Gnocchi di Susine
My monthly ñoquis del 29 post is either very late or extremely early. Meant to bring luck when eaten at the end of the month, I was unlucky the first time I tried to make these gnocchi di susine or plum gnocchis. A Triestian recipe similar to pierogis, they reflect the region’s blend of Mediterranean, Austrian, Hungarian, and Slavic cuisine. I thought it would be a great way to use the late summer plums that are filling the markets and fulfill my August gnocchi post – two birds, lots of stone fruit.
I was thrilled when I found tiny Italian prune-plums that were perfectly ripe and just the right size. Following the recipe closely, I blanched them as directed – a mistake. They were supposed to split open just enough to remove the pits, be stuffed with sugar cubes, and folded into the gnocchi dough. When I checked on the plums a few minutes later they’d been blanched to a pulp – there was no putting them back together again. Disappointed but undeterred, I had some larger dark plums that were less than perfect, but cut down to size, might work. I found an alternative recipe from Mario Batali, ran out for more potatoes, and started from scratch. No blanching required, they were creamy, sweet and I loved the ways the plums and sugar melted together. Some times a little luck is a lot of work.
Gnocchi di Susine/Plum Gnocchi
Adapted from this recipe by Mario Batali, they can also be made with prunes during if fresh plums aren’t available. Perfect for dessert, I think they’d make an interesting appetizer or side dish.
2 1/4 pound russet potatoes
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
4 red or purple plums, pitted and quartered or 16 small Italian prune plums
8 sugar cubes, halved or 3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Cinnamon and sugar to taste
Place whole potatoes in a heavy pot with lightly salted water to cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a low boil and cook until just tender, about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and force through ricer or food mill onto a sheet pan, spreading in an even layer. Cool potatoes completely.
On a lightly floured board, gather potatoes into a mound in sheet pan, using a pastry scraper if you have one, and form a well in center. Pour beaten eggs and salt into the well, then blend into the potatoes. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the flour over the potatoes and gently mix in. Add remaining flour as needed until a dough just forms. Dust top lightly with some flour and refrigerate until ready to use.
Bring water to a boil with 1-2 tablespoons of salt. Pinch off a walnut-sized piece of dough and flatten into a 2 1/2 inch circle. Place a quarter plum piece stuffed with a half a sugar cube in the center of each round of dough (see note). Close the dough around the filling to form a smooth package with no tears. Repeat with remaining dough and plums.
Melt butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and toast until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add gnocchis, 8 or so at a time (so that they don’t touch) to the boiling water, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Wait for them to rise to the top and continue to cook an additional 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well. Add to the bread crumb mixture and gently toss to coat.
Place on a serving platter and sprinkle with remaining bread crumbs, cinnamon and sugar to taste. Serve warm as an appetizer or dessert.
Makes 16 large gnocchis.