Most recipes for English dumplings have quite a high amount of fat in them. There are lots of different recipes available on line with the more traditional ones using suet or butter but I have found a way of making some tasty dumplings to top a casserole without the fat.
The very basic recipe is simply;
(For 2 people)
- 100g self raising flour,
- 1tsp baking powder
- Milk to bind together(substitute coconut milk or soya for vegan or lactose intolerance)
Mix together the flour and baking powder and then add a little milk to bind together. Keep adding small amounts of milk until all the flour is mixed in but taking care to keep the mixture fairly firm so that you can spoon or shape dumplings onto the top of your casserole. It needs to be soft enough to spoon on top but not too wet that it spreads out too much.
Now depending on what your preference is and the casserole you are making, you can then vary the dumplings accordingly.
If you want a cheesy flavour then of course you can add cheese (which will not be FAT FREE so use a very strong low fat cheese if this is what you want) Alternatively add a teaspoon of English Mustard (more if liked) which gives a cheesy like flavour without the cheese.
I like to add more flavour to mine by adding herbs. I usually just use some ready mixed herb (a good heaped teaspoon). Adapt the quantity to your preference and casserole recipe but I find this works well with most meats or even vegetarian and either tomato, white sauce or gravy based dishes. (Tarragon works well with chicken dishes)
You could even try a teaspoon of curry powder instead or chilli powder.
You could use this recipe for a sweet dish instead of a crumble topping by adding some honey or sugar (again probably only a good teaspoon). You could use cinnamon with an apple dish or ginger with rhubarb . (We call this a cobbler in England)
Depending on your casserole you may need to part cook the base first and thicken any gravy or sauce. Once the dumplings have been added they need to be left undisturbed.
Spoon the dumpling mixture on top of the casserole around the dish allowing space between each spoonful for the mixture to expand and rise in cooking. Don’t worry about getting too close to the edge of the dish (those become the crispy “best bits)
I find it works best with a lid on to start with so that the dumplings steam for a while first and don’t dry out too much.
Place the casserole back into the oven at around 180 degrees (with lid on) for about 20 minutes and when they are looking “almost done” remove the lid and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes to allow the tops to brown and crisp up a little. You may want to turn the oven temperature up to about 200 to finish off.
I don’t usually serve any potatoes with this as the dumplings themselves give you enough carbohydrates but remember this only gives a fairly light portion each for two people so add more veg or increase the quantity for more.
I also like to use Wholemeal Self Raising flour to make it a little more healthy.
Have fun experimenting – sorry there are no pictures as it usually gets eaten too quickly