Ricotta Dumplings, The Copper Onion

Since it was our six-year wedding anniversary today, I decided to make a dish that’s special to us. One of our favorite dishes in Salt Lake is the lemon ricotta dumplings from The Copper Onion. Just about every dish at The Copper Onion gets rave reviews, but I think this dish is the all-star, and I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t absolutely love it.

As I said in an earlier post, one of the things I admire in Ryan Lowder is that he’s not afraid to share the recipes to his most popular dishes with the public. I can’t remember where I found this recipe (let me know if you know who initially posted it), but I’m going to repost it with a few modifications.

If you haven’t tasted these dumplings before, you need to. They are a masterwork of opposites. They are dense and moist, yet still airy and light. They have some complex, deep flavors that are counterbalanced perfectly with the addition of bright lemon citrus.

I cut the recipe in half to make it a bit more manageable for our family of two, but I’m going to post his full recipe. Our half recipe made around 12-15 dumplings so the full recipe should produce around 30 dumplings.

Ricotta Dumplings
2 lbs ricotta
4 egg yolks
3 eggs
½ lb cheap parmigiano reggiano
1 lb spinach
1 ½ cups flour
.3 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt
Pepper

Garnish
Preserved lemon (I just used lemon zest)
Fresh thyme

Blanch the spinach and squeeze as much water as possible out of it. You want it as dry as possible (I placed the spinach between two dinner plates and smashed, smashed, smashed). Finely chop the spinach. Combine all ingredients except the flour and mix well. Add the flour in small amounts and mix until just blended. Then form the dough into dumplings (I formed mine into quenelles using two large spoons. You can see how to do it by watching this Youtube video).

At this point you should have water simmering in a large pot. I made the mistake of putting my dumplings into a rolling boil and it tore them apart. So a simmer is plenty. Make sure you don’t keep them in the boiling water for much longer than 15-25 seconds because they’ll begin to disintegrate.  Once you see the dumplings start to surface to the top take them out and immediately place them in a very hot sauté pan with browned butter. Caramelize on all sides, then plate and top with the lemon zest and thyme. I like to serve them with a lemon wedge to punch up the lemon flavor even more.

Try this out and let me know what you think!

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Rondos Recipe

Rondos are a little-known Dutch treat. My wife brought a few home from a friend’s house, and once I tried it, I had to figure out how to make them.

The Rondo is a rich, semi-gooey, almondy pastry that has just a hint of lemon zest. The middle half of the Rondo is filled with almond paste to make it extra gooey and rich.

Here’s the recipe:

250 g all-purpose flour
200 g butter, cold and diced
160 g confectioners sugar
½ egg (about 25 g)
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder

300 g almond paste (The easiest way is to buy it pre-made. Click here for Amazon link. But you can also make your own using this recipe)
25 g water
17 amarena cherries, drained (I didn’t put these in)
½ egg, beaten
Whole almonds

Mix the flour, lemon zest, baking powder, sugar and ½ egg in a bowl. Add the butter and knead this quickly into a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator until firm (overnight is best).

Preheat oven to 380 F. Mix the almond paste with the water until smooth.

Take dough out of the fridge and give it a short knead. Roll out about ½” thick and cut out circles that will fit into a muffin tin.

Place a dough disk on the bottom of the greased and floured muffin tin and scoop about a teaspoon of almond paste in the middle of the disk. You should have about ¼” of the dough disk edges visible. If you use cherries, you would also place a cherry in the almond paste. Put another dough disk on top. You don’t need to smash it on–just place it firmly. Brush the top with egg wash, place an almond on top, and brush again with egg wash. Bake for about 20-25 minutes (mine took about 17, but my oven runs hot) or until golden brown. Take them out of the molds at once and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

I doubled this recipe and it yielded about 13 Rondos. I used a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour. If you roll the dough out a little thinner than ½” you should be able to increase the yield quite a bit. If you make your own almond paste, be sure to blanch your almonds long enough to make it easy to remove the seedcoat. I only blanched them the first time for one minute and it was a tedious experience to remove the seedcoat. Turns out that 2-3 minutes in boiling water is much more effective.

I’m not kidding you when I say that these were one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten. Many of my friends felt the same way when they tried them.

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