According to local legend, these delicate yeast dumplings poached in milk and sugar, once spared a small German town from being plundered by a Swedish army. The invaders said they would leave in peace if they were fed sufficiently. So the town baker set to work with the few ingredients on hand (milk, flour, eggs), and created the dampfnudel, sating their hunger and saving his town.
- 1 x 7 g yeast sachet
- 90 ml warm milk
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 500 g (3⅓ cups) plain flour, sifted, plus extra, to dust
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 70 g unsalted butter, melted
- 250 g punnets blueberries
- 500 ml (2 cups) milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 lemon, zested
- 185 ml (¾ cup) double cream
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 310 ml (1¼ cups) milk
- 55 g (¼ cup) caster sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 1 hour 15 minutes
Chilling time 2 hours
Dissolve yeast in 60 ml warm water in a bowl. Stir in milk and 1 tbsp sugar, then set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 15 minutes or until mixture bubbles.
Place flour and remaining 90 g sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add eggs, melted butter and yeast mixture, then knead until combined. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth (it will be slightly sticky). Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.
Meanwhile, to make vanilla sauce, heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat to just below boiling point. Place egg yolks, sugar, flour, vanilla and lemon zest in a large heatproof bowl and whisk until pale and thick. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in hot milk. Place bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don't let bowl touch the water) and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Strain through a fine sieve, then refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours until cold.
Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 10 equal portions and roll into balls.
To poach dough balls, heat butter, milk and sugar in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add dough balls, ensuring all are sitting on the base of pan, then immediately remove from heat and stand for 15 minutes or until balls double in size. Return pan to medium heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until balls soak up three-quarters of the liquid. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high and cook for a further 5 minutes or until bases of balls are golden and caramelised.
Carefully remove dampfnudel from pan and divide among serving plates. Spoon over vanilla sauce and top with blueberries, to serve.
Photography Chris Chen
As seen in Feast magazine, March 2014, Issue 29.