Dive into a sweet and savory adventure with these plum dumplings, a delightful dessert that turns leftover potatoes into a culinary treat. Using a simple potato dough, we’ll wrap sweetened plums, cook them to perfection, and serve them with your favorite sweetener.
Recipe At a Glance
- A potato dessert. Potatoes are usually used in savory dishes, but not in this recipe. Here, we use them to make a simple dumpling dough that we wrap around sweetened plums and then cook.
- Use up leftover cooked potatoes. Got a bunch of leftover cooked potatoes and not feeling like having a savory potato-based dish tomorrow? These sweet plum dumplings come to the rescue.
- Seasonal. Make these dumplings when plums are at their peak season. Not only will they taste better, but they’ll also be plentiful and cheap. And if you’re looking for even more ways to use up plums, check out my plum pierogi recipe.
If you’re making plum dumplings for the first time, read the ingredients notes, step-by-step instructions, and tips. If you’re a veteran, feel free to jump to the recipe card.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutes
- Potatoes. Russets and other medium- or high-starch potatoes are best, but others will do, too. Starchy potatoes tend to make less sticky dough, making forming the dumplings easier. If you’re working with potatoes that aren’t high in starch, you might need to use more flour for your hands when forming the dumplings.
- All-purpose flour.
- Potato starch. You can substitute corn starch (same amount).
- Plums. Italian prune plums or damson plums are ideal, but other varieties work well, too. Opt for freestone plums since you’ll need to pit them before cooking. Larger varieties, like Japanese or Chinese plums, could work if you use halves instead of whole plums.
- Cook and mash the potatoes. Cook the potatoes in salted water (I add 1 tsp salt per 1 quart water, but you do you) until nice and soft, typically 20 to 30 minutes. Once cooked, mash them up using a potato masher, ricer, or whatever else you typically use for mashing.
- Prepare the plums. Wash your plums and pit them. I typically slice the plums halfway around along the seam and then remove the pit, keeping the two halves connected. But feel free to try other techniques. Once pitted, sprinkle about a quarter teaspoon of sugar onto the flesh of each plum. It might seem like a lot, but it helps balance out the tartness of the plums.
- Make the dough. Mix the mashed potatoes with the flour, starch, and egg(s). Start by mixing everything with a spoon, and get in there with your hands when you stop making progress. Knead until it forms a coherent, slightly sticky dough. Don’t add more flour at this point.
- Form the dumplings. Tear a small block of dough and shape it into a ball using well-floured hands. Then, press the ball into a fairly thin circle, place a whole plum in the center of the circle, and wrap it up. Add or remove dough if needed. Once wrapped, roll it in your hands to ensure the dough is even around the plum. Try to move quickly through the process, as the dough tends to stick to your hands the longer you hold it. Transfer the prepared dumplings onto a well-floured surface, making sure they don’t touch each other. Continue forming the dumplings until you run out of dough or plums.
- Boil the dumplings. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt (I like 1 tsp salt per quart of water). Then, gently place a few dumplings into the boiling water, making sure not to crowd the pot, and give them a stir so they don’t stick to the bottom. Cook them on medium heat until they resurface (3 to 5 minutes, typically), then let them simmer for an additional 4 to 5 minutes to ensure they’re fully cooked. Remove the dumplings from the water using a slotted spoon, drain them, and continue the cooking process with another batch.
- Serve. Your dumplings are ready for serving right away.
Here are a couple of tips for making plum dumplings:
- Start boiling the water early. Boiling a big pot of water takes time, so you might as well put it on the stove when you’re about to start forming the dumplings (i.e., you got the plums sweetened and the dough mixed). This way, you’ll start cooking the dumplings right after you’re done making the dumpling balls.
- Cook the potatoes beforehand. Cool mashed potatoes tend to make less sticky dough, making it easier to form the dumplings. If possible, cook and mash the potatoes a couple of hours earlier (or even the days before).
- The more sticky the dough, the more important flouring your hands is. If you’re working with a super sticky dough, make sure your hands are well-floured and don’t hesitate to re-flour them when needed. Without it, forming dumplings might be almost impossible. On the flip side, if the dough isn’t sticky at all, there’s no need for flouring your hands.
- You can use other fruits. If you run out of plums, feel free to use other fruits as the filling. Check out the variations section below for inspiration.
