Monday, February 10, 2014

Dampfnudeln: German steamed buns

One way to get a German person or an expat with lots of fondness for Germany to sigh happily about inexpensive desserts is to mention Dampfnudeln. These are rolls/buns that are steamed in a pot and are commonly eaten in southern Germany and the Alsace region of France. The bottoms of them are cooked in a salty brine that creates a crispy crust while the top of the bun is very soft. They can be served as a main dish with savory sides, such as vegetables, or they can be served as a dessert with a vanilla sauce or jam.

They are definitely available at Christmas markets and can be seen at other places, such as food carts and sometimes at bakeries attached to grocery stores. People are quite fond of them.

I am not one of those people. I finally gave one a try at a Christmas market in December. It's a strange beast, this dampfnudel. Think of an undercooked roll that's incredibly doughy but with a very salty bottom that's crispy. The whole thing doesn't taste like much, other than flour and salt. The vanilla custard sauce that came with it didn't taste like much, either. Sorry, Mr. Dampfnudel. You just didn't do it for me.

Dampfnudel on left, uninspired vanilla sauce on the right.

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