The Dumpling Page


Looking for the essence of the dumpling, in their most basic form dumplings are cooked dough in the shape of balls, cylinders or pockets.

Uzbek manti

Tamal from Oaxaca, Mexico
Under this definition that dumplings are basically cooked dough with or without a filling, dumplings are indeed a global phenomenon, existing all over the world and eaten in every culture. In a global perspective, these include tamales from Central America; Dim Sum, wontons and baozi dumplings from China; manti from Central Asia and Turkey; pelmeni dumplings from Russia; momo dumplings from Nepal; gyoza from Japan; fufu from West Africa; samosa from India, etc. Dumplings are all around us!

Czech apricot dumpling

Fried Chinese wonton
Dumplings are as diverse as humanity. As different as these two may appear, they are still dumplings. Dumplings transcend cultures! Dumplings can be sweet or savory; the dough can be made from flour, potatoes or bread. If there is a filling, it can be meat, seafood, vegetables, fruit or sweets. Dumplings can be boiled, steamed, simmered, fried, or baked. Some dumplings are solid pieces of dough (i.e. gnocchi, Spätzle, or bread dumplings), others are meatballs with a dough cover (i.e. wontons,

Italian potato gnocchi

Czech potato dumplings
filled with ground smoked pork
smoked-pork potato dumplings, or fruit dumplings). Dumplings can be eaten by themselves (i.e. wontons), in soups (i.e. in liver-dumpling soup), or as a side-dish with meat and sauces (i.e. goulash, svíčková pot-roast, roasted dusk or pork with sauerkraut).

Apicius, a 2000-year-old Roman cookbook
with a recipe for dumplings.
Dumplings are certainly an old dish. There is archeological evidence from Switzerland that dumplings made from cereal, flour and water, shaped by hand and baked existed already 3600 years BC. The oldest written reference in the Western world is in the Roman cookbook Apicius, written in the late 4th or early 5th century AD, and named after Marcus Gavius Apicius, a Roman gourmet and lover of refined luxury who lived sometime in the 1st century AD, during the reign of Emperor Tiberius. During the Middle Ages, in Central Europe, the dumpling meant a small ball or oval made of meat or bread dough, which was fried.

In this essay, we will leave the more exotic Asian and Meso-American dumpling varieties for another time, and focus instead on Europe. Dishes falling under the definition of dumplings include:

  • Ravioli - filled pasta dumplings, composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough; most commonly filled with ricotta cheese and spinach and served with tomasto sauce; originating in in the 14th century in Venice and in Tuscany
  • Tortellini, Tortelloni and Capeletti - filled pasta dumpling, composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough, shaped into a ring; Tortellini and their larger relative the Tortelloni originate from the northern Italian region of Emilia and are traditionally stuffed with a mix of local meats or cheese; Cappelletti originate from teh region of Romagna and are filled only with cheese,
  • Gnocchi - small Italian dumplings made from semolina flour, wheat flour, finely-grated potatoes or bread crumbs; dating back to Roman times,
  • Zillertaler Krapfen - deep-fried half-circles from Tirol resembling Ravioli, but filled with typical Tyrolean items such as potatoes, mountain cheese, quark, chives, salt and pepper,
  • Maultaschen - anotehr Ravioli-like pasta dumpling, but larger; filled with minced smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions, and flavored with pepper, parsley and nutmeg,
  • Spätzle - small lumps of flour and egg dough boiled in water, originating from Austria and southern Germany, bearing an evolutionary resemblance to the Italian Gnocchi,
  • Halušky - the same as potato gnocchi in Italy (Gnocchi di patate), but originating from Slovakia,
  • Nokedli - the Hungarian equivalent to the Austrian Spätzle,

Bavarian Bread Dumpling

Czech Bread Dumplings
and the wide variety of bread and potato dumplings from Austria, the Czech Republic and Germany:

  • Tyrolean Bread Dumplings (called Canederli in the Italian part of Tyrol) - round, tennis-ball size,
  • Tyrolean Lard Dumplings (Tiroler Speckknödel) - round, tennis-ball size,
  • Bavarian Potato Dumplings (Bayrische Semmelknödel) - round, tennis-ball size,
  • Bavarian Bread Dumplings (Bayrische Kartoffelknödel) - round, tennis-ball size,
  • Czech Bread Dumplings (Houskové knedlíky) - slices of a long, salami-thickness cylinder,
  • Czech Potato Dumplings (Bramborové knedlíky) - slices of a long, salami-thickness cylinder,
  • Czech Raised Dumplings (Kynuté houskové knedlíky) - slices of a long, salami-thickness cylinder,
  • Czech Lard Dumplings (Špekové knedlíky) - round, tennis-ball size,
  • Karlsbad Dumplings (Karlovarský knedlík) - slices of a long, salami-thickness cylinder,
  • Serviettenknödel (called Vídeňský knedlík in the Czech Republic) round, tennis-ball size or a long cylinder, sliced,
  • Potato dumplings stuffed with ground pork (Bramborové knedlíky plněné uzeným masem) - round, golf-ball size,
  • Czech Chlupaté knedlíky - gnocchi-size lumps,
  • Czech Sýrové knedlíky (cheese dumplings) - round, tennis-ball size,
  • Játrové knedlíky (Leberknödel) - round, golf- to tennis-ball size, used in beef broth.

