Thursday, June 20, 2019

ASFS Presentation

Soopa Shastra
Tourte Parmerienne
Getty Menu
Aphrodisiac Dinner
Leonardo Dinner
Central Kitchen
Platina's Pie

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Henriette Davidis Dumplings: Another Lesson in Historic Cooking

    The past few days I've been writing an episode for my upcoming historic cooking series (for The Great Courses). This one is about Henriette Davidis, the most popular cookbook author of 19th century Germany. The Romantic Era, Burgeoning Nationalism and the Construction of Bourgeois Female Domesticity. All that and dumplings. Thing is, I thought I knew what I was doing with dumplings. They're kind of like matzoh balls. Rub fat in crumbs, add egg, a little stock, roll into balls and simmer in soup, right? Wrong.

    The procedure is quite different. These are made of bread - wet and then wrung out in a cloth and rubbed. So here's my own dense sourdough bread. Then you cream butter with egg yolks. Then you whip the egg white and it all gets folded in together. I get this, light a fluffy perhaps.
    Well, trial one was a complete disaster. I used fresh bread and she said not to, nor use hot water. Oops. Trial two was also a failure. For the second shot I thought, OK, I'll use bread crumbs, dry, so they hold together. NOPE. They almost worked, but likewise fell apart and were ragged. Hmm.

   How about I actually follow the directions and don't assume I know what I'm doing? So the bread MUST be stale. You must wet it and thoroughly wring out the water. Then you must rub it. It doesn't completely obliterate the bread but leaves some texture and as you can see bits of the crust. This is what glues everything together. Formed with two spoons like quenelles. Simmered 5 minutes in chicken stock. Beautiful and delicious.

Lesson learned. Don't assume you know better. Follow the recipe! Next time I'll use parsley too, which she offers as an option.