PL: Knedle ze Śliwkami
In this post, you’ll find a recipe and tips for making a popular classic – knedle ze śliwkami.
They’re soft potato-based dumplings filled with juicy plums, served warm with a dollop of fresh cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Knedle will make a nice late-summer dinner (or a warm dessert). Have a go, your babcia would approve!
I won’t lie to you – it took me 3 or 4 attempts to get these plum dumplings right. I followed a traditional recipe to a tee, and yet I kept on encountering more difficulties as I went along.
First time round, the dough was too sticky. Adding more flour didn’t help. In fact – it made it worse.
Second time, the dumplings have disintegrated while cooking. I ended up with a few cooked plums and some floating pieces of dough. Third time was so bad on so many levels, that I won’t even list them here (too embarrassing really).
So I asked my favourite uncle for advice (you might know him, it’s uncle Google 😎). And… the enlightenment struck. There was so much I didn’t know! I’ve implemented all the tips I read online and the results were… delicious. Surprisingly so.
So let me share with you some quick tricks on how to handle this knedle-making business. This way you’ll make it a smooth & tasty operation 👍.
How to Make Perfect Plum Dumplings (and Not Go Nuts In The Process)
Scan through the tips below. They’ll help you stay out of trouble. The full recipe is at the bottom of the post.
Pick the Right Potatoes
To make the best knedle ever, opt-in for “floury”, starchy potatoes:
- In Poland, we call them “type C” potatoes. The exact names are listed here (under “mączysty” at the bottom).
- In the US: Russet, Idaho or Yukon gold potatoes should work well.
- In the UK, select one of those: King Edward, Marabel, Russett, Vivaldi.
- Australia: Coliban, King Edward, Pontiac.
Spuds 🥔 listed above are prone to flake and to separate easily when boiled (which is a good thing!). With waxy potatoes, the dough is more difficult to form and you might get some unwanted lumps & bumps.
Pick the Right Plums
What we need is an extra-juicy plum in peak season, when it’s perfectly ripe.
In Poland, we use węgierka, a small type of an European common plum. You’ll recognize it by its dusky skin of mottled purple and yellow. When cut, the fruit inside has a rich golden hue.
But fear not – any stone fruit will do the trick, as long as it isn’t too large. I’ve seen these small plums variously referred to as: French Plums, Sugar Plums, Damsons, Blackthorns.
Get the Timing Right
For best results, cook the potatoes the day before and then pass them through a potato ricer.
‼ Don’t use warm, freshly boiled potatoes! The dough will end up runny. Even if you manage to form knedle with it – they’ll taste weird.
Once the potato-based dough is prepared, the dumplings must be stuffed immediately. If the dough is set aside for too long, its consistency becomes thinner.
Timing is super-duper important. Drop knedle into a pot of salted boiling water and cook for 10-25 minutes (depending on their size and filling) on a very low heat – so that they’re barely cooking at all:
- During this time, the water mustn’t boil, otherwise the dumplings will fall apart.
- When the water starts bubbling, lower the temperature with 💧 a few drops of cold water.
Cool Tip: Want to make your knedle extra-special? Enrich the cooking water. Add a pinch of vanilla sugar, a piece of vanilla pod or a glass of rum.
When ready, remove cooked dumplings with a slotted spoon and drain the excess water. Don’t wait, these plumalicious dumplings should be served immediately. If they stay in the water-bath for too long, they get sad & soggy.
Newbie Tip: Before you’ll become a total pro in knedle-making, do a quick test before removing all the knedle from the pot. Take one dumpling out first, and check if it has cooked already:
Cut the dumpling in half 👉 If the inside is dry and plump, that means they’re done. You can safely remove them all and serve.
- 2 cups (250g) flour
- 3/4 cup (250g) cooked potatoes
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp sour cream
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp (20 g) butter
- 2.2 lb (1 kg) small plums
- 3 tbsp (60 g) butter
- 5 tbsp (60 g) sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) cream
- a pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- Peel the potatoes, cook them for 20 minutes until soft.
- Cool them completely, ideally overnight. Once cooled, force potatoes through a potato press.
- Add butter, flour, egg, cream and salt. Knead well, adding a bit of water if necessary.
- Form the dough into small walnut-sized pieces. Flatten each dough ball and wrap it around a pitted plum.
- When ready, boil a large pot of water. Drop dumplings in, wait for them to float. Once they float, cook for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the water. Serve with melted butter and sweetened cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- I found this recipe in "Jak gotować: praktyczny poradnik kucharski z 1930 roku" ("How to Cook: A Practical Cooking Guide from 1930") cookbook by Maria Disslowa. 1988 edition, page 338.
- Tips: "Lane, leniwe, śląskie" book by Hanna Szymanderska, published by: Prószyński i S-ka. 2001 edition.
- More tips (in Polish): "Knedle ze śliwkami" Dzień Dobry TVN.
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