Christmassey walnut caramel dumplings with vanilla bean ice cream

Just sitting here feeling very bah-hum-buggy with a sore back thanks to the melanoma wide-excision yesterday – I am one of those people who rushes around at a million miles an hour, so having to move cautiously is anathema to me. However being kind of chair bound has meant that I have caught up on lots of writing work, including having my next four recipes for Fairfax totally sorted (yuss!) and now I can get cracking on my next lot for Dish. These Walnut Caramel Dumpling are from a recipe (but different pic) that I did for Dish in winter this year. (Bizarrely they came to mind today as I was thinking about the Downton Abbey Bafta special that I watched last night – how am I supposed to cope without seeing the Christmas special until whenever it comes out in New Zealand – presumably around March!???!) I fluffed around with the recipe for ages, before being totally satisfied with the slight nubbly nuttiness of them, liberally doused in caramel sauce and with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side, they were comfort in a bowl. For Christmas festive purposes make the walnut praline and sprinkle on top, and you will take your dumplings from homey to sparkly fabulous!


1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
50grams butter, chopped
50grams finely chopped walnuts (I pulsed mine in the food processor)
125mls whole milk

1 cup brown sugar
30 grams butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon corn flour

Walnut Praline:
½ cup caster sugar
1 cup walnuts

½ teaspoon sea salt

Put flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and butter into a food processor and pulse to form breadcrumbs. Tip into a large bowl and stir in walnuts and milk to form a soft, scone-like dough. Gently take spoonfuls and roll into 12 balls and cook immediately.Put brown sugar, butter and salt into a large pot. Add 2 ¼ cups boiling water. Mix corn flour with ¼ cup cold water until smooth and whisk into sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and add dumplings. Cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes until cooked. Serve with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a sprinkling of walnut praline. Makes 12, serves 4-6.

Line a dish with baking paper. Heat sugar in a clean saucepan with 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk to combine then don’t stir again while the sugar changes from white and crystallised to light golden and liquid. As soon as it is lightly golden add walnuts and salt and pour onto prepared dish. Once it has hardened break up by smashing a few times with a rolling pin then pulse in a food processor to your desired texture – chunky or powdery.

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