Food was one of the reasons I enjoyed staying with my grandma. There’s one particular dish that I will always remember. It’s called knedliky and they’re filled with special kind of thick plum jam called povidla and coated with ground poppy seeds and powder sugar. It’s usually eaten as a main course (Czech cuisine has quite a lot of sweet main course dishes). My grandma always prepared her huge ceramic bowl filled with dozens of them and me and my brother used to compete who could eat more.
My grandma’s knedliky are a real comfort food, perfect for winter, perfect for when you’re happy or feeling down. They are fluffy and just enough sweet and even if you aren’t used to sweet dishes as a main course, you can have them as a dessert.
For 6 knedliky although that would be very little for my family:)
For the dough
– 20 g of active yeast
– 125 ml of lukewarm milk
– 150 g of flour (plus more for later)
– pinch of salt
For the filling and topping
– povidla or plum jam
– 1 cup of ground poppy seeds
– 1/2 cup of powder sugar
The active yeast is really important here, it gives the dough this typical smell without which it’s not really knedliky.
The flour should be what we call here semi-coarse or coarse (bigger grain than plain flour) but if you can’t get it in your country, just use plain or all-purpose flour.
Povidla could be a real tough thing to get if you’re not in Central Europe but you can use any thicker plum jam or marmelade (although it’s not quite the same). Let me just explain what it is: Povidla are made from ripe fresh plums, the process takes several hours where you bake the fruit and melt it slowly in a pot. The fruit has to be very very ripe and you don’t add sugar or really very little. The result is a very thick marmelade kind of mass that is absolutely delicious. See the photo to get an idea of what povidla looks like.
Poppy seeds – a very traditional ingredient in the Czech cuisine, we use it a lot, mainly in desserts but also for bread and other pastry. I know poppy seeds are prohibited in some countries because they’re the main ingredient for making opium but I can assure you that you can’t get intoxicated in any way by eating them (or maybe if you eat kilos of them every day but I don’t think that’s humanly possible).
First make the sourdough. Put the lukewarm milk in a bowl and place the yeast in it. You can add half a teaspoon of sugar to help the yeast get active but it’s not necessary. Cover the bowl with a clean rug and let it grow in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Then add the flour and salt and knead until you get smooth and lightly sticky dough (if it’s too sticky even after you work on it actively for at least 5 minutes, add a little flour). Cover the bowl again and let the dough rest until it doubles in volume (30 – 60 minutes).
Sprinkle flour on your working table.
Take small parts of the grown dough (I usually take a full tablespoon) and form it into a small kind of a pancake. Actually, the size of this depends on you, I would say mine fit into my hand.
Put a full teaspoon of povidla in the middle of each pancake.
Close the knedliky pressing the edges of the pancake together.
Turn them upside down and let them rest for another 15 minutes, they will grow a little bit.
Meanwhile prepare the poppy mixture, just mix the seeds with the sugar in a bowl.
Boil a big pot with water. When you place the knedliky in the water, it has to be boiling already.
Close the pot with a lid and boil them for 15 minutes. If you don’t have a lid, boil them for 10 minutes, then turn them around and boil for another 5 minutes.
Take them out and place them immediately in the bowl with the poppy seeds and coat them completely.
And that’s it, you’re done. Knedliky are served hot but they are delicious also cold as long as you coat them with the sugar and poppy seeds while they’re still hot. Enjoy the rest of the photos to work up your appetite!