17 Jul 2009

Seasonal treat

July is the month of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, apricots and other lovely delights. You can eat them fresh or turn them into an ingredient of one of the most delicious Czech specialities, ovocné knedlíky, fruit dumplings.

The other day, when I was on my way to take the bus back home, I got a text message from my wife asking me to buy hard tvaroh (curds). I didn't really feel like going to the shop, so I asked her if it couldn't wait until noon the next day. She said it couldn't because we were going to have ovocné knedlíky for dinner. I did go to the shop as fast as my legs could carry me and bought a pack.

That day the in-laws had come y my mother in law (Czech mums in law are the best!) left a nice bunch of knedlíky filled with home grown apricots.

There are two kinds of dough for these dumplings: a yeasty one and one made with curds. We like the latter better, it's lighter and tastier. The recipe is very easy, too.

Ovocné Knedlíky (serves some people)

For the dough:
250g soft tvaroh (curds), ricotta cheese can also be used, I guess.
semi meal flour
1 egg
a pinch of salt
a dash of milk

For the filling:
Whole fruits, no need to take the stone of, for example, the apricots. You can make them savoury, too, filling them with smoked meat, cheese, etc. Let your imagination run wild!

On a kneading board put the flour, add the rest of the ingredients and mix. It's better to use less flour at the beginning and then add more if necessary. Once you get a nice, uniform dough, let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Take some of the dough and shape it into a disk a tad bigger than the palm of one hand. Put the fruit in the middle (with a spoon, if you are using berries), wrap it and make a ball with it. Cook the dumplings in boiling water for about 10 minutes, fish them out and put them in a covered container so they won't get cold too fast.

There are many options for toppings to serve them. You can use wipped cream, chocolate chips or sause, poppy seeds, ground nuts or almonds, fruit sauce, etc. We topped them with melted butter, a bit of sugar and crumbled hard tvaroh.
We sat to enjoy the knedlíky on the terrace of our garden. It had been awfully hot that day, but at that time it was already very pleasant to sit outside for a tasty treat. I washed them down with Primátor Weizenbier. It was a great pairing. The dough, the melted butter and the crumbled tvaroh worked very well with the body of the beer while the slight tartness of the stewed apricots brought forward its fruitier side. It worked so well that I was able to wolf down seven or eight knedlíky without any problem.

I think any white wheat beer will be a good pairing and, considering what Boak & Bailey said recently, a good sourish spontaneously fermented beer, with or without fruit, would sure be a great accompaniment if the knedlíky are filled with berries.

Na Zdraví! a Dobrou Chuť!

3 comments:

  1. yummy, my most favourite desert :) although at home we make it with potato dough, the same one as for gnocchi, but it is still delicious.

    This recipe looks much more simpler, I must give it a try :) Although I think I've tried it once when I was in Prague last summer.

    Can you post sometimes a recipe for yeasty version, I'd like to try that also sometimes :)

    Wheat beer sounds really like a good choice for pairing.

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  2. Here they use the potatoe dough for another one of my favourite meals, plněné knedlíky. Potatoe knedlíky filled with smoked meat and served with cabbage and fried onion. Few things can beat that.

    I still have to try this dough with some savoury filling, but I'm sure it will be really good.

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  3. I tried potatoed knedliky filled with smoked meat and cabbage in Prague, and it was delicious.

    I guess in Croatia we use the potato dough because of the italian influence, or maybe even hungarian (I read somewhere about that).

    But they are delicious in every combination, especially when washed with good beer :)

    I guess this dough is also good with savoury filling as you suggested, for me somehow, tvaroh (or any similar kind of fresh cheese) has natural affection with both sweet and savoury ingredients.

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