Sweet in the Main
At first mention, the idea of fruit filled dumplings will likely send your mind to ideas of a sweet dessert to follow up a hearty Czech main dish like svíčkova or moravské vrabec. You could certainly be forgiven for thinking that if you don’t come from a culture that includes some sweet dishes as main meals in their culinary catalog.
Czech cuisine features a number of sweet dishes as main meals, the fruit filled dumpling dish known as “ovocné kynuté knedlíky” is one of the best known of them and a staple in restaurants across the country. It’s also a favorite in many Czech households, with family recipes being closely guarded and handed down through generations.
This is a dish that has been with the Czechs for quite some time. The first known written recipe for it dates to the 17th century and it probably goes back further than that.
Heavy and Hearty
There are a number of regional variations on ovocné kynuté knedlíky, but all are very filling and a main meal in their own right. They are also flexible to the time of day as a meal with some people taking them as breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack.
I can tell you from my own experience with this dish, you won’t be hungry afterward and proabably will wish to delay dessert if not bypass it completely.
Unlike many savoury Czech meals, I would not recommend taking beer as an accompaniment to fruit dumplings. However, a cup of good quality coffee does follow this dish up nicely.
Variations on a Theme
In most cases, the dumpling part of this dish is based on yeast dough. However, some variations use potato based dough.
The filling for the dumplings can be quite variable, some typical fillings include: plums, apricots, blueberries, strawberries or cherries. Very often, the filling is dependant on what fruit is in season at the time. In late spring, for example, rhubarb can sometimes be seen as an option for filling.
The topping options for the dumplings also show a lot of variety. At the most basic level, the dumplings may simply be served with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar over them. Other topping options include: fruit sauce, cream, cinnamon, poppy seeds or grated tvaroh cheese.
Making Your Own and Learning More
You don’t need to travel to the Czech Republic or have a Czech specialist restaurant near you to enjoy ovocné kynuté knedlíky. Like many Czech recipes, it involves more preparation than some people like to put into a meal. However, it is very possible to make it yourself if you’re willing to try. Just make sure you use fresh fruit, frozen or canned fruit will ruin the dumpling part by making it soggy.
If you’d like to know more about the history of this dish and where it fits into Czech cuisine, this article will tell you more.