Not to be omitted are the Austrian and Czech sweet fruit dumplings:

  • Appricot dumplings (Marillenknödel in Austria, Meruňkové knedlíky in the Czech republic) - round, between a golf ball and a tennis ball in size; in Austria, made with with either potato dough, cream puff pastry or curd-cheese dough, served coated in browned bread crumbs, and sprinkled with powdered sugar (Wachauer Marillenknödel); in the Czech Republic mostly made of flour dough (although a potato-dough variety also exists) and topped with melted butter, sugar and grated curd-cheese),
  • Strawberry Dumplings (Jahodové knedlíky) - round, between a golf ball and a tennis ball in size; made of flour dough and topped with melted butter, sugar and grated curd-cheese),
  • Blueberry Dumplings (Borůvkové knedlíky) - round, between a golf ball and a tennis ball in size; made of flour dough and topped with melted butter, sugar and grated curd-cheese),
  • Plum-Stew Dumplings (Powidlknödel, Povidlové knedlíky) - round, between a golf ball and a tennis ball in size; with a filling of Powidl (or povidla), a plum stew from Austria and the Czech Republic; differs from jam or marmalade in that it is prepared without additional sweeteners or gelling agents).

Bavarian bread dumplings.

Czech bread dumplings.
Dumplings, Knödel or knedlíky are to Central Europe what pasta is to Italy, or tortillas are to Mexico. Originally peasant food from Germany, Czech Republic and Austria, dumplings are a staple throughout that part of the world (and great pub grub!).

Banner U Glaubiců in Prague.
In this essay, we present a collection of our favorite Austrian, Czech, German, Italian and Swiss dumpling recipes, with a little bit of history thrown in. This is by far not an all-encompassing collection - just the ones we like. These are recipes we have collected over the years, and we try to be as authentic as possible. It needs to kept in mind that, while it is interesting to taste cuisine in its original and traditional form, many of these recipes are not exactly healthy by present-day standards. For example, a plate of Czech fruit dumplings topped with melted butter, sugar, and curd has anough calories to choke a mule (over 1100, to be precise). Depending on your attitude toward high cholesterol and heart disease, use discretion...

There appear to be two distinct lineage families within the European dumpling population. The first one is the Italian family, which includes two subgroups: solid small pasta-dumplings such as Gnocchi, Spätzle, Halušky and Nokedli, and filled pasta-dumplings such as Ravioli, Tortellini, Tortelloni, Capeletti, Tyrolean Krapfen, and Schwabian Maultaschen. The second family are the Central European dumplings, big, either round or long and cylindrical, filled or unfilled, consisting of bread dumplings, potato dumplings, and raised dumplings.

The Roman Empire at its greatest
extent in 117 AD.
Within the Italian family, the first subgroup obviously evolved from Gnocchi, which existed already during the times of the Roman Empire. Gnocchi are probably of Middle Eastern origin, but in Europe they owe their spread to the Roman army. Gnocchi were introduced by the Roman legions during the expansion of the empire. This included countries on both sides of the Alps such as modern-day Croatia (Njoki); Austria, Germany and Switzerland (Spätzle); Slovakia (Halušky); Hungary (Nokedli); France Gnocchi de tantifla a la nissarda in southern France, etc. During the past 2,000 years, each country developed its own specific type of the small dumpling, with the ancient Gnocchi as their common ancestor.

Reenactment of Legio XV "Apollinaris".
In Roman times, Gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs. They are still found in similar forms today, such as the oven-baked Gnocchi alla Romana. The use of potato is a relatively recent innovation, dating after the introduction of the potato from the New World to Europe in the 16th century.

"The Vitruvian Man"
by Leonardo da Vinci.
The second subgroup, the filled pasta-dumplings, appeared during the Renaissance in progressive and cosmpopolitan cities such as Venice, Florence, Bologna and Modena, which provided a fertile ground for arts, sciences - and also trade. It is our hypothesis that the influence behind the filled pasta-dumplings may have come from the Orient, as they generally resemble Chinese wontons or Indian samosas.

Venetian and Genoan trade routes.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the key trading hubs where European and Oriental products were being exchanged included the cities of Trebizond (modern-day Trabzon, Turkey), Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), Asiatic Tripoli (modern-day Lebanon), Antioch (modern-day Turkey), Beirut (modern-day Lebanon), and Alexandria (modern-day Egypt). Venice, having defeated Genoa in 1380 for the control of Mediterranean/Asiatic commerce, in partnership with Egypt, dominated the Oriental trade coming via the Indian Ocean and Red Sea to Alexandria. The Republic of Venice was Europe’s first great colonial empire, founded not upon some abstract ideology but on money and trade, held together by naval power. It was governed from the Doge’s palace by a councils of nobles, and a hard-working secretariat that recorded every transaction and decision, every judgment and decree of the state.

Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in Venice.
Venice had a virtual monopoly of some Oriental products, especially spices. At the same time, Florence had the capital and financed this trade through its Bardi bank in the 14th century, and through the Medici successor in the 15th century. Eastern influences are seen everywhere in Venetian architecture. The Venetian architectural style is a fusion of both Byzantine and Islamic forms overlaying a Latin Christian foundation; the Byzantine and Islamic architecture of the St. Mark’s Basilica, or the Islamic influence in the arches of the Ca D’Oro palace. If there was that much Oriental influence on Renaissance-era Venice,

Frozen dumplings in present-day Kazakh supermarket.
that influence certainly included what they ate. Indian samosas, Chinese wontons and Central Asian manti most likely all contributed to the birth of the stuffed pasta-dumplings in Renaissance Italy. Italian chefs combined the idea of filled pasta pockets, with spices imported from the orient such as saffron, pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, and local produce such as cheeses, spinach, sage etc., and the ravioli and tortellini were born. .

Italian Ravioli.

Kyrgyz Samosas.
Such cross-pollinations are common in food history. When several cultures merge, new dishes develop in part by introducing existing dishes from the old country, and in part by substituting local ingredients and cooking techniques available in the new country. Just like the Spanish Paella developed into the Jambalaya when the Spanish took over Louisiana in 1763, or the Hungarian Gulyás became Wiener Saftgulasch in the second half of the 19th century, we see a similar connection between Asian filled dumplings and these Italian filled pasta-dumplings.

Once Ravioli and Tortellini became established in Tuscany and Venice, it is not difficult to imagine their spread throughout Europe. Italy has always been the focal point of fashion. Good food, good music, and good art always comes from Italy. With so many noble families

The Belvedere in Prague, designed by the Italian architect Paolo della
Stella, built 1538-1565.

Kolowrat Palace in Prague, designed and built in
1716 by Jan Blažej Santini, a Czech of Italian
descent, and Matthias Bernhard Braun, an Austrian.
with Italian ties owning estates in various countries north of the Alps (and those without such ties emulating them), Italian culture, architecture, lifestyle and food propagated to the Austrian Empire and to the various German countries throghout the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical periods. The Mirabell Palace and the Residenzplatz in Salzburg; the Wallenstein Palace, the Belvedere, the Clam-Gallas Palace, the Ledeburg Gardens, the Troja chateau, the Archbishop's Palace, and the Thun-Hohenstein Palace in Prague; the Schloss Belvedere

Hofburg Palace in Vienna, designed by Italian arcitects Filiberto
Luchese, and Lodovico Burnacini and Martino and Domenico
Carlone, Lukas von Hildebrandt (an Austrian of Italian descent),
and the Austrian architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach.

Thun-Hohenstein Palace in Prague, designed
and built in 1609 by Giovanni Antonio Canevalli,
an Italian living in Bohemia, and Jean Baptiste
Mathey, a Frenchman.
Palace and the Hofburg Palace in Vienna are all grand masterpieces of Italian Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles. Just as wealthy people in the Habsburg Empire adopted and built Italian architecture, they also adopted Italian food. The Cotoletta alla Milanese and the Wienerschnitzel are examples of one such cross-pollination, and Ravioli and Maultaschen, and Gnocchi and Spätzle are another.

So far, so good. This explains the first family of European dumplings: those that in one way or another came from Italy. The other family are the Central European "big dumplings" that originated in Austria, Bavaria, Bohemia and Tyrol. These include the various forms of flour and potato dumplings (the round Speckknödel, Semmelknödel) and Kartoffelknödel, and the sliced Houskové knedlíky, Bramborové knedlíky and Karlovarský knedlík), as well as the Jewish Matzah balls (kneydl, knaidel or kneidel). Not to be forgotten are the sweet dumplings such as Marillenknödel (aprisot dumplings), Jahodové knedlíky (strawberry dumplings) and Powidlknödel (plum-stew dumplings).

In her recent paper, Professor Jennifer Jordan from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee suggested that the origins of bread dumplings lie in Bohemia, the western part of the Czech Republic adjacent to Germany. She suggests that various dumpling histories cite the centrality of Bohemia as a dumpling ground-zero, from which Central European dumpling culture radiated outward. At the same time, Hannes Etzlstorfer writes in the 2006 book "Küchenkunst und Tafelkultur" that the classic dumpling province is Tyrol, with its great variety of bacon, spinach, and cheese that are used as a side dish and eaten in soup. Both are correct, because at the time these dumplings originated, this was all one country.

Dumping fest in Upper Austria.
In 2005, the state of Upper Austria held a press conference with the heading “The Dumpling Represents Upper Austria on the Plate”, and started a commercial campaign, which is now in its 10th year, to boost tourism and give Upper Austria a culinary identity. Italy is associated with pizza, India with curry, Texas has the chili; Upper Austria will have the dumpling. Based on some archaeological sources suggesting that dumpling-like food was being prepared in the area 3000 years ago, but mainly on the vast variety of dumpling recipes found in Upper Austria, the campaign asserts that it is Upper Austria that is the homeland of the Central European dumpling. "Oberösterreich - the Kingdom of the Dumpling! There is hardly any other country where dumplings are equally diverse as in Oberösterreich. They combine the diversity of the country in all flavors from sweet to sour, from vegetables to meat, from the main course to the side dish, dumplings are an fixture on the plate." The campaign has done a good job assembling a vast variety of dumpling recipes found in this part of the world: from the usual bread dumplings (Semmelknödel) and potato dumplings (Erdäpfelknödel) to the more esoteric: wild garlic dumplings, camembert dumplings, egg dumplings (dumpling with a hardboiled egg inside), liver dumplings, lard dumplings, cheese dumplings, semolina dumplings, hash dumplings, pumpkin dumplings; and the sweet varieties of apple dumplings, potato fruit dumplings, and plum dumplings. The various promotion materials reach the public in print form, on television and radio, on the Internet, in cookbooks, public events, and cooking demonstrations at farmers’ markets. They teach how to make dumplings, and spread messages about dumpling history and geography. “The primary realm of the dumpling is Upper Austria and Bavaria, as well as southern Bohemia, Tyrol, and South Tyrol, which also belong, in culinary terms, to the territory of the dumpling.

