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.

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.

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…

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

  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 ball
  4. Roll the elasticcy pastry into a sheet, and lie out the stoned fruit.
  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.
  7. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes.
  8. Serve in a bowl – cut open, with cinnamon, sugar and a drizzle of hot melted butter over each 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…

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