I routinely use sourdough discard to make chicken and dumplings (the recipe is posted on the site), but I've struggled to get just the right sweet dumpling that I wanted for my cobblers and fruit desserts. I think I've got it! The dumplings are sweet, puffy, and a little crunchy on top. They go wonderfully well on top of fruit fillings--like fresh peach filling, the ingredients for which, I'll post below. The dumplings also make a nice topping for canned pie filling. Best of all, the sweet dumplings are a great, easy way to use up, rather than waste, that sourdough discard you might have on hand. The recipe calls for baking powder and baking soda, so, if your discard isn't quite ready for prime time rising, the dumplings will, nonetheless, turn out fine. If your discard is active (mine is), you'll get an even greater rise to your dumplings. One thing to keep in mind with the recipe: the dumplings will swell. A lot. So, unless you want more dumplings than fruit, you might want to use more fruit than you think you'll need.
Sweet Sourdough Dumplings for Cobblers and Fruit Desserts -- Makes a Lot
1 cup of sourdough starter/discard
1/4 cup of buttermilk
4 tablespoons of melted butter
1/3 cup of sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
Grated zest of an orange or a couple of clementines (optional, but good)
1 cup of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 cans of fruit pie filling or the fruit filling of your choice
In a large bowl, combine the starter/discard, buttermilk, melted butter, sugar, and orange zest (if you're using it). Beat them together well. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until everything is combined into a rough dough. Tear the dough into 1-inch pieces and drop the pieces onto the fruit filling, leaving at least 1/2-inch of space between the dough pieces (they'll swell!). Sprinkle the top of the dough with the tablespoon of sugar and the cinnamon. Bake the dumplings for about 30-45 minutes (depending, in part, on your fruit filling underneath the dumplings) or until the dumplings are golden brown and puffed up and the fruit filling is oozing through the dumplings. Serve the dumplings with lots of ice cream alongside. Yum!
4 cups of sliced, peeled peaches
2 tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup of sugar
1/8 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of water
In a large (I use a 2-3-quart dish) microwaveable baking dish, combine the peaches, butter, sugar, salt, and lemon juice and microwave them for several minutes. Stir the peaches and microwave them for two or three minutes more or until they soften and release their juices. Stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. The peaches should begin to thicken up. If they don't you can microwave them in 30 second increments, until they thicken slightly. The peach filling will thicken up more as it bakes under the dumplings, so you want the peach mixture only as thick as a sauce or gravy, not a pudding. Top the peach filling with the sweet dumplings.