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Pear Dumpling (birne Kloesse) Recipe

History of Pear Dumpling (Birne Kloesse):

Pear dumplings, also known as "Birne Kloesse," originated in Germany and Austria. This traditional dessert dish has been enjoyed for generations, especially during the autumn season when pears are in abundance. Pear dumplings were originally a way to use up stale bread and create a mouthwatering dessert by combining them with fresh fruits and spices.

Fun Fact:
In Germany, pear dumplings are often served as a comforting dish on cold winter days. It is a popular choice for holiday gatherings and festive occasions. Furthermore, pear dumplings are versatile and can be enjoyed as both a sweet dessert and a delicious meal.

Recipe for Pear Dumpling (Birne Kloesse):

Ingredients:
- 1/2 loaf of white bread (or equivalent amount of stale white bread)
- 1 cup suet (chopped very fine)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 egg
- Salt and spices (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pound prunes
- 1 pound pears
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 pieces of stick cinnamon
- Dash of claret (red wine)
- Cold water (to almost cover the dumpling)

Instructions:
1. Begin by preparing the bread. If using a half loaf of white bread, remove the crust and soak the white part in water until soft. Then grate the crust.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the soaked and grated bread, suet, flour, egg, salt, spices, and baking powder. Mix until well combined, forming a dough-like consistency.

3. Take a portion of the dough and shape it into a large dumpling, ensuring it is evenly formed. Place the dumpling on a small plate and set it aside.

4. In a large kettle, arrange a layer of prunes and pears around the dumpling. Use approximately one pound of each fruit or adjust according to your preference.

5. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the fruits and add the stick cinnamon for flavor. For an added touch, you can also include a dash of claret, which will enhance the taste of the dish.

6. Pour enough cold water into the kettle to almost cover the dumpling and fruits. This will help create a delicious syrup as the ingredients cook.

7. Cover the kettle tightly with a lid and place it on the stove. Boil the pear dumpling for approximately four hours. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld and the dumpling to become tender.

8. Once cooked, carefully remove the dumpling from the kettle and place it on a serving dish. Cut the dumpling into slices, allowing each portion to include a mixture of the cooked pears, prunes, and the delectable sauce.

9. Serve the pear dumpling while it is still hot, ensuring everyone gets a generous serving of the fruity syrup. It can be enjoyed as it is or topped with a dollop of whipped cream for an extra indulgence.

Variations and Similar Dishes:
- Instead of pears, you can use apples or a combination of both apples and pears for a slightly different flavor profile.
- Some recipes call for the addition of raisins or dried cranberries for added texture and sweetness.
- In Austria, a similar dish called "Marillenknödel" is made using apricots instead of pears, creating a unique and tangy taste.
- Another popular dumpling dish is the "Zwetschgenknödel," which features plums as the main fruit ingredient. This dish is commonly served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar or a side of vanilla sauce.

Regardless of the fruit used, pear dumplings retain their delightful combination of sweet, savory, and comforting flavors. This recipe offers a traditional way to enjoy this classic dish and is sure to delight your family and friends.

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