Hotel Imperial Sweet Cheese Dumplings

Strawberry Purée Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Coating Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dried fine breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Dumplings Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh bread cubes
  • 1 1/4 cups sweet (farmer's) cheese (may substitute ricotta)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 egg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum

Garnish Ingredients:

  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 12 to 16 blueberries
  • 4 strawberries, halved
  • 12 to 16 raspberries
  • 4 mint leaves
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting


To make the purée: Combine the strawberries and sugar in a food processor or blender and purée. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve and set aside.

To make the coating: Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan and stir in the breadcrumbs and sugar. Sauté until golden and crispy. Set aside in a shallow bowl or plate.

To make the dumplings: In a large bowl, mix the bread cubes, cheese and zests. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the tiny seeds into the mixture; discard the pod (or place in granulated sugar to make vanilla sugar). With a wooden spoon, stir in the egg, pinch of salt and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1/2 cup rum. Form the dumpling mixture into 2-inch balls. Drop the dumplings into the boiling water and cook 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on towels.

To serve: Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Put into a pastry bag fitted with a very small plain tip, or put into a small plastic bag and snip a tiny hole in one corner. Pipe a design on each of four dessert plates, incorporating two large circles in the design. Let set for 1 minute. With the tip of a spoon, fill the circles with strawberry purée. Roll the dumplings in the coating mixture and place two or three dumplings on each plate. Garnish each plate with a few blueberries, one split strawberry and a few raspberries, topped with a mint leaf. Dust the dumplings with confectioners' sugar.

Makes 4

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