Like cherries, apricots are drupes, fruits with a fleshy outer layer around a pit or stone containing a seed inside. Split open an apricot stone and you will find the seed or kernel. Amaretto, one of my favorite alcoholic beverages, is made from apricot kernels. Many an apricot jam recipe also suggests adding a few kernels to the batch of jam to boost the flavor. However, everything in moderation – the glucoside amygdalin is present in the kernels. When amygdalin combines with certain enzymes, cyanide is a byproduct. This does not seem to stop people from eating the kernels. Aware of their toxicity, I was quite surprised to see a bag of apricot kernels the other day at a store that sells organic food and natural health and beauty products. I suspect they are in demand due to dubious claims that amygdalin can prevent cancer.
At any rate, the fleshy layer of drupes is safe for consumption! Despite having lived in Austria for nearly seven years now, only recently did I try Marillenknödel, or apricot dumplings, for the first time. It was one of the most delicious dishes I have eaten and has supplanted my beloved Kaiserschmarren mit Zwetschkenröstern as my favorite traditional Austrian food. These delicious dumplings were prepared by a friend according to her mother’s recipe, which she agreed to share with me for this blog. There are different ways of making the dough, for example with potatoes or with cheese. For this recipe, you prepare a Brandteig, which is like choux pastry.
For the Brandteig:
125 ml (½ cup) water
125 ml (½ cup) milk
60 g (4 Tbs) butter
200 g (1 2/3 cup) flour
For the topping:
Bring the water and milk to a boil, then melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until clumps form. Remove from heat and cool for around 30 minutes. Add the eggs.
Using your fingers, stretch the dough into circles the size of the palm of your hand. Place one apricot in the middle and fold and seal the dough uniformly around the apricot until you have a dumpling that resembles a baseball. If necessary, use water to increase the stretch of the dough. If you prefer, you can remove the stone by cutting the apricot in half, but be sure to use one whole apricot per dumpling.
Bring water in a large pot to a boil. Lower the dumplings in and boil until they rise to the surface. Drain.
Melt some butter in a pan. Add bread crumbs and powdered sugar. Add the dumplings. Roll them in the pan, covering with the topping.
Serve with powdered sugar.