This is one of those delicious recipes that can be ruined so easily. As I made it, I measured out the ingredients – this recipe is a very good one. I did an image search and honestly, I didn’t find one appetizing looking zsemlegombóc anywhere. Yet this is a simple side dish and not at all complicated to make. The first mistake people make is not preparing the bun-cubes. The other is adding too much liquid or an excessive amount of flour to the batter. Like everything else, zsemlegombóc has to have a certain texture; lightness with a little resistance when you bite into a tender dumpling. I also found that adding water to the batter instead of milk make for more attractive looking and better tasting dumplings. Hungarians use crusty buns for this recipe, not at all like the crusty buns we can get in Canada. The best substitution is a foot long piece of French bread, those skinny long Parisian style French breads. Today my friend from With a Glass pointed out that this was a good way to use up leftover French bread.
1 foot section of skinny French bread
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 heaping Tbsp dry parsley
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup bread flour
• Cut the French bread into 1/2 inch cubes with a sharp knife. This makes about 3 cups of bread cubes.
Heat a non-stick fry pan on medium heat.
• Add 2 Tbsp olive oil.
• Add the bread cubes and slowly dry them in the fry pan for about 6-8 minutes, turning often. The bread cubes will get a nice golden color, but none of it should be overdone. If you have a few burned pieces, discard the batch and start over. Don’t try to save some, because the burned flavour permeates the entire batch.
• Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
• Add the eggs, dry parsley, salt and the pepper.
• Add the water and crunch up the bread cubes. Let it rest for 4 minutes.
• Meanwhile put some water in a medium pot and place it on high heat.
• Add a couple of drops of oil to the water and bring to the boil.
• Finally add the bread flour to the bread mixture and kneed to combine.
• Divide dough into 8 parts.
• Wet your hands, shape a piece of dough into a ball and drop it into the boiling water.
• After all the dumplings rise to the top cook for 4-5 more minutes longer.
• Remove dumplings with a slotted spoon and let dumplings drain.
• Place 2 Tbsp olive oil in the fry pan and place it on medium heat.
• Add the dumplings and heat through, shaking the pan occasionally and letting them slightly brown, but do not burn.