You may be surprised, but maths CAN help design a better dumpling.

Do you like apricot dumplings? A chicken dumpling is good, right? How about a macadamia dumpling? All these dumplings sound good by themselves, but together they’re even better.

Here’s how I tested the theory…

Venn diagram dumpling

The perfect size for a meal for one

Ingredients

Three circles of pastry arranged as a Venn diagram

Arrange the circles of pastry so they overlap on the tray. Use the cutter to gently press the borders into the pastry.

  • 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry
  • Chicken mince
  • Small tub diced apricots in syrup
  • 1 tbsp finely diced macadamias
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Egg

Method

  1. Set the oven to 200 °C.
  2. Line a tray with baking paper.
  3. Fry the chicken mince, until just undercooked. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drain the apricots, then use a fork to further crush the diced apricots in a cup.
  5. Mix the macadamias and honey in a separate cup.
  6. Thaw the shortcrust pastry.

    All three fillings in the appropriate parts of the Venn diagram dumpling.

    Add the fillings to the appropriate parts of the Venn diagram dumpling.

  7. Cut the pastry into 6 x 10 cm rounds using a cutter.
  8. On the baking tray, overlap three rounds as they would appear in a Venn diagram (set diagram).
  9. Use the cutter to press lightly on each of the circles, so you can see the boundaries of each circle, without cutting through.
  10. Pop a little of the macadamia filling inside each of the places available in the first circle.
  11. Repeat with a little apricot inside each of the places in the second circle. There will be points where you will begin to mix the two fillings.
  12. Repeat with some chicken filling inside each of the places in the third circle. There will be points where two fillings mix and one point in the centre where all of the fillings mix!

    Finished Venn diagram dumpling

    The finished dumpling!

  13. Place the remaining three pastry circles directly over the bottom three pastry circles.
  14. Seal the pastry with gentle pressure from the cutter over each of the three circles. Then, use your fingers to press shut the outside edges.
  15. Gently score the pastry with a knife, so steam can escape while cooking.
  16. Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg.
  17. Cook the Venn diagram dumpling in the oven until golden brown.

Each part of the dumpling is good, as the ingredients work together at each intersection, but the very best is where all the ingredients mix in the centre. To make an awesome dumpling, it turns out that all I needed to do was apply an aspect of maths comedian Simon Pampena’s ‘Fame algorithm’. It goes something like this: if you have things you like, combining them makes them even better! Genius.

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4 responses »

  1. This is so clever! I love it.

  2. I got to talk about this blog post on the new Helix @ CSIRO blog! http://csirohelixblog.com/2012/10/11/dumpling-maths

  3. […] Bravo, Melissa. We’d love to see a Venn diagram cake from you. (Turns out someone has already attempted Venn diagram quiche and pizza, and even a dumpling.) […]

  4. […] Bravo, Melissa. We’d love to see a Venn diagram cake from you. (Turns out someone has already attempted Venn diagram quiche and pizza, and even a dumpling.) […]

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