• 1 Cup plus 3 tablespoons (5.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
• 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) cold butter, divided• 8 ounces farmer cheese or dry ricotta, grated
• 8 ounces farmer cheese or dry ricotta, grated
• 1 large egg
• 8 prune plums
(or apricots, a traditional and outstanding variation)
• 8 sugar cubes, preferably Demerara
• 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) fine bread crumbs
• about 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
You may mix the dough in a food processor or by hand. Cut half the butter (4 tablespoons) into the flour until it looks like meal. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and stir in the cheese; add this mixture to the flour and work together to form a firm dough. Scrape it out onto a lightly floured counter and knead a few moments. You may prepare this dough up to 4 hours ahead, sealing it in a container and reserving at cool room temperature until dumpling time.
Fill a large pot with water, cover, and set over high heat, as if you were planning to boil a lot of pasta.
Use a small pointy knife to slit open each plum. Excise the pit and install a sugar cube in its stead.
On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough out with the palms of your hands into a log about 8 inches long. Bisect the log, then cut each half into four equal pieces. Roll each lump out into a disk about 3 inches in diameter and then wrap it around a plum, sealing the edges of the pastry together securely. Good closure is key to success.
When the water is boiling vigorously, ease half the dumplings in. As soon as they begin to resurface, turn the heat down to a low boil and set your timer for 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a medium sauté pan on medium heat. Add the crumbs and stir to coat with butter. Continue stirring until toasty, crisp, and golden brown then remove from the heat.
When the dumplings’ time is up, use a slotted spoon to remove them to a colander to drain for a minute. Put the remaining dumplings in to boil.
Roll the drained dumplings gingerly in the toasted crumbs and transfer to dessert bowls. Sift confectioners’ sugar over them generously and serve instantly. Repeat with the remaining dumplings when they are ready.
Serves 4 as supper.