Plum Dumplings (Slivkové Knedle)

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Ingredients: milk (0.25L), flour (300g), 1 egg, 5 plums, salt, butter (quarter stick), powdered sugar, poppy seeds
Prep time: about an hour

My favorite thing to do in Slovakia is to visit my grandma for her not-so-healthy, but really delicious home cooking. She makes an awesome chicken noodle soup, langoše (fried dough), and various filled rolls. But my favorite are the plum dumplings topped with melted sugar and poppy seeds, slivkové knedle. I figured I’ll try making these. This was my first attempt at making these guys, and they turned out to be little bit more complicated than I had anticipated. But in the end, everything worked out. I did not end up with the most beautiful dumplings, but they were delicious!

The first complication was obtaining poppy seeds (these are used as topping). My local grocery store was out of the little jars that you can find in the spices section, so I stopped by some Indian spice shop. There I did find a huge bag of poppy seeds. But there was a problem – they were white! I asked the clerk if he had any black ones, and he responded saying that he has never heard of such thing as black poppy seeds. I found this really strange, since to me poppy seeds come in only one color: black. We went back and forth few times, until I pointed out that some bagels have black poppy seeds on them. I eventually ended up getting them in another grocery store, in the spices section.


The other issue was getting plums. Again, my grocery store carried two types: larger reddish ones, and smaller black ones, called California plums. On the other hand, the plums that grow in Slovakia (Damson plums) are blue in color and slightly oval shaped. I ended up using the California plums, since they were closer in shape and texture. That said, let’s cook!

milk with butter flour
The dumplings are made from a special dough called odpaľované cesto. This loosely means “burned-off dough”. You start by combining milk, a quarter stick of butter and a little bit of salt in a pot and bringing everything to boil. Then SLOWLY stir in about 3/4 of the flour. I accidentally dumped in all the flour at once and ended up with many clumps.

keep stirring dough
Keep stirring with the heat on until the dough becomes thick. The dough should probably be thicker than what I am showing here on the right, because I had to add much more flour in the next step than suggested by the recipe. Remove from heat and let cool.

plums with pits removed
While the dough is cooling, remove pits from the plums. I used a spoon to scoop them out while leaving most of the plum intact. Also put a large pot full of water on the stove.

dough with egg odpalovane dough
Now, according to the original recipe, you mix in one large egg and the remaining flour. However, my dough was still way too sticky, and I ended up adding in perhaps another 150g of flour.

dough on wooden board rolled out dough
Next dust a large board with flour and transfer the dough loaf onto it. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a thin sheet about a millimeter thick.

uncooked plum dumplings cooking dumplings
It’s time to make the dumplings! Cut out squares of dough and use them to tightly wrap each plum. Remove any remaining dough – you want to end up with a smooth dough ball. My first few dumplings didn’t work out too well, but I got better at it as I went along. Drop the dumplings into boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Dumplings will float to the top when done.

ground poppy seeds melted butter
In the mean time, grind up the poppy seeds. If you don’t have a grinder, you can use a mortar and pestle, like I did.  Also melt little bit of butter.

strain them
Scoop out and strain the dumplings…

Slovak plum dumplings
Cover with poppy seeds, powdered sugar and top with a spoonful of melted butter. Some people use ground cinnamon instead of poppy seeds. Or you can use crushed walnuts. The dumplings are delicious either way. Enjoy! For other Slovak treats, see the sweet treats category.