The dumplings diversity found in Upper Austria is indeed formidable, giving the state its rightful place among dumpling superpowers. The question remains, however, to what extent is this perceived vast variety a function of scouring every local village for grandma's recipes, promoting it and marketing it? Bohemia, Bavaria and Tyrol also lay claim to be the birthplace of the Central European dumpling. It needs to be kept in mind that Austria, Bohemia (western Czech Republic) and Tyrol were one country for several centuries, first under the Habsburg Monarchy and then under the Austrian Empire. Beyond that, all four of these kingdoms were all once part of something even bigger, namely the Holy Roman Empire. It is therefore little surprise that all of the above share a common cultural heritage, which obviously the fodo culture. Common cultural roots, including culinary traditions, run deep in this region. Although languages differ (Czech and various German dialects), this area shares one common cultural foundation. Music, customs, architecture, food are basically identical in Bavaria, Bohemia and Upper Austria, and transcend linguistic and national lines. Indeed there is a much greater cultural difference between Slovakia and Bohemia on the one hand, despite the almost identical languages, than compared between Bohemia and Bavaria or Austria on the other.

Celtic Europe (click to enlarge).
To understand where this cultural foundation came from, it is necessary to look into a bit of history and start with Ancient Rome. During Antiquity, the Alps were a formidable divide that separated two worlds: the Celtic realm north of the Alps from the Roman realm to the south. Celtic culture today is seen as a symbol of serene, idyllic world, but two and a half thousand years ago, the Celtic tribes occupying Central Europe were people who still generally climbed trees, compared to well-to-do Romans in present-day Italy who lived in villas with pools and running water. The Celts were an agrarian society dating back to the Bronze and Iron Ages. They originated in the "Celtic Heartland", the area between the Rhine Rivers,

Reconstruction of a Celtic village near Chrudim,
Czech Republic.

Roman villa in Malta.
from which they spread throughout Europe in the 6th and 5th century BC. They migrated west into modern-day France, Spain and the UK, and east into modern-day Czech Republic (the the Boii). The Celts continued to spread in the coming centuries; modern-day Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia etc. Archaeological evidence indicates that in the 2nd century BC Celts expanded from Bohemia through the Kłodzko Valley into Silesia (modern-day Poland). In 390 BC, they invaded northern Italy and succeeded in making the Etruscan city of Felsina their new capital, Bononia (Bologna). After a series of wars, they were decisively beaten by the Romans in a battle near Mutina (Modena) and their territory became part of the Roman province of Cisalpine Gaul. Throughout the upcoming centuries, the Roman government had periodically deal with the Celtic threat, i.e. the campaign by Julius Caesar in Gaul during 58-51 BC. While the Roman military made progress west of the Alps in the province of Gaul (modern-day northern Italy, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany west of the Rhine), they never made much headway north of the Alps in present-day Austria and Bohemia. Numerous military basis and cities were

Roman military banner.
built by the Roman government, such as Castra Regina (modern-day Regensburg) that was founded as a Roman fort for Legio III Italica in 179 by during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, on the original Celtic settlement of Radasbona. There were many others such as Colonia (Cologne), Bonna (Bonn), Confluentes (Koblenz), Argentoratum (Strasbourg), Moguntiacum (Mainz), Augusta Raurica Augusta Vendelicorum (Augsburg), Vindobona (Vienna), Carnuntum (a large camp between Vienna and Bratislava), Brigetio (Komárno/Komárom), Aquincum (Budapest), Colonia Singidunum (Belgrade). The long northern frontier ran from Mare Germanicum (the North Sea) from the fort of Ad Traiectum (present-day Utrecht), along the Rhenus River (Rhine) to Augusta Raurica near Basel, and then along the Ister River (Danube) to Colonia Singidunum (Belgrade), and through modern-day Romania to the Black sea. However, despite heavy military presence along the border, north of it, the Roman Empire never gained a proper foothold. Military outposts were established, such as Partiscum (Szeged), and Bad Pirawarth, the area north of the frontier remained under tribal control.

