germknödel (austrian sweet dumplings)

austrian food is top of my list of comfort foods. lots of sweet pastry stuff, like these pretty babies here: germknödel – or to make it more understandable: sweet steamed yeast dumplings (the word creation alone deserves a medal!). they’re filled with powidl (plum jam) and topped with buttered blue poppy seeds… doesn’t this sound like cloudlike heaven to you, too? my dad loved it, he said they were almost as good as his mom’s. so it was well worth the effort.
germknödel (austrian sweet steamed dumplings) with plum jam, vanilla cream & poppy seed butter

30 g yeast
500 g flour
pinch salt
70 g sugar
70 g butter, melted
1/4 l milk, lukewarm
1 egg, yolk
1 egg, whole
1 pack vanilla sugar
for the filling / decor:
1/2 glass powidl (plum jam)
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
100 g butter
for the vanilla sauce:
1 l milk
1 vanilla bean
250 g sugar
4 egg yolks
3 whole eggs
first, combine the sugar, yeast and a bit of the flour with the lukewarm milk, until yeast is dissolved. this is called a ‘dampfl’ in austria, something like a starter dough). set aside until tiny bubbles appear. in the meantime, combine the rest of the flour, the salt, butter, egg yolk and egg, and combine well with the starter dough, until a round ball shapes. dust with a little flour, put in a bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. put in a warm place to let it rise to about double its size.
divide the dough into 8 (or more, if you want smaller dumplings) balls. press each one flat with your hands, place a spoonful of powidl on the dough and reseal the dumpling by pressing the corners together with your fingers, firmly. set the dumplings aside on a parchment paper or towel to let them rise again, for about 15 to 30 minutes. 
now for the steaming: i used a wok and an asian bamboo steamer, and it worked perfectly. heat a wok covered with 3 cm of water until water is simmering. lightly grease the bamboo steamer’s surfaces. place the dumplings in the bamboo steamer (mine had three levels), and put it on top of the wok with the hot water. steam for about 12 to 15 minutes (depending on size). the dumplings will feel firm to touch, but still moist. 
in the meantime, prepare the vanilla sauce: heat the milk with the vanilla bean (slitted), and half of the sugar. beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar, until creamy-white. let the vanilla milk cool down a little, and slowly while stirring pour into the milk. reheat slowly, and stop before boiling. be careful not to overheat the cream. serve tepid with the dumplings.
in addition, for the topping, slowly melt the butter in a saucepan, add the confectioner’s sugar and add the poppy seeds. assemble everything: pour some vanilla sauce on a plate, place a dumpling in the middle of it and drizzle with the poppy-seed butter. serve hot.
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