Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 45-Czech Republic(Prague)(EU):Blueberry Fruit Dumplings (Svestkove Knedliky)

I love dessert -  I love everything about it. Starting with the culinary tradition of having to waiting for it till after a good meal, to the sugary anticipation of sweetness on my tongue to the presentation of a spectacular confection.  And, I especially love desserts that include fruit.

If you're wondering, as I was,  about the history of dessert, it turns out that as far back as 3000 BC,  people enjoyed a piece of fruit, possibly dipped in honey for dessert - except the Chinese who are credited with inventing ice cream.  In the Middle Ages, sugar began to be manufactured, however the cost was so prohibitive as to be used mostly by the wealthy classes. Vanilla and cinnamon, two of my favorite flavors, were first used by the Mexicans who learned how to sweeten both to use in desserts. To learn more about specific desserts and their beginning, I suggest the following link:

Czech desserts (moučníky) come in many varieties and tend to be heavy and fatty because butter (máslo) and whipped cream (šlehačka) are often used. I decided I might just as well go for broke and make blueberry dumplings since the fruit is currently in season. I also decided to make a strawberry glaze to top off this rich dessert. I already know I'm going to have to run 3 extra miles to work off the calories...but there's no such thing as "dumplings lite" - and even if there were, it would go against my die hard dessert philosophy: Go big or go home.

Czech Republic(Prague)(EU):  About the size of Virginia, the Czech Republic's topography is made of low mountains to the north and south and hills to the west. Czech ethenic groups are primarily Czech, followed by Slovak, Roma, Silesian, Polish, German, Urkrainian and Vietnamese. For those interested in learning more about this country's rich history:

Behold - the assemblage of blueberry dumplings!

Combine egg, milk and melted butter

Sift flour onto counter surface, make a well and pour egg mixture into center to combine

Kneed dough
Place about 4 blueberries in the center of each piece of dough, and wrap snuggly around the fruit to seal

Pull off little pieces, shape the dough around the blueberries and seal well

The dumplings, ready to be cooked

Strawberries simmering in sugar and water to make glaze
Ready to go!

Drop dumplings into boiling water for 8 minutes

Remove from boiling water and brush with melted butter

Dust with poppy seeds and powdered sugar, add strawberry glaze and blueberries

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmm....Sweet, summery and tasty

Fruit Dumplings (Svestkove Knedliky)
2 cups flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
Mix egg with butter and milk. Add salt. Sift flour on a board and add first mixture, kneading until smooth. Cut dough into small pieces and wrap evenly around the fruit (make sure to pre-pit your fruit!). Seal well all around. Drop dumplings in a large pan of boiling salted water and cook for about 8 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove from water immediately, sprinkle with melted butter and keep in a colander over hot water until ready to serve. Arrange on a platter, sprinkle with some more melted butter and sugar. Crumbled pot cheese, ground poppy seed or bread crumbs fried in butter can be used for topping.

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