18 gnocchi, serving 4 to 6
Sweet gnocchi are among my favorite childhood food memories. These were never dessert but a main course for the children: if the adults were to have gnocchi with venison guazzetto or other game sauce, some of the dough would be specially prepared just for us kids, stuffed with prunes or marmalade (or both) in winter, or with fresh, ripe plums in late summer. I loved them all and remember that if we had three or four we were full until the next meal.
I make these prune and plum-jam gnocchi for my grandchildren today but now the adults want them too. And though I still consider them a main dish on occasion I do serve them for dessert. They also make a wonderful accompaniment to roast duck or goose—and a lovely breakfast!
To make sure these have a sweet crunchy crumb coating, drop the cooked gnocchi into the bread crumb mixture while they are still wet from the cooking pot. If you let them dry the crumb topping will have difficulty adhering.
- 1 batch Basic Potato Gnocchi
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
- 1 cup sugar plus more for finishing
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 18 plump, moist pitted prunes (about 5 ounces)
- ½ cup chunky plum jam
- 1 tablespoon corase sea salt or kosher salt for boiling
Make the potato dough and keep it covered with a towel. Cut, shape and cook the gnocchi without delay.
To make the bread crumb coating, melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat, stir in the bread crumbs and toast them until golden. Let cool then stir in the cup of sugar and cinnamon. (I suggest you toast and cool the bread crumbs at the same time that the riced potatoes are cooling and drying, before mixing the gnocchi dough.)
Cut the potato dough into 18 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk on a lightly floured surface and drop a generous teaspoon of jam in the center. Press a prune on the jam and wrap the dough to enclose it. Pinch all around the edges to seal the gnoccho, roll it gently into a ball and put it on a floured tray.
Meanwhile, bring 7 quarts of water with a tablespoon of salt to a rolling boil in the big pot. Shake excess flour off the gnocchi and drop them into water, stir, cover the pot and return to the boil rapidly. As the gnocchi rise to the surface, turn and tumble them occasionally so they cook evenly and don’t stick to each other. Boil for 20 minutes until cooked through.
Lift out the cooked gnocchi with a spider, drain only for a moment, and immediately spill them into the skillet of sugared bread crumbs. Roll the gnocchi around and around, until they’re coated with crumbs on all surfaces.
Arrange the gnocchi on a platter and dust the tops with more sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.