Beloved all over former Czechoslovakia and Hungary dumplings are the national dish. Arriving in Prague, we were treated to a meal of strawberry dumplings by our couchsurfing hosts. Simple and easy to make, I helped our host in the kitchen, measuring ingredients on his grandfather’s old scale before filling them with fresh strawberries.
We normally think of berries as dessert or a side dish in the US, but in the former Austrian empire they are commonly used as filling for dinner dumplings. My first thought was that strawberry dumplings were something like strawberry shortcake. Wrong. Tasty, but light dough filled fruit balls, these dumplings were delicious, but not sweet like a dessert. Served with melted butter and salted cheese grated on top, the dumplings were perfect for a light summer meal.
There are three varieties of dumplings, all of which are so common, I’ll liken them to meatloaf since everyone probably thinks their mom’s is the best! Fruit dumplings, described above, are eaten as a main dish and traditionally are filled with plums or apricots. Bread and potato dumplings on the other hand are eaten as a compliment to a meat dish, like goulash. Unfortunately the bread dumplings I had were rather heavy and bland, only palatable when soaked with goulash. They left me feeling stuffed in an uncomfortable way. Maybe I ate them at the wrong restaurant?
My advice, stick with the fruit dumplings. Here’s a recipe for all you foodies out there from My Favorite Czech Recipe’s Blog:
Fruit Dumplings (with Strawberries)
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 cups strawberries, whole
- 2 teaspoons butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
1.Sift flour, salt, and baking powder.
2.Mix egg and milk and add to dry mixture.
4.Cut dough into several small pieces (large enough to cover two whole berries).
5.Place fruit over flattened dough piece and seal tight around fruit.
6.Place dumplings into boiling water and cook for fifteen minutes, covered.
7.Remove from kettle and place on platter to dry and cool down slightly.
8.Serve with melted butter and cinnamon sugar.