Old-fashioned dumplings

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6–8
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
  • 240g (500ml) - flour
  • 10ml - baking powder
  • 3ml - salt
  • 125g - butter
  • 4 - extra-large eggs
  • 30ml - sugar
  • 2 - cinnamon sticks
  • 1 ml - salt
  • 100g (125ml) - sugar
  • 15ml - mixed spice
  • 30ml - brandy
  • - lemon wedges to serve
“This recipe comes from the handwritten cookbook by Hybie Kolver of Boshoff in the Free State,” writes Peter Veldsman in his recipe book, Food of the Century.

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. With your fingertips, lightly rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Using a butter knife, cut the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overdo it: the dough should not be too stiff or too soft (it should be similar to a scone mixture). If necessary, you can add ice water to achieve the desired consistency.

3. Pour cold water at least 5cm deep in a large, wide pot with a tight-fitting lid (the flatter and wider, the better). Add the cinnamon sticks and salt, and bring to the boil. Use a dessert spoon dipped in boiling water (to prevent the mixture from sticking to the spoon) to drop spoonfuls of the dough into the water – 4–6 dumplings at a time. Cover and steam for 10 minutes over moderate heat. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the dumplings into a greased ovenproof dish. Top up the boiling water in the pot if necessary and repeat until all the dumplings are cooked.

You don’t want inedible dumplings that are cooked on the outside and raw inside. To prevent this, the water must boil continuously and the dumplings must not stick together. Only cook a few at a time.

To serve: Sprinkle the sugar and mixed spice over the dumplings, then drizzle with the brandy. You can serve the dumplings as is with lemon wedges, with cream or custard. Otherwise, make a delicious brandy sauce.

Brandy sauce
Once your dumplings are cooked, use the remaining water for this sauce. Simply stir 250g butter into the liquid in the saucepan and bring to the boil. Spoon off any foam. Add 125ml sugar, 15ml mixed spice and 75ml brandy and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the sauce to reduce and then pour the hot sauce through a sieve before pouring over the hot dumplings. Serve with lemon wedges

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April 2023

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