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My very first Oktoberfest (eek, I just calculated that it was more than 20 years ago!!!) was also my first time trying a Dampfnudel. This fluffy, doughy, light, yet filling 🤔 but super satisfying poached bun had my heart at first bite. I am pretty sure it’s all I ate that weekend, and it was the one thing I looked most forward to upon my return. (Well, that, and singing all those fun German songs, whilst standing on benches!)

As we continue to celebrate the Not-Oktoberfest 2020, we felt this popular dessert had to make an appearance. I love to eat mine with warm vanilla sauce and plum compote, Donata on the other hand, has a very different opinion, she prefers hers doused in butter (who can argue with that?) with a helping of poppy seeds. But you do you and let us know how you like 'em! xoxo Kirsty

Ingredients (makes 12)

This is a bit of a weekend project. The dough is quick and the steaming/poaching method sounds a little complicated but it turned out to be easier than I expected. Whilst your dough is resting, you can make the plum compote and vanilla sauce. Alternatively, serve with lots of butter and poppy seeds if you like it Donata-style!

For the Dampfnudeln

  • 4 cups (500g) bread flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar

  • 1 sachet (2-1/4 teaspoons or 7g) instant yeast

  • 2/3 cup (150ml) full-fat milk, warm

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/3 cup (70g) unsalted butter, melted

  • Vegetable oil for greasing the bowl

For the plum compote

  • 4 plums, roughly chopped and stones removed

  • Outer peel of 1 orange, peeled into strips using a vegetable peeler

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the vanilla sauce (or store-bought is fine)

  • 2/3 cup (150ml) full-fat milk

  • 2/3 cup (150ml) heavy cream

  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons flour

  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar

For the poaching liquid

  • 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter

  • 2/3 cup (150ml) full-fat milk

  • 3 tablespoons (35g) sugar

To make the dampfnudel dough, add the flour, sugar and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add the milk, eggs and melted butter and combine the mixture using your hands until you have a rough dough, and there is no more flour left on the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5–10 minutes. Work until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for at least 1 hour until doubled in size.

To make the plum compote, add the plums, orange peel, water, honey, and cinnamon stick to a saucepan. Cook over a low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring and mashing the plums with a wooden spoon from time to time, until the plums have broken down and it has the consistency of a chunky apple sauce. Set aside.

To make the vanilla sauce, heat the milk and cream in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla paste, flour and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Pour over the warmed milk, whisking continuously. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook over a very low heat for 3–4 minutes stirring continuously until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and set aside. Cover the surface of the sauce with cling film, to prevent a skin forming.

Now back to your dough. When it has doubled in size, turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Fold it over itself repeatedly until all the air is knocked out. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls.

For the poaching liquid, heat the butter, milk and sugar in a large sauté pan with a tight fitting lid over a medium heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and, taking care not to burn yourself, add the dough balls, ensuring they are all are sitting on the base of pan. Leave to stand for 15 minutes until doubled in size.

Reduce to low heat and cook, covered, for 30 minutes (keep an eye on them as they will burn easily, so check them towards the end of the cooking time and add a little milk if they start to catch). Remove the lid and cook over a low heat for a further 5–10 minutes until the bases are golden-brown and caramelised and all the milk has been absorbed.

To serve, gently reheat the plum and vanilla sauces. Remove the dampfnudels from the heat and carefully lift them from the pan. Serve with the warm plum and vanilla sauces.

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