“To make Norfolk dumplings, mix a good thick batter as for pancakes, take a half a pint of milk, 2 eggs, a little salt, make it into a batter with flour. Have ready a clean saucepan of water boiling into which you drop the batter before the water boils fast and two or three minutes will boil them. Stir a piece of butter into them and eat them hot while they’re very good.”
- Milk (optional)
- 1 or 2 eggs (optional)
This is a super simple recipe. It uses only flour, salt, milk, and egg. If you’re on a trail and you don’t have milk or eggs, you can just use water with this recipe and it will work out just fine.
Start off with whisking up your egg, then add about a cup of milk, but hold back some of your milk in case your batter becomes a little too thick later on. Next add some flour to the mix along with a little bit of salt.
You want the consistency to be just a little thicker than you would make for pancakes so that it doesn’t break up when it goes into the water but not so thick as to make a dough.
Once your water has just barely started boiling, place your dumplings in by the spoonful. Depending on how hot your water is boiling these can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes. They have a wonderful little bready consistency.
They will be a little bland with so few ingredients but the texture is wonderful and they would go great in something like a stew or soup that you make on the trail, especially a super simple one. If you have been on the trail all day and you’re really tired and cold, this is the perfect meal because there are very few ingredients and it is so easy to put together and so quick to cook up.
Transcript of Video:
Today is a fun and kind of a different episode. I’m out here in the woods today and we’re going to be doing a very simple Norfolk dumplings recipe. This one’s from the Primitive Cookery cookbook but you’ll also find it in Hanna Glass’s cookbook of say 1747. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking.
Well, I’ve got water on to boil. Let me read you this very simple recipe in this little cookbook. It says, “To make Norfolk dumplings, mix a good thick batter as for pancakes, take a half a pint of milk, 2 eggs, a little salt, make it into a batter with flour. Have ready a clean saucepan of water boiling into which you drop the batter before the water boils fast and two or three minutes will boil them. Stir a piece of butter into them and eat them hot while they’re very good.”
This is a super simple recipe. It uses just flour, a little bit of salt, milk, 1 egg. We want to make it a really thick batter. We don’t want it to break up as we put it into this boiling water. It’s going to take a good bit for this water to get boiled. The other trick with this recipe, if you’re on a trail and you don’t have some of these special ingredients, you don’t have eggs with you, which is very, very common that you wouldn’t have eggs, milk is something that you’re not going to have on the trail, the question is would this work out just as fine if we didn’t have milk or eggs but we just used water and flour? I’m betting that’s going to work out just fine too. That’s probably going to be the most common version that you would do on the trail or in the camp when you don’t have lots of ingredients to work with and I’ve got just the simplest of mixing utensils here. I’ve got a little wire fork and just one simple wooden spoon along with a mixing bowl. Just the minimal equipment is what we’re going with here and of course I’ve got one of our tin cooking pots to cook our dumplings in.
Let’s start off with just one egg here and whisk this up. To this egg I’m going to add let’s say about a cup of milk. I’m going to hold a little back here in case the mix is a little too thick later on. Now let’s add some flour into this mix, and we’re going to add enough flour that we think we’re going to get to a thick batter. Of course she doesn’t say anything about how much flour, you just add as much as gets to the right consistency, and don’t forget to add a little bit of salt before you get this fully mixed up. Maybe a little thicker than I would consider a pancake mix but still a batter, not a dough necessarily.
Well, my fire has built up nicely and it’s just starting to boil so let’s put some of these dumplings in by the spoonful. There we go. I’m not sure exactly what Hanna Glass intended when she put this very simple recipe in her cookbook but the author or the collector of recipes for Primitive Cookery saw this recipe and knew that it was perfect for simple cooking for inexpensive cooking and that’s why they picked it out and put it into this little cookbook. It’s sort of a compilation of simple inexpensive recipes.
There we go, they’re ready. They’ve been in probably a little bit longer than the two or three minutes, but I didn’t have a really hot boiling thing going on here, so let’s take a look.
So, let’s see how these turned out. They look pretty simple and they are obviously. Just a few ingredients, but they have a wonderful little, kind of a little bready consistency. Obviously they’re a little bland, because they’re just not amazing flavors in there. We haven’t put a lot of ingredients in there, but it’s got a wonderful texture and this would go great in something like a stew or a soup that you make on the trail, especially a super simple one. On the trail, we can’t expect amazing, intense flavors, “Oh, this is the best thing I’ve ever had!” Sometimes when you’re really tired and you’re cold and you’ve just built a fire like this and you’ve walked a long way, you carried what you’ve got with you, this is an amazing meal because you’ve made it yourself and you brought all the things along with you and there’s just a very, very few ingredients. I really want to encourage you to get out this spring, get outdoors, get cooking some of these amazing simple things. They are incredible. This is such a wonderful time of year to get out and to get active and to really kind of get into the grove again of summer.
I want to thank you for joining along with me today and this experiment as we savor the flavors and the aromas of the 18th century.
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