There is a legend about the origin of the German dish Maultaschen: that monks from the monastery of Maulbronn invented it during Lent. Because of their fear of God and with a great desire to eat meat, they went to a trick: they finely cut the meat, mixed it with herbs and wrapped it in the dough. They were sure that God would not see the “hidden” meat.
Traditionally, these dumplings consist of ground meat and Bratwurstbrät (veal meat ground in a blender to a mushy state with a piece of lard and iced water).
We think that it would be challenging to find a Bratwurstbrät in the US, so we suggest using beef and pork. Their combination would give a similar taste to the original Maultaschen filling.
We highly recommend buying beef and pork fillet. Then ground the beef and the pork by using a meat grinder. Ground beef and ground pork from the shop will work well, too.
Also, if you are not a spinach fan or a meat fan, you can remove spinach.
Moreover, you can blend your ground meat to make it “finer”, just use a food processor. You can add more ground beef, and less ground pork, or use only ground beef. Besides, you can add Black Forest ham to your Maultaschen to add flavor and piquancy.
Last, but not least is that there is a stale bun in a traditional recipe. You can substitute them with crusty rolls or bread crumbs ( preferable to use the unflavored ones).
How to Make Maultaschen – Step by Step Instructions
First of all, be sure that you have all the ingredients to prepare Maultaschen.
Make the Dough
Put the yolks separated from the whites in the bowl. Add salt and water. Beat well with a whisk. Gradually add flour and knead thoroughly the dough until it stops sticking to your hands. We form a ball, cover it with a towel and let it stand for 20-30 minutes.
Make the Filling
While our dough rest, we prepare the filling.
Pour warm milk over breadcrumbs. We are waiting for them to swell.
Pass pork, beef and onions through a meat grinder. Add finely chopped spinach and garlic juice to the ground meat.
Spinach can be used both fresh and frozen. If you use frozen spinach, let it reach room temperature, squeeze it thoroughly in gauze or a towel, removing all excess liquid, and chop it. If you use fresh spinach, blanch it (3-4 minutes in a small amount of boiling water). Throw it on a sieve, let the water drain, cool down a little, press it with your hand, ridding the spinach of excess water, let it cool completely.
In addition to spinach, it is quite possible to use sorrel, as well as young nettles. If there is neither, take fresh parsley.
Now add the swollen crumbled crackers to the minced meat. Salt, pepper, add dry spices and thoroughly knead the minced meat for the Maultaschen.
Make balls of it the size of meatballs (1 tsp. a spoonful of minced meat with a slide) or a little more, if you want large German dumplings.
Roll out the dough in a rectangular shape. Cut it into strips 10-12 cm wide. Grease each with whipped egg white, which will avoid the product opening, and also give it a texture different from Chinese dumplings and Italian ravioli.
Form the Dumplings
Spread the prepared meatballs on each strip of dough at a distance of two centimeters from each other, in the middle.
Now we cover them with the edges of the strips. First on one side, almost completely covering the balls, then on the other, with a slight overlap of the dough. By the look of it, you should get a kind of loaf of the right shape with fully covered minced meat.
The balls and the free distance between them are pressed down with your fingers. The shape of the Maultaschen is a little flat. When the procedure is finished, we cut it into portions with a sharp knife.
It is convenient to cut the Maultaschen with a pizza wheel closer to the part where the filling is located, so the edge of the dough looks neat and beautiful.
Slices of dumplings are pressed down with fingers, and then with a fork. Both for beauty and authenticity, and in order not to let them fall apart.
Cook the Dumplings and Serve
Now the German dumplings are ready. It is time to cook them.
Boil a large pot with lightly salted water. Once the water is boiling reduce the heat to medium or low, you need simmering water.
Put your Maultaschen in the pot, and let them stay there for 15-20 minutes.
We suggest using a wooden spoon and run it along the bottom to make sure that your Maultaschen will not stick to the bottom.
As soon as, Maultaschen rises to the surface, that means they are almost ready.
Let them stay in the hot water for couple more minutes and extract them with a skimmer.
Maultashen is served, as a rule, with onions fried in vegetable oil.
Storage of raw Maultaschen
- If after lunch you have some leftovers of the raw Maultaschen, and there was no place in the freezer, they can be placed in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
- Homemade minced meat will not spoil for 2 days at temperatures up to +39 °F. It follows that you can store homemade dumplings in the refrigerator for 2 days.
- The ground meat bought in the store has already been stored there for some time, so it is better to eat products with such a filling right away.
Storage of Maultaschen in the freezer
- In order to prolong the shelf life of dumplings in the freezer, place them in an airtight container.
- The minimum storage temperature of dumplings is + 10 °F. In such conditions, raw dumplings can be stored for up to 1 month.
- The shelf life of dumplings in a new generation freezer at – 4 °F is 3 months.
- At a stable temperature of – 11 °F, it is possible to store dumplings frozen using the fast freezing function for 9 months.
Storage of the cooked Maultaschen
- Already cooked dumplings are stored for no more than a day in the refrigerator at a temperature of up to + 41 °F.
- At room temperature, the Maultaschen can be kept for no more than 12 hours.
- It is not recommended to store cooked dumplings in the freezer: after defrosting, the dough will be too hard.
- To prevent the dough from drying out, the products are greased with butter and covered with a kitchen film before being sent to the refrigerator. And before use, they are fried or heated in the microwave.