Roman Empire in 117 AD (click to enlarge).
By this time, Celtic Boii tribe was gradually pushed westward or assimilated or by new migrating tribes pushing from the east. This period of immense tribal migration went on from the 4th until the 7th century AD. There was a number of newcomers. They included the Langobardi, the Franks, the Marcommani, the Quadii, the Burgunds, the Langobards, the Vandals, the Goths and the Huns. The Huns were Eurasian nomads appearing from east of the Volga River, who migrated into Europe c. 370 AD and built up an enormous empire there, stretching from the Volga River is Russia to the Rhine (the eastern border of the Roman Empire and later of the Frankish Empire), and from the Danube river to the Baltic Sea. Their leader was Atilla the Hun, one of the most feared enemies of the Western and Eastern Roman Empires during his reign. He crossed the Danube twice and plundered the Balkans, but was unable to take Constantinople. His unsuccessful campaign in Persia was followed in 441 AD by an invasion of the Eastern Roman Empire, the success of which emboldened Attila to invade the West. He also attempted to conquer Gaul (modern-day France), crossing the Rhine in 451 AD and marching as far as Aurelianum (Orléans) before being defeated at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. He invaded Italy, devastating the northern provinces, but was unable to take Rome. He planned for further campaigns against the Romans but died in 453 AD. These tribes were collectively called "Barbarians" by the Romans.

The Barbarians started to control the area north of the Roman border and, toward the end of Antiquity, the Celtic threat that had persisted for many centuries was replaced by a new threat: the Barbarians. The reasons for this immense migration of people were the push of other Asian tribes from the east, and also an expanding population that led to the need for new land. Often, the prize was to be found on Roman territory. The Roman Empire was in deep decline by this time and its immense border could no longer be adequately secured. That left its outlying regions an easy prey.

Post-Roman Europe (late 5th century AD)
(click to enlarge).
Despite an attempt to save the empire and dividing it in 285 AD into the Western and the Eastern Roman Empire, the Western Roman Empire eventually did fall. In 476 AD, Flavius Odoacer, a Roman soldier, deposed the last Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus and crowned himself the first King of Italy (r. 476–493). This event is also generally regarded as the end of Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Post-Roman Europe disintegrated into several kingdoms. Northern Italy became the Kingdom of Odoacer (or Kingdom of Italy); the Frankish Empire rose from those provinces that covered modern-day France, Germany, Switzerland and western Austria (approximately the ancient province of Gaul; eastern Austria, Hungary and Slovakia became the Kingdom of the Avars (one of the Barbarian tribes); the area of modern-day Poland and Czech Republic were unorganized tribes; and modern-day Spain belonged to the Moors and was called the Emirate (or Caliphate) of Cordova. This division was important because it laid out a cultural framework that still dominates Europe today. Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia etc. were ruled by a variety of Barbarian rulers. The most important state of the post-Roman world that carried on the banner of Roman values, which would become the foundation of the modern Western Culture, was the Frankish Empire. Thanks to Julius Cesar who conquered Gaul, this part of the world had been fully colonized by the Romans and thus had all the cultural, political, economic and philosophical ingredients to build a new successful state on the ruins of the Roman Empire. The names applied to the new kingdom include the Frankish Kingdom, Kingdom of the Franks, Frankish Empire, Frankish Realm, Francia or Frankia. It was founded by Clovis I, crowned first King of the Franks in 496. He was the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Franks for the next two centuries. The Merovingian dynasty consisted of Pepin of Herstal, Charles Martel, Pepin the Short, Charlemagne, and Louis the Pious—father - son, grandson, great-grandson and great-great-grandson. The greatest expansion of the Frankish empire was secured by the early 9th century and included present-day France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, northern Italy, Switzerland, Bavaria and Swabia in modern-day Germany, and Carinthia, Upper Austria and Tyrol in Austria.

Coat of arms of Bavaria.
The original Bavaria (not the same as modern-day German state, which includes the original Kingdoms of Bavaria and Franconia), lay south of the Danube River on territory that had been firmly controlled by Rome (the former Roman provinces of Raetia and Noricum).

Merovigian Kingdom 481-814 AD
Click to enlarge.
From the mid-6th through the 8th century, Bavaria existed as the Duchy of Bavaria (Herzogtum Baiern). It was a frontier region in the southeastern corner of the Frankish Kingdom and was ruled by dukes under Frankish (Merovingian) lordship. Bavaria was ruled from about 554 to 788 by the house of Agilolfing, starting with Garibald I, Duke of Bavaria (r. 555 until 591) and Tassilo I, the first King of Bavaria (r. 591–610) appointed by the Merovingian king Childebert II; and ending with Tassilo III who was deposed by Charlemagne in 788. Unlike other Germanic groups, the population of Bavaria probably did not migrate from elsewhere, but coalesced from groups left behind by Roman withdrawal: the Celtic Boii some remaining Romans, Marcomanni, Allemanni, Quadi, Thuringians, Goths, and others. The Duchy of Bavaria was a rather sizable country. It included modern-day Bavaria south of the Danube, Tyrol, western Austria (modern-day Upper Austria, Carinthia), and parts of northern Italy.

