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A Secret Hungarian Classic: Cottage Cheese Dumplings – With Recipe!

Adrienn Vass 2020.08.21.

If we talk about dumplings, Hungary is usually not the first country that comes to our mind, as the Czech Republic is quite famous for its dumpling-mania. However, contrary to common myth, dumplings actually originated from the alpine countries thousands of years ago.

The very first Austrian dumpling finds were excavated in Neolithic pile villages around the Mondsee (Salzkammergut). These villages around the lake were inhabited between 2500 and 1800 BC, so even the very first dumpling finds in Austria are at least four thousand years old. Based on the small number of archaeological evidence available, it is difficult to get an accurate picture of the past, but dumplings, which are grouped between mash and bread, were presumably present in the cuisine of the area continuously.

photo: Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today

However, the first written mentions of savoury dumplings occurred much later, around the year 1000. Sweet dumplings took a few hundred years to spread widely, as sugar was a luxury product until the 19th century. Initially, versions filled with fruit were popular, and then from the middle of the 19th century cottage cheese pasta also appeared.

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In the past, dumplings were salty and hard, and then from the middle of the 20th century they became lighter and sweeter, eventually reaching their present form. The Hungarian gastronomic revolution of the last 10 years has perfected and tuned one of our favorite desserts to better fit our Hungarian taste buds.

photo: Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today

There are 3 secrets to the perfect cottage cheese dumplings:

  • Use a lot of cottage cheese and do not overdo the semolina! It is only needed to stick together lots and lots of cottage cheese.
  • After you mix the ingredients, leave it to rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours. It is important that the semolina softens and soaks well before we cook the dumplings.
  • Do not cook the dumplings in boiling water, just keep it under boiling temperature, so the dumplings do not fall apart.

photo: Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today

Cottage cheese dumplings
– ingredients –

  • 50 dkg cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 10 dkg of semolina
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • bread crumbs
  • oil
  • powdered sugar and sour cream for serving

Beat the two eggs until until they are light and frothy, then add the other ingredients. After mixing everything (except the bread crumbs and oil) into a creamy mixture, put it in the fridge and let it cool for at least 1-2 hours. Then, form balls from the dough with wet hands and cook them in hot (but not boiling!) water until they rise to the top. Meanwhile, fry the bread crumbs in oil and then roll the cooked dumplings in the fried crumbs. Serve with powdered sugar and sour cream.

photo: Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today

Translated by Fanni Kaszás

Featured photo and photos: Péter Csákvári/Hungary Today