I ate this dessert or dish at the Mariandl Restaurant in Spitz, Austria. The “Marille” is a protected designation of small Apricot that grows in the Wachau wine region of Austria.
One of my favorite alcoholic beverage is the Marillenschnaps, I make sure I buy several bottles to take with me.
Traditional Marillen dumplings are made from a dough that is low in sugar and contains no butter. They also taste delicious with other fruit, for example plums or strawberries, and can be easily to frozen.
The simplest variant for the apricot dumpling dough is made from “Topfen” which is Quark with the liquid removed. Quark is hard to find in the US, the best substitutes for Quark are: cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and crème fraîche. It all depends on the texture you are trying to achieve. See more about Quark substitutes here. I used Ricotta cheese for this recipe because it is easier to find in the store, and is dense.
To make the dough, all you have to do is stir together a handful of ingredients with a fork, let the the dough rest briefly, and then wrap the dough around the pitted small apricots.
Removing the kernel of the Apricot:
The apricot kernel or pit can be easily removed with a wooden spoon handle: use the wooden spoon handle to press the side with the stem attachment until the kernel slides out on the other side. You also could cut the apricots open at the top or the side with a knife, and then core them. The advantage of the knife-slicing variant is that it is much easier to fill the apricot with the sugar cube. The sugar melts during cooking and turns into a fruity-sweet syrup.
The apricots should stay whole when possible so the dumplings hold together better.
Fill with Sugar cubes
If you don’t have sugar cubes at home, you can use a teaspoon of granulated sugar instead. To do this, it is best not to core the apricots with the handle of a wooden spoon, and instead use a knife to cut a slid on the top or side, otherwise it is very difficult to fill them. You can of course skip this sweet step if you calorie conscious.
These traditional Marillen (small Apricot) dumplings are made from a dough that is low in sugar and contains no butter. They also taste delicious with other fruit, for example plums or strawberries. Can be served as a main course or dessert.
Mix the Ricotta cheese with all the remaining dough ingredients in a bowl with a fork until smooth.
Put the mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour (preferably 1 hour or longer) because the cold dough is easier to shape.
In the meantime, core the apricots, keep them as whole as possible and use a wooden spoon handle to press the side with the handle until the core pushes out on the other side.
Alternatively, slit open the top or the side with a knife and remove the core.
Optional, but recommended: Fill the pitted apricots with a sugar cube (or a sugar cube cut in half for small apricots).
If you don’t have sugar cubes at home, you can fill the apricots with a teaspoon of granulated sugar, or leave unsweetened.
Shape a dough into a roll on a floured work surface and divide it into 7 to 8 equal pieces.
Press each dough piece flat, cover the apricots with it, and close the seam well.
The edges should not be too floury, otherwise the dough will not hold up well, moisten the edges instead
When shaping the dumplings, be careful not to trap any air. o the surface right from the start and will burst more easily.
Bring lightly salted water to the boil in a large saucepan and simmer the dumplings in gently cooking water for about 13-15 minutes.
At the beginning the dumplings sink in and then rise towards the end of the cooking time.
While the dumplings are cooking, prepare the butter crumbs.
Melt the butter in a large pan and brown the breadcrumbs and sugar until golden.
Lift the dumplings out of the water with a scoop that has holes, drain well and place in the pan with the breadcrumbs.