Most of the recipes from old cookbooks are for rounded dumplings. Some recipes say to wrap the dumplings in cloth, like when boiling a pudding. Others say to roll the dumplings in a ball or drop the dumpling mixture from a spoon into hot liquid.
The only dumplings I’ve ever eaten were in a Chicken and Dumplings recipe. Those dumplings were rolled out flat and cut into small rectangular strips.
- Dripping / Drippings – The fat and juices from the roasting pan when cooking meat.
- Indian meal – Coarsely ground corn (cornmeal)
- Saltspoon – A miniature spoon used with an open salt cellar for individual use before table salt was free-flowing.
- Suet – The hard white fat on the kidneys and loins of cattle, sheep, and other animals.
INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS:
FINE SUET DUMPLINGS
Grate the crumb of a stale loaf of bread and mix it with nearly as much beef suet, chopped as fine as possible. Add a grated nutmeg, and two large tablespoonfuls of sugar. Beat four eggs with four tablespoonfuls of white wine or brandy. Mix all well together to a stiff paste. Flour your hands, and make up the mixture into balls about the size of turkey eggs. Have ready a pot of boiling water. Put the dumplings into cloths, and let them boil about half an hour. Serve them hot, and eat them with wine sauce.
Beat until quite light, one tablespoon of sugar and the yolks of three eggs. Add half a cup of finely chopped suet, half a cup of English currants, one cup of sifted flour in which there has been sifted a heaping teaspoon of baking powder, a little nutmeg, one teaspoon of salt and, lastly, the beaten whites of the eggs. Flour your hands and make it into balls the size of an egg. Boil in separate cloths one hour or more. Serve with wine sauce.
Take a loaf of bread, cut off the crust, and the rest in slices. Put to the slices as much hot milk as will just wet it. Take the yolks and whites of six eggs, beat them with two spoonfuls of powdered sugar, half a nutmeg, and a little salt and put it to your bread. Take half a pound of currants well cleaned, and put them to your eggs. Then take a handful of the mildest herbs you can get. Gather them so equal that the taste of one be not above the other (don’t put any parsley among them, nor any other strong herb). Wash and chop them very small and put as many of them in as will make a deep green. Mix them all together, and boil them in a cloth, each about the bigness of middling apples. About half an hour will boil them. Put them into your dish, and have a little candid orange, white wine, butter and sugar for sauce, and serve them up.
Take a pint of milk and four eggs well-beaten. Stir them together and add a saltspoon of salt. Then mix in as much sifted Indian meal as will make a stiff dough. Flour your hands, divide the dough into equal portions, and make it into balls about the size of a goose egg. Flatten each with the rolling-pin, tie them in cloths, and put them into a pot of boiling water. They will boil in a short time. Take care not to let them go to pieces by keeping them too long in the pot. Serve them up hot, and eat them with corned pork or with bacon. Or you may eat them with molasses and butter after the meat is removed. If to be eaten without meat, you may mix in the dough a quarter of a pound of finely chopped suet.
Take a calf’s liver, and chop it very fine. Mix with it half a pound of beef suet chopped fine, half a pound of flour, two minced onions, a handful of bread-crumbs, a tablespoon of chopped parsley and sweet marjoram mixed, a few blades of mace, a few cloves powdered, and a little pepper and salt. Mix all well together. Wet the mixture with six eggs well beaten, and make it up into dumplings, with your hands well floured. Have ready a large pot of boiling water. Drop the dumplings into it with a ladle, and let them boil an hour. Have ready bread-crumbs browned in butter to pour over them before they go to table.
Chop some cold ham, the fat and lean in equal proportions. Season it with pepper and minced sage. Make a crust, allowing half a pound of chopped suet, or half a pound of butter to a pound of flour. Roll it out thick, and divide it into equal portions. Put some minced ham into each, and close up the crust. Have ready a pot of boiling water, and put in the dumplings. Boil them about three-quarters of an hour.
Take two pounds of flour, a halfpenny worth of yeast,* a pinch of salt, and one pint of milk or water. Put the flour into a pan, and with your fist, hollow out a hole in the center of the flour. Place the yeast and salt at the bottom, then add the milk (which should be lukewarm), and with your clean hand gradually mix the whole well together, working the dough perfectly smooth and elastic. The pan containing the dough must then be covered over with a cloth, and in the winter must be placed on a stool in a corner near the fire, that it may rise, or increase in size to nearly double its original quantity.
When the dough has risen in a satisfactory manner, which will take about an hour, dip your hand in some flour and knead it together, without allowing it to stick to your hands. Divide it into about twelve equal parts, then roll these with flour into balls. As you turn them out of hand, drop them gently into a pot on the fire, half full of boiling water. Allow the water to boil up once as you drop each dumpling in separately before you attempt to put in another, in order to prevent the dumplings from sticking together. Yeast dumplings must not boil too fast, as then they might boil out of the pot. They will require about half an hour’s boiling to cook them. They must be eaten immediately, with a little butter or dripping, and salt or sugar.
* I haven’t been able to find out how much yeast a halfpenny would buy, but this recipe for Mom’s Chicken and Dumplings recipe on Cooks.com uses yeast. The dumplings recipe is below the chicken recipe.