Preparation / Directions:
You probably refer to "Dampfnudeln" which are steamed yeast dumplings. The following recipe uses milk to steam the yeast dough which is the way my mom used to make them. They are served with a vanilla sauce and/ or applesauce or with fruit compote - fruit like plums or cherries canned in water or a light syrup.
In the western part of Germany the dumplings are steamed in salted water and served with roast or other savory dishes.
Prepare a yeast dough:
Sieve flour into a bowl. Make a deep dent in the center of the flour "hill". Crumb the yeast into the dent, sprinkle 2 tsp sugar on top of yeast and add 4 Tb of lukewarm milk. Mix the yeast, sugar, and milk with a bit of flour from the rim of the dent into a sponge. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise at a warm place for 15 min till sponge as doubled or tripled in bulk.
Add the remaining sugar, the remaining milk, butter, eggs and salt. Knead into a dough and beat with a wooden spoon till dough pulls away from the bowl and starts to show (large) bubbles. Cover the dough again and let rise for another 15 to 25 min till at least double in bulk.
Form the dough into 6 to 7 dumplings. Put dumplings on floured board, cover and let rise till double in bulk.
To steam the dumplings: Heat the milk with the butter and sugar in a fairly large pot. Put the yeast dumplings into the milk, cover the pot tightly and cook dumplings for 30 min on low heat (below simmering). If your lid does not close tightly wrap a wet towel around pot and lid. Do NOT open pot during that time or the dumplings will fall.
The metric measures are accurate, my conversion into American measures is somewhat rough. I personally find weighing ingredients easier than using the measuring cup system thus I never converted the measures for my own use. If you do not own a scale, check your supermarket for the 1 lb/ 500g diet scales or postal scales. They are about $2, not very exact but do the job for me (till I have the money for a proper one). I even calibrated mine to a small plastic bowl so that I do not have to subtract the weight of the bowl each time I measure something.
I believe a cake of yeast has 25 g of yeast, this is the basis for my conversion.
The original recipe calls for vanilla sugar, vanilla extract is an excellent substitute. I like vanilla, so I do not measure this very exactly but 2 tsp should give you a nice flavor.
Use the most non-stick pot you have. The milk tends to burn very easily at the bottom and if this gets too bad the whole dish is spoiled. My mom swears by her heatproof glass form for this job, which in addition to being non-stick permits to watch the cooking progress. However, make absolutely sure that you use a STOVETOP PROOF form for this; all the (relatively cheap) forms that I have seen so far exclude stovetop use.
This dish can probably be prepared in a microwave (avoids the milk burning at the bottom of the pot), but I do not have any experience with this.