Unlike Bavaria, Bohemia was not part of the lands ruled by the Merovingian Kings. The area of modern-day Bohemia was ruled by the Marcomanni and other Suebic groups. The Romans forces pushed them out of Germany and they took refuge in Bohemia, taking advantage of the natural defenses provided by the surrounding mountains. The Marcomanni maintained a strong alliance with neighboring tribes, the Lugii, Quadi and others. The alliance was often in conflict with the Roman Empire, such as in the second century when they fought Marcus Aurelius. After the fall of Rome, in the 5th century many of these tribes left and and eventually re-settled as far away as Spain and Portugal. The Vandals and the Alans left in 409 AD and the Marcomanni in the mid-5th century. Atilla the Hun invaded the area in the 5th century, causing chaos and an influx of new population from the east. At the end of the 5th century, the Langobardi and the Thuringians sailed up-river along the Elbe, settled util the first half of the 6th century, then continued to move to an area along the Danube and in 568 AD to Italy. The Slavic tribes arrived most likely in the second half of the 6th century, with a second wave following in the 7th century. Most of the Germanic tribes had left by that time, and they found the area populated only by remaining Langobardi. The Slavic language began to replace the older Germanic, Celtic and Sarmatian ones. These were the ancestors of modern-day Czechs.

Coat of arms of Bohemia
(early Přemyslid dynasty).
The first significant early Slavic state to exist here was Samo's tribal confederation between the 630s to 660s. Samo was a Frankish trader, who ruled for some 35 years and then state disintegrated after his death. Another state was the Kingdom of Great Moravia under the rule of Svatopluk I (r. 870–894). The 9th century was crucial for the future of Bohemia. Although Svatopluk's empire was also short lived and disintegrated after his death, the initial incorporation of Bohemia into it resulted in the extensive Christianization of the sacent Czech population population. A native monarchy arose in the 9th century, led by the Přemyslid dynasty, with Bořivoj I. as the first documented ruler. The capital was initially Levý Hradec, later moving to Prague. The early Přemyslid rulers undertook a key move, in that they secured their eastern border from the remnant Asian intruders by entering into a state of semi-vassalage to the Frankish Empire. This was fundamental because it aligned the nascent kingdom firmly with Western Europe politically, economically and culturally. It placed it squarely within he Western European camp, rather than leaving in Eastern Europe, which continued to be influenced, if not dominated, by the Byzantine empire, Islam and Asia. Although Bohemia had not been part of the Frankish Kingdom initialy, it now had continuing close relations with it. It became significant later when it led to the inclusion of the Duchy of Bohemia into the Holy Roman Empire at the beginning of the 11th century. This was a key moment in Czech history, because it meant it would be in a close relationship with Bavaria, Austria, Tyrol, Italy, and no longer receive cultural and political guidance from the East.

The names "Bavaria" and "Bohemia" are both derived from the Latin name of the Boii Celtic tribe that had inhabited this area in the past. The historians Tacitus and Strabo referred to this area as Boiohaemum ("Home of the Boii"). The second component of the name is a Germanic word for "home", related to modern German "Heim", hence the term "Boii-home". The term "Bavarian" derives from the Latin Baiuvarii, translating as "Men of Baia", which may indicate Bohemia, the homeland of the Celtic Boii.

Christianity was implemented in Bavaria was in the early-8th century. It appeared first in the early 9th century in the neighboring Bohemia and became dominant later, in the 10th-11th century. A period of common history started, which would last for more than 1000 years until present day. The Duchy of Bohemia, along the Duchy of Bavaria were now both under control of the Merovingian Kings from the Frankish Empire, and would both later become parts of the Holy Roman Empire.

Coat of arms Tyrol.
The region of modern-day Tyrol was conquered by the Romans in 15 BC. Its northern and eastern part were incorporated into the Roman Empire as the provinces of Raetia and Noricum, respectively. Following the breakup of the Roman Empire, Italy was conquered by the Goths and Tyrol became part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom from the 5th to the 6th century. After the fall of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in 553, the Germanic tribe of the Lombards invaded Italy and founded the Lombard Kingdom of Italy. It only included the southern part of Tyrol. Its northern part came under the influence of the Bavarii. In 774, Charlemagne conquered the Lombards, and Tyrol became an important link between the Frankish Kingdom and Italy. During the early Middle Ages, Tyrol formed the southern part of the Duchy of Bavaria, itself one of the duchies of the Frankish Kingdom. Tyrol continued as a part of the Holy Roman Empire, when Bavaria became one of its stem duchies and Tyrol along with it.

Tyrol Castle.
Tyrol was ruled locally by counts residing in Tyrol Castle (Schloss Tirol), a 10th century fortress located above the town of Merano (modern-day Italy), near the road to Timmelsjoch pass and Ötztal Valley to the north. During the 13th and early 14th centuries, the Meinhardinger dynasty originating in Gorizia (on the Italian-Slovenian border) ruled Tyrol, Gorizia, and the Duchy of Carinthia. When they died out in 1369, Tyrol was ceded to the House of Habsburg, who ruled over the region for the next five and a half centuries, with the exception of a brief period of control in the early 19th century by Bavaria during the Napoleonic Wars.

Coat of arms of Upper Austria.
The present-day region of Upper Austria was Roman territory, most of it in the former province of Noricum. During the early Middle Ages, it belonged initially to the Duchy of Bavaria, then as March of Styria Steiermark and after 1180 to the Duchy of Styria (Herzogtum Steiermark), which was formed by elevating it from a March to a Duchy to be on equal status with the adjacent Duchies of Carinthia and Bavaria.

