German Plum Dumplings (Zwetschgenknoedel)

Plum dumplings
Schfer, Chris / Getty Images
Ratings (10)
  • Total: 100 mins
  • Prep: 80 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 12 dumplings, 3 - 6 servings

A fun dessert or main dish for a weekday, plum dumplings ("Zwetschgenknödel") are a classic German "Mehlspeise" for the fall. The tart plums contrast nicely with the quark dumpling and cinnamon sugar.

If you are serving these for a meal, three or four per person are probably enough. If these are for dessert, one or two per person are fine.


  • 1 c. (225 ml) quark (or yogurt cheese)
  • 10 tbsp. (130 grams) butter (divided)
  • 3 tbsp. (40 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (Zest from 1 lemon)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. (180 g.) flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • Dash salt
  • 12 plums (preferably Italian)
  • 12 sugar cubes
  • 4 - 5 pieces of Zwieback, crushed or 1 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (or powdered sugar)

Steps to Make It

  1. Pour off any liquids from the quark or yogurt cheese and pat dry.

  2. Mix the quark, 7 tablespoons (65 grams) of softened butter and 3 tablespoons sugar until smooth. Stir in egg and lemon zest.

  3. Stir or sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into the batter to form a smooth, soft dough.

  4. Refrigerate dough for about one hour.

  5. Heat a large pan of salted water to boiling and reduce heat to simmer.

  6. Wash the plums and slit them half way (down the "seam" is good) to remove the pit. Replace the pit with a sugar cube and press the cut sides together.

  7. Using about 1/12th of the dough, form a ball with floured hands, then press the ball flat on a well-floured surface. Wrap the dough around a plum and pinch to seal well.

  8. Simmer the plums in the hot water until done, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on size. The only way to tell if they are done is to test one or through experience. The water should not boil because that makes the dough fall apart.

  9. While they are simmering. Melt the remaining butter in a pan and stir in the Zwieback or bread crumbs. Heat and toast the crumbs. Stir in some sugar (for breadcrumbs) to taste.

  10. Remove the dumplings and drain well. Roll in the buttered crumbs and serve with cinnamon and sugar or sprinkled with powdered sugar. You could also serve them with vanilla sauce or, for dessert, with a bit of whipped cream. These are best fresh but can be placed on a cookie sheet and kept warm for awhile before serving.

Other dumpling recipes:

If you enjoy this recipe and want to experiment with more classic Germanic dumpling recipes, try your hand at Dampfnudeln, Austrian Germknödel or the Hungarian version of this recipe, Hungarian Plum Dumplings which are made with potato dough.