Schlutzkrapfen are a special kind of dumpling that originated in Tyrol, Austria. They are usually filled with vegetables rather than meat. These asparagus dumplings are a real treat in the springtime and my last asparagus recipe for this year as the asparagus season in Germany is about to end in a few days.
It’s undeniable that Schlutzkrapfen were inspired by Italian ravioli. However, they are not the same. As you might’ve noticed from the recipe picture, the dumpling skins have an unusual brown color. That is because the noodle dough is made from a mixture of rye and wheat flour.
Austrian people are not as generous when it comes to putting eggs into their noodle dough as the Italians. While in Italy some recipes even go as far as using only the egg yolks to make the dough, in Austria the dough is usually a mixture of eggs and water. Eggs have once been a valuable ingredient that could be sold by farmers to make money so that they have been used only sparingly.
I highly recommend you use a pasta machine to roll out the dough sheets. It’s much easier and faster than rolling out the dough by hand. For Schlutzkrapfen, the dough should be rolled out very thin. It should almost be transparent.
While it is common to pleat dumplings in Austria, I don’t think it’s a necessity. Yes, it looks pretty but it takes a lot of time. I just pinch the ends together in a half-moon shape and that’s it. However, you are free to pleat them however you prefer. It doesn’t improve the taste but the look.
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How to prepare the filling for asparagus dumplings
The filling for these asparagus dumplings is super easy and quick to prepare. It’s important that you chop the asparagus very finely. You don’t want any large pieces inside your dumpling. Also, don’t blanch the asparagus for too long. I like it if the asparagus still has a little bite.
I specify to mix the asparagus with topfen (quark). I know that this ingredient is hard to source outside of Germany. However, you can substitute it with Italian ricotta cheese. Just make sure to squeeze out the excess moisture of the cheese as the filling will otherwise be watery.
If you live in Austria or Southern Germany you can also use ‘Bröseltopfen’. That’s a low moisture topfen. You don’t need to squeeze out any water if you’re using this variety of topfen.
How to serve Schlutzkrapfen
These dumplings are lightly pan-fried after blanching which is a major difference to Italian ravioli which usually don’t get seared in clarified butter. To give the dumplings a nice sheen, I add some asparagus broth to finish the dumplings in the pan.
It’s very easy to prepare asparagus broth from asparagus peel and trimmings. You don’t need to simmer the broth for long. About 15-20 minutes is enough to extract the asparagus flavor.
You don’t need a lot of other dishes with these asparagus dumplings. A salad or soup on the side would nicely complement the dumplings. But, of course, they can also be enjoyed with any additional side dishes.
3.5 ounces (100 g) all-purpose flour (German Type 450 or 550)
3.5 ounces (100 g) light rye flour (German Type 1150)
1 egg, size M
1/4 cup (50-60 mL) water
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1 pound (450 g) white asparagus, peeled, trimmed, and finely chopped
14 ounces (400 g) topfen or quark (20 % fat | Italian ricotta makes a great substitute)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
salt, to taste
4 tablespoons clarified butter, divided
1/2 cup asparagus broth (cooked from the asparagus trimmings, see recipe), divided
lemon juice, to taste
salt, to taste
freshly grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
a handful of chervil leaves
Prepare the wrapper dough:
In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose and rye flour. Whisk together the egg, water, and salt in another mixing bowl until homogenous. Add this mixture to the flour and mix the dough briefly with your hands until it comes together. You don’t need to knead it. Just lightly press and mix it until all the flour is hydrated and you have a cohesive dough ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
Prepare the filling:
Place the peel and trimmings of your asparagus in a small pot and add just enough water so that the asparagus trimmings are fully submerged. Bring the water to a light simmer and leave the asparagus broth to simmer for at least 20 minutes before straining it.
Blanch the chopped asparagus in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes until it just retains a little bite. Immediately place in ice water to stop the cooking process and drain. Set aside.
Take your topfen or quark and wrap it tightly in cheesecloth. Squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can. You should at least be able to squeeze out about 1/4 cup of liquid.
In a mixing bowl, combine the blanched asparagus, topfen, cornstarch, and breadcrumbs. Mix well and season to taste with salt. The filling should be sticky but not watery at this point. If the filling is too liquidy, add some more breadcrumbs until you reach a cottage-cheese-like consistency.
Cut the wrappers and assemble the dumplings:
I highly recommend using a pasta machine to roll out the dough. However, it can also be done by hand with a rolling pin if you don’t own a pasta machine. Make sure to sprinkle your dough generously with flour before you pass it through the pasta machine so that it doesn’t stick. At first, you need to develop the gluten in the dough because it hasn’t been kneaded. Therefore, you pass the dough repeatedly through the pasta machine on the thickest setting. After every time you’ve passed the dough through, fold the dough over itself from both sides lengthwise and pass through the pasta machine on the widest setting again. Repeat about 5 times before you start to roll out the dough thinner.
After the folding phase, you can start to decrease the width off your pasta machine. Pass the dough through the machine without folding it afterward until it starts to become transparent. Then, take a coffee cup or cookie cutter with a diameter of about 3.5 inches (9 cm) to cut out individual dumpling wrappers. I got 16 wrappers out of my dough sheet. Once you’ve cut all the wrappers, you can knead together all the scraps and pass the dough through the machine again to produce more wrappers (just follow all the steps as described above). From my second dough sheet, I got 8 more wrappers for a total of 24 dumplings. I still had some leftover dough that I made noodles of to use it up. Make sure to generously dust your wrappers with flour or cornstarch and to cover them with a towel or plastic wrap so they won’t stick together or dry out.
To assemble the dumplings, take about 1.5 teaspoons of filling and place it in the center of the wrapper. Then lightly brush the edges with water and use your hands to fold the wrapper together to form a half-moon. When folding the dumplings, make sure they are sealed tightly and that they don’t have any air pockets inside. Lightly dust them with flour and proceed to wrap dumplings until all your filling is used up.
Cook the dumplings:
Heat a pot of lightly salted water until lightly simmering. Add your dumplings into the simmering water (you might want to work in 2-3 batches to not overcrowd your pot). Once they start to float on top, let them cook for 2-3 more minutes. Then take them out of the pot and set aside.
For frying the dumplings, it’s best to use two large nonstick frying pans. Add about 2 tablespoons of clarified butter to each pan and sear the dumplings on both sides over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until lightly golden on both sides. Add about 1/4 cup of your asparagus broth along with some lemon juice and salt to taste. Let the asparagus broth reduce slightly. After about 30 seconds, take the dumplings out of the pan place them on a serving plate.
Sprinkle the dumplings with grated pecorino or parmesan cheese and a few fresh chervil leaves. Drizzle with a few drops of the asparagus broth that is leftover in the pan. Eat while still hot with a salad or soup on the side.