Every August, it’s tradition to hunt down some Italian plums and serve up these traditional Czech culinary delights. There’s just something about the warm, sticky potato dumpling teamed with the sweet and buttery topping that burst when you slice through them with a fork. Serve them as a picnic side, a dessert–or, who am I to judge–spoil yourself and eat them as a main course!
Last year, the girls got in on the action and helped Grandma Diane measure out the instant potatoes (we used Hungry Jack); or, you could also use mashed potatoes (I’m just not sure of the ratio since we always do it this way, lol.)
The recipe is really easy to remember, because it’s one of everything: 1 cup of instant potatoes, 1 cup of cold water, 1 tsp. of salt, 1 egg and 1 cup of flour. HOWEVER, you can’t take after me and just throw it into a bowl. There is a trick to making sure they stick together, and that’s letting the water, potatoes and salt set up before adding the egg, then the flour (you want the dough as an end result to be a tad sticky.)
The Italian plums come in and out of season quickly, so if you see them in your local grocery store, make sure to buy those precious, little centerpiece masterpieces in that moment before they become too ripe and mushy to use! We got lucky to find these in September and made them work.
When you serve these, you can stick them in a crock pot to keep them warm. They are meant to be enjoyed with a spoonfuls of butter and then sugar, and/or ground poppyseeds. I pass on the poppyseeds; Jeremy grew up with them and is also a fan of poppyseed kolaches (which works out lovely, and leaves more cherry and rhubarb kolaches for me!)
Here is a picture of the poppyseed grinders. These babies have been used a time or two.
The first time I made these on my own they turned into plum dumpling soup because I am impatient and threw all the ingredients together and probably didn’t measure out the potato flakes, making them fall apart. This was not a case of beginners luck, and unlike my first kolaches were actually pretty uneatable. Hey, I’m learning though and have some pretty great teachers when it comes to all the traditional Czech recipes. Jeremy’s grandma Amy taught me how to make kolaches, his mom taught me plum dumplings and my maternal Czech grandma is a master at sauerkraut mixed with traditional dumplings. Let me know if you try them and if anyone has any thoughts about using actual potatoes. My current thought is when something seems so very right, there’s no need to try to unset the balance and goodness. Enjoy!
Bohemian Plum Dumplings
- Large pot for boiling
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Small glass bowls (3)
- Large strainer spoon
- 1 cup instant potatoes
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup flour
- Rinse 10-12 plums in the strainer.
- Slice them open, half-way, down the middle and remove the pit.
- Fill the cavity with a spoonful of sugar and set aside.
- Mix the instant potatoes, cold water and salt.
- Once that sets up, mix in the egg.
- Then, add the cup of flour.
- Use your hands to roll out the dough into a long, snake-like rope.
- Slice/section the dough into 10-12 pieces.
- Flatten each piece into a circle.
- Place the plum in the center and seal by pinching it closed.
- Then, gently roll them into a ball.
- Carefully drop them into boiling water for about 8 minutes (or until they float).
- Remove with a large strainer spoon.
- Serve with sides of melted butter, sugar/cinnamon and ground poppyseeds (I'll attach a picture of what the poppyseed grinder looks like.)