Holy Roman Empire around 1000 AD
Click to enlarge.
In 962, the Holy Roman Empire was founded. This was a large multi-ethnic complex of Kingdoms and Duchies in Central Europe that developed during the Middle Ages and continued until 1806. The backbone and the largest territory of the empire was the Kingdom of Germany, with smaller units including the Kingdom of Italy, the Kingdom of Bohemia, and the Kingdom of Burgundy, as well as numerous other territories. The empire grew out of East Francia, a primary division of the Frankish Empire following its split in 843. The coronation of Otto I as Emperor is generally regarded as the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire. It lasted continuously for over 800 years. The Holy Roman Empire was bordered by the Kingdoms of France and England to the west, the Kingdom of Denmark to the north, the Kingdoms of Poland and Hungary to the east, and the various parts of modern-day Italy to the south. Its end came in 1806, when Emperor Franz II. dissolved it following its defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz. Before 1157, the empire was merely referred to as the "Roman Empire"; the term "Holy" was added to reflect the ambition of Frederick I Barbarossa to dominate Italy and the Papacy.

Historic flag of Bohemia, Upper Austria, and Tyrol.
The historic realms of Bohemia, Austria and Tyrol share the same historic flag (a white horizontal band overlying a red band). The three also share very similar coat of arms: a black eagle, facing right, with red flame coming from its beak. The symbology of the flaming eagle is derived from the coat of arms of Holy Roman Emperors were using a black eagle in a golden field since Fridrich I. The Přemyslid Dynasty adopted a similar coat of arms to demonstrate their affiliation with and closeness to the imperial court. The lion replaced the coat of arms of Bohemia in 1253, but the eagle remained as the coat of arms of Moravia and Silesia.

Bavaria was one of the stem duchies (Stammesherzogtum of the Holy Roman Empire from the time of its founding and included, at the time of the forming of the empire, the moldern-day regions of Tyrol, Styria, and Upper Austria. The Duchy of Bohemia became part of the Holy Roman Empire at the beginning of the 11th century. Tyrol achieved Imperial immediacy in 1138, after the deposition of the Bavarian duke Henry the Proud, and formed a state of the Holy Roman Empire in its own right.

In the 10th century, Bavaria was a large kingdom, extending far to the east and south, as far as modern-day Carinthia, Lower Austria and Upper Italy, but the very centre of it was on the Danube. In the 10th and 12th centuries it became the duchies of Bavaria, Carinthia and Austria. The ducal seat was Regensburg. Munich became capital in 1255.

Coat of arms of Bohemia.
In Bohemia, the first to use the title of "King of Bohemia" were the dukes Vratislav II (1085) and Vladislav II (1158). These titles were not hereditary and their heirs would return to the title of Duke. The title of King became hereditary under Ottokar I (1198) and the Kingdom of Bohemia existed independently or otherwise until 1918. The most significant ruler of this period was Ottokar II (r. 1253–1278), who built a large state that included modern-day Upper Austria, Styria, Carintia, Friulia and Slovenia. He was a powerful Central European ruler with imperial ambitions, which led to disaster because of back-door politics and intrigue among the impedial electors. War was declared against Ottokar in June 1276, forcing him to cede four provinces, nevertheless leading to a battle in 1278 at Marchfeld in Upper Austria, where Ottokar was defeated and killed.

King Charles IV.
The Přemyslid Dynasty lasted until the death of Wenceslaus III in 1306. The Luxembourg Dynasty came after them, including John of Luxembourg (Jan Lucemburský), Charles IV and Wenceslas IV. John was the son of a Holy Roman Emperor, and his son Carhes IV was a Holy Roman Emperor. Charles IV, like his father, were French-educated, and became the first King of Bohemia to be Holy Roman Emperor. The House of Luxembourg ruled the Kingdom of Bohemia and the County of Luxembourg. Under Charles, Prague became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. He rebuilt the city on the model of Paris, established the New Town of Prague (Nové Město), and founded the university in 1348 as the first university in Central Europe. Prague emerged as the intellectual and cultural center of Central Europe. His reign is seen as the Golden Age of Bohemia. Outside of Prague, Charles attempted to expand the Bohemian crown lands, using his imperial authority to acquire fiefs in Silesia, the Upper Palatinate, and Franconia. The latter regions comprised "New Bohemia," a string of possessions intended to link Bohemia with the Luxemburg territories in the Rhineland. Having given Moravia to one brother, John Henry, and erected the county of Luxembourg into a duchy for another, Wenceslaus, he was unremitting in his efforts to secure other territories as compensation and to strengthen the Bohemian monarchy. To this end he purchased part of the upper Palatinate of the Rhine in 1353, and in 1367 annexed Lower Lusatia to Bohemia and bought numerous estates in various parts of Germany.

King Wenceslas IV.
King Wenceslaus IV, one of the sons of Charles IV, was born in 1361 and was, by inheritance, King of Bohemia (as Wenceslaus IV) from 1363 and by election, German King (formally King of the Romans) from 1376. He was the third Bohemian and third German monarch of the Luxembourg dynasty. Wenceslaus was deposed in 1400 as King of the Romans, but continued to rule as Bohemian king until his death. In the cathedral of Monza, north of Milan, the site of the Monza Formula One race circuit, there is a series of reliefs depicting the coronations of the kings of Italy with the Iron Crown of Lombardy. The seventh of these depicts Wenceslaus being crowned in the presence of six electors, he himself being the seventh.

