Fruit Knodel

For one reason or another I’ve neglected my blog lately. And I’m ashamed.
I didn’t write a post about decorating Christmas cakes. I didn’t write about the haggis-making on Burns Night or my first attempt of a pasta machine. And I haven’t done a post on the salmon smoker we built on the balcony…

But I’ve missed posting. And most of all, I missing building up the rather convenient online resource of my favourite recipes. Don’t get me wrong – I love cookbooks. The messages in the front, the scribbles by the recipes and the cake splatters on the pages. But the problem is that the book I want is always on the bottom of a jenga-like pile which has grown out of my inability to commit to a bookshelf.

cookbook stack

Aside from post-it noted pages in cookbooks, my other favourite recipes tend to be scrawled on scraps of paper. The kind which often end up in the dustbin. So, even though I’m of those annoying people who still preaches about the importance of “actually being able to hold a book”, and who dug in my heels against the internet until I really couldn’t avoid it any longer….I now appreciate how flipping great it is to be able to type “lemon tart” into the search bar on my blog, and come up with my favourite lemon tart recipe. No books falling on my head, no scrabbling about in the dustbin. Bliss!

So, in the name of preserving recipes, I’m going to launch the re-birth of this blog with a family recipe which I’m very glad that my granny wrote down.

granny knodel recipe

Until very recently, I’d never met anybody who knew what a fruit knodel (ko-ner-dell) was. When I made one for a tutor at school, he told me that “it tasted ok, but it looked like roadkill.”It’s like a funny little family secret. A family oddity. Nobody else I know eats fruit in boiled pastry – and more fool them!

Mum cooks them on special occasions. Or when there’s a surplus of stoned fruit…which I suppose is a special occasion in many ways. Or when we have people who come for supper who are likely to be shocked by such quaint Eastern European ways – who will politely nibble on the quark pastry and sprinkle on a little more sugar as my brother wolfs down his fifth kondel.

Anyway, I digress. My current bout of knodel-making is inspired by the fact that in the past 26 years, I’d never met anybody who had come across this delicacy. That was until I met up with my great friend Karel Kaĉ, who had come over from Slovenia for a weekend in Derbyshire. As we bombed up the M1 on a Friday evening, conversation took a turn toward our favourite Eastern European recipes, and it transpired that Karel is a closet knodel-maker too. Interestingly, the pastry in Karel’s recipe uses potato instead of quark. And he only wraps half the fruit rather than the whole thing – increasing the ratio of pastry to fruit. And he tops the knodel with buttery breadcrumbs. A delicious-sounding addition!

I don’t have Karel’s recipe (but will let you know when/if I get my hands on it) **I now have! Click in the comments below to see Karal’s recipe.** But in the meantime, here’s my recipe. Now it’s online, there’s a far  bigger likelihood that it’ll evade the bin and tumbling bookstacks  long enough for me to pass onto a grandchild one day too!

Fruit Knodel Recipe
(Enough for 12 knodel)

250g quark (cream cheese)
250g plain flour
70g butter
2  egg yolks and 1 egg
Pinch of salt
12  stoned fruit – plums, apricots..etc…

Garnish
Generous dusting of cinnamon
Teaspoon of sugar (per knodel)
Drizzle of melted butter

knodel

  1. Mix the quark and eggs in a bowl
  2. Sift in the flour, and add break in the softened butter
  3. Use a fork to bring it together into a ballpastry on table
  4. Roll the elasticcy pastry into a sheet, and lie out the stoned fruit.plums for knodel
  5. Cut a grid around the fruit, so that each has a square of pastry for it to be wrapped in.
  6. Wrap each fruit up. Place on surface which has been lightly-dusted with flour.
    knodel on a plate
  7. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes.
    knodel in hot water
  8. Serve in a bowl – cut open, with cinnamon, sugar and a drizzle of hot melted butter over each knodel.
    knodel

If you’ve ever cooked fruit knodel, or you know a varient on this recipe, then please do drop me a note below. I was told that the name means ‘stoned fruit wrapped in pastry’ (which I find hard to believe!!) But would love to know more…

Comments

  1. Lulu Smith says

    BRILLIANT. I am SO pleased that you are back to blogging, as it always makes me chuckle.

    Thank you for brightening up my day.

  2. says

    10 minutes is more accurate.
    Thanks Mum!
    I was using Granny’s original recipe as a guide which says “5 minutes” – maybe knodels cooked quicker in Czechoslovakia….

  3. says

    Karel’s Knodel Recipe:

    Ingredients:
    1 kg of boiled potatoes
    10 dag (0,1 kg) of fat – butter or margarine
    2 whole eggs and 1 additional egg yolk
    salt
    30 – 40 dag of flour (must be good flour, otherwise your knodels might decompose – my Aunt wanted to make them in Canada once and it did not work, main suspect was bad flour)

    Procedure:
    Crush the pealed boiled potatoes with a potato crusher, add salt, butter and eggs and gently mix with your hand / spoon / whatever.

    Leave it to cool down a bit and then add flour (I have been told never to exceed the amount of flower in the recipe – less is more in this case) and knead the flour into the potato dough, be gentle and efficient – again less is more – if you knead for too long the dough will become too soft.

    While you are kneading have your plums ready and the water boiling as it is important to boil the knodels as soon as the dough is ready because the dough is not that stable. You boil the knodels for 5-7 min, I think the trick is to wait until they start floating, when they do they are cooked.

    Preparing the plums:
    You put a whole plum in each knodel, you just take out the stone and fill the plum with a mix of sugar and cinnamon.
    The amount of dough you put in each knodel really depends on you, I personally never make the dough layer thicker than 1 / 1,5 cm – i think you cannot really make it thinner than that, because the dough texture does not allow it.

    To put on top
    Heat up butter in a pan and add bread crumbs, cook until they turn brownish. This should not have much liquid butter in the end, the crumbs should suck it all. after you put this on knodels you can add sugar on top if you like
    You can make this recipe with apricots as well, but we never do, plums are just better!

    Eat them fresh and hot!

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