While we typically use plums for this recipe (as the name suggests), using other fruits is also an option. Sure, the dumplings you make probably won’t form those perfect balls that you get with plums, but they’ll be tasty nonetheless.
My toddler daughter doesn’t eat plums (for reasons only she understands), so when I’m making these for my wife and me, I often make a couple of dumplings filled with apples instead of plums. To make the apple filling, I follow the same process of cooking apples I outline in my apple pierogi recipe.
I also did these with frozen blueberries, adding a spoonful of blueberries and a sprinkle of sugar into each one, and these turned out great, too.
How to Serve
To serve plum dumplings, you have a variety of delicious options to choose from:
- Sprinkle with sugar. The simplest way to serve plum dumplings is by sprinkling them with sugar or powdered sugar. This adds a touch of sweetness and enhances the overall flavor. Start light, taste it, and add more if it’s too sour for your liking.
- Use liquid sweeteners. If you prefer a different kind of sweetener, you can drizzle honey or maple syrup over the dumplings. This adds a unique flavor profile and complements the plums beautifully. If you’re feeling like it, experiment with other sweeteners like chocolate sauce or fruit syrup.
- Make berry sauce. For a fruity twist, you can make a simple berry sauce by blending your favorite berries and combining them with Greek yogurt or even sour cream. Add a bit of sugar and lemon juice to achieve the desired balance of sweetness and sourness. This thick and luscious sauce pairs perfectly with the dumplings.
To store plum dumplings, follow these steps:
- Cool and dry: After cooking the dumplings, allow them to cool down and dry on the counter. Make sure they are not touching each other to prevent sticking.
- Flip and dry thoroughly: After about 10 to 20 minutes of drying, flip the dumplings over so that the bottom side also dries thoroughly. This ensures both sides of the dumplings are properly dried.
- Transfer to an airtight container: After 30 to 45 minutes of cooling, you can move the dumplings to an airtight container. Make sure they are not crowded in the container, ideally allowing some space between each dumpling to prevent sticking. If you need to stack them, consider placing a layer of plastic wrap between layers.
- Refrigerate: Close the container tightly and place it in the refrigerator, where you can store the dumplings for 3 to 4 days.
If you make way too much to use in the 3- to 4-day period, you can freeze the dumplings. Place them in a freezer bag, squeeze out extra air, and seal tightly. Defrost overnight in the fridge before reheating and serving.
How to Reheat
To reheat plum dumplings, do the following:
- Prep. Put a nonstick skillet on medium heat and add a knob of butter or ghee. You can sub in any other neutral fat you use for cooking.
- Heat up. Once the fat has melted, place the plum dumplings in the skillet, and cover them with a lid if possible. Covering helps with heat and moisture retention, plus it speeds up the process. Let the dumplings warm up for at least 5 to 7 minutes (with the lid on) and up to 10 minutes (no lid). Ideally, you want the bottom side to brown (for extra flavor), but that’s not a must. Then flip and continue cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes until the other side is nice and hot.
- Serve. You can serve the dumplings once they’re reheated and (hopefully) nicely browned. The browning adds a nice texture to the overall eating experience, but it’s not a necessity.
Pro tip: You can use this reheating technique to brown dumplings that you intend to serve right away. Once you’re done boiling them, remove the dumplings from the boiling water and transfer them directly to the skillet. Brown both sides and serve them up.
- 1 pound cooked potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour about 190 grams
- 2 tablespoons potato starch or cornstarch
- 13 to 20 plums depending on size
- Potato prep. Boil potatoes in salted water (I like 1 tsp salt per quart) until soft, then mash smoothly.
- Plum prep. Wash and half-pit plums, ensuring they stay connected, and sprinkle 1/4 tsp sugar on each.
- Make dough. Mix mashed potatoes, flour, starch, and egg. Begin with a spoon and transition to hand-kneading until a cohesive, slightly sticky dough forms.
- Make dumplings. With floured hands, tear dough, form a ball, and flatten into a circle. Encase a sugared plum, adjusting dough as needed, and roll in hands to even out.
- Boil. In boiling salted water (1 tsp salt/quart), cook dumplings until they float, then simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon for removal and draining.
- Serve. Serve hot and enjoy with optional sweet toppings like sugar, honey, or a berry sauce.