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Help with dumplings, please

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I made dumplings for the first time ever the other night, using Joan Nathan's recipe for nockerln. The recipe calls for 2T fat, 4 eggs, 7-8T flour and salt. You add the eggs 1 at a time to the fat, slowly add the flour while whisking continually, add the salt and drop the dumplings into boiling soup by putting a bit of batter on the end of a spoon, putting the spoon in the soup and keeping it there for a moment.

I cut the recipe in half, but otherwise followed the directions exactly, using about 4T flour. I've never made something like this before, so I didn't know what the batter was supposed to look like. Here's the problem. I was expecting solid, individual little squiggles of dumplings. Instead, the batter flowed off the spoon into a large indeterminate mass. Each indeterminate mass joined the previous ones and I got one large thing. At first it looked a lot like soup scum. As it cooked more, it might charitably have been described as looking like a cloud floating on top of the soup. It tasted fine, but looked pretty weird in the soup bowl.

Was I right to expect individual, solid squiggles? If so, what did I do wrong? My best guess is that, despite the recipe, it actually needed more flour. Or would it have helped in some way to let the batter sit for a while before using it? Any thoughts?

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  1. The egg to flour ratio sounds like it is off by a lot. Not enough flour to egg. For four eggs and two tablespoons (apx 1 ounce) of fat I would think you would need 2-3 cups of flour. 8 tablespoons of flour is about 1/2 cup.

    1. Yes, I think the recipe would need more than 2Tbs. of flour per egg, which are about 1/4 C. for 1 large egg.

      Which Joan Nathan book were you using? She tends to repeat recipes with slight variations from book to book. I have several of her books and will try to remember to check up on the recipe tonight.
      p.j.

      1 Reply
      1. re: p.j.

        It's the Jewish Holiday Cookbook (the 2004 update of her older holiday cookbook). Thanks.

      2. Marcia,
        I forgot to look last night. Sorry. I believe I have the edition prior to the 2004 update, so I will look at that tonight.
        By the way, the Friday Night Brisket recipe is great!
        p.j.

        1. Think of it as biscuit dough. Or make biscuit dough, which is what I do.

          DT

          1. Marcia2,
            Hi! I think I have figured this out.

            The recipe you used is the same as that included in my 1988 edition of the Jewish Holiday Cookbook. Ms. Nathan describes the product as "egg drops", not really dumplings. From her discussion, and the proportion of egg to flour, I imagine these to be a more substantial version of simply dropping dribbles of a beaten egg into soup: i.e. Chinese egg drop soup. My Mom used to do the beaten egg thing to add protein to Lipton's chicken noodle soup. Ms. Nathan's instructions indicate that you should hold the teaspoon with the mixture on the tip, in the soup for a few seconds: this would probably allow the egg to cook enough to keep the "egg drop" from falling apart or congealing with other drops.

            I also looked in my other J.N. cookbooks for dumplings/nockerln. In Jewish Cooking in America, Ms. Nathan has a recipe for egg dumplings: "Milky Way's Lentil Soup with Egg Dumplings". This recipe calls for lots more flour per egg:
            Just before serving the soup, beat 2 large eggs in a bowl, slowly add "about 8 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour", beating continuallly with a wisk or spoon, until you get to a consistency of "soft bubble gum." Use a tespoon to scoop up a small amount of batter, & let it fall off the spoon into the soup (different technique from egg drops). Cover & simmer a few minutes until the "dumplings are puffed." Yield 12 dumplings.
            I may try this myself!
            Shana tovah, and have a good Sukkot,
            p.j.

            1 Reply
            1. re: p.j.

              Thanks! I bet this solves my problem. Shana tovah!