to all of them is the yeast dough as a base, and the fact that it is steamed not baked. But in palatinate for example, where I am from, you often steam these yeast dumplings in salted water, not just normal water or water with sugar. Also we usually start eating them with some potato soup and switch to eating them with the sweet vanilla sauce at some point. I guess as a non-native Pfälzer you sort of need to get used to the salty sweet combination, but then you will love it, just as we do 😉

For the dough: For the vanilla sauce:
100 ml milk, room-tempered 1 vanilla bean
20 g yeast 450 ml milk
270 g wheat flour 2 tbsp sugar
80 g butter 1 pinch of salt
1 egg 5 g cornstarch
1 pinch of salt 2 egg yolks
500 ml water
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp butter

For the dough:

Dissolve the yeast in the milk and mix together with 50 g flour. Beat until you can see some air bubbles. Let prove for about 30 minutes. (This additional proving may be skipped if you are in a hurry). Add the remaining ingredients and knead thoroughly for about 10 minutes until the dough is well combined and smooth. Put the dough into a bowl, cover with kitchen foil and let prove for about 2 hours at a warm place. When the dough has doubled in size, divide into 8-9 balls of equal size. Sprinkle the counter-top with flour and form the yeast balls to buns the following way: Spread the dough a bit, so you get an even surface, then fold in the edges to the bottom and stick them in thoroughly. Put the ball with the bottom side down on the counter-top, and form a cage with your hand over this ball. Roll carefully, not pressing too much, until the Dampfnudeln are evenly round. Let prove at a warm place for another hour. In the meantime you can start preparing the custard.

For the custard:

Scratch the seeds of the vanilla bean into a sauce pan, add the bean, 300 ml of milk, sugar and a pinch of salt and bring everything to the boil. Take off the heat and let rest for about 10 minutes. Mix the remaining milk with the starch and the egg yolks well together in a separate bowl. Remove the vanilla bean from the sauce pan and add the milk-egg mixture. Bring to the boil again and let simmer for 2 minutes. Take off the heat and let it cool down. You may want to pour the custard through a strainer into a separate bowl, if it does not have an entirely smooth texture.

Baking the Dampfnudeln:

Dissolve 2 tsp of salt in 500 ml of water. Take a frying pan with a lid and put in on the stove. Melt 1 tsp of butter in the pan and place 4 of the dough balls in the pan, again bottom side down. Pour in the salt water such that the pan is filled up until 1 cm from the bottom. Close the lid immediately and let them steam with the closed lid. Only when all the water has evaporated and you can see a golden brown salt crust at the bottom of the pan remove the lid in one movement, otherwise you risk that they collapse. Put the Dampfnudeln on a cooling rack to cool down, collect the salt crust bits on a separate plate. Clean the pan with a kitchen towel and steam the remaining dough balls as before. Serve with vanilla sauce and the salt crust bits.


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