Emperor Sigismund.

Jan Hus.
The Hussite Revolution was an armed struggle lasting several decades between the Hussites (the followers of Bohemian priest and reformer Jan Hus), and various monarchs who sought to enforce the authority of the Roman Catholic Church against them. The revolt lasted from 1419 to circa 1434. The Hussite community included most of the Czech population of the Kingdom of Bohemia, and presented a major military power. They defeated five crusades proclaimed against them by the Pope (1420, 1421, 1422, 1427 and in 1431). The Hussites can be seen as freedom fighters by some, and as out-of-control rebels and religious extremists by others. During the fighting, the rebel army defended their freedom of religious faith, but also attempted to destroy everything that was in any wat connected with the Catholic Church: monasteries, cathedrals and cities. The fighting ended after 1434, when the moderate faction of the Hussites gained the upper hand over the radical Taborite faction. The Hussites signed an peace agreement in 1436, known as known as "the compacts", requiring them to submit to the authority of the King of Bohemia and the Church, and were allowed to practice their somewhat variant rite.

Poor Sigismund gets a bad rap with the average Czech, even after 600 years, because 40 years of Communist propaganda portrayed him in history textbooks as something of a Medieval Hitler, tormenting the poor Protestant rebels.

Not to be forgotten are the Ashkenazi Jews who spread throughout Central and Eastern Europe, wgho formed a very important part of the population until recent times. Their spread started during the 13th century with the expulsions from England (1290), France (1394), and parts of Germany (15th century). They established communities throughout Central and Eastern Europe, which had been their primary region of concentration and residence, evolving their own distinctive characteristics and diasporic identities. People such as Sigmund Freud, Gustav Mahler, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka and Leonard Bernstein belonged to this ethnic group.

Coat of arms of Munich.
Meanwhile in Bavaria, in the 16th century, Munich became the center of the German counter-reformation, and also of renaissance arts. The Duchy of Bavaria became the Electorate of Bavaria in 1623. The Electorate of Bavaria (Kurfürstentum Bayern) was an independent hereditary electorate of the Holy Roman Empire from 1623 to 1806, when it was succeeded by the Kingdom of Bavaria. Tyrol was temporarily united, Salzburg temporarily reunited with Bavaria but finally ceded to Austria.

In Bohemia, following the Hussite Revolution, things went generally downhill politically. The strong country that Charles IV had built was in shambles, decisive leadership nonexistent. Sigismund, Brother of Wenceslaus IV, ruled the kingdom 1419–1437. After him came the first Habsburg, Albert II of Germany, having married Elisabeth of Luxemburg, Sigismund's daughter and heiress in 1422. Two Habsburg kings ruled the Kingdom of Bohemia until 1457. The Habsburg dynasty returned to the Czech throne in 1526 and ruled the country until 1918. Among them were 13 Holy Roman Emperors. Among them were memorable figures such as Rudolph II, Empress Maria Theresa and

Empress Maria-Theresa.

Emperor Rudolf II.
Joseph II. With the arrival of the Habsburgs on the Bohemian throne, the kingdom became part of the Habsburg monarchy. The habsburgs were Austrian, but this was not yet the Austrian Empire. The Habsburg monarchy (or Austrian monarchy) was an unofficial but very frequently used name for an assemblage of various administrative units: Lands of the Bohemian Crown (Kingdom of Bohemia, March of Moravia, Silesia, and Upper and Lower Lusatia), Archduchy of Austria (Upper and Lower Austria), Duchy of Styria, Duchy of Carinthia, Duchy of Carniola, the Adriatic port of Trieste, Istria, the County of Tyrol, The Vorarlberg (a collection of provinces, united in the 19th century), Grand Duchy of Salzburg, and the Kingdom of Hungary.

Habsburg Empire in 1700
Click to enlarge.
The Bohemian Crown was a prized possession for the Habsburgs, because the Czech lands were a kingdom, while Austria was a duchy at the time. Hungary was a kingdom, but two thirds of the former territory of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary had been conquered by the Ottoman Empire, and the Habsburg administration was restricted to the western a nd northern territories of the former kingdom. Vienna was the capital in 1526–1583 and 1611–1804, and Prague 1583–1611. Official languages were German and Latin, with a number of other languages spoken throughout the realm: Hungarian, Czech, Croatian, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Ruthenian, Bosnian, Serbian, and French.

Habsburg coat of arms.
The Austrian Empire that followed was the official name of a state that existed in the period of 1804–1867. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, was a successor state that existed in the period of 1867–1918, following the Ausgleich of 1867, which elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire, creating a new dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. An unofficial popular name was the Danubian Monarchy (Donaumonarchie) also often used was the term Doppel-Monarchie ("Double Monarchy").

A degree of religious freedom and independence was maintained in the Habrburg Monarchy until 1620, when the Battle of the White Mountain took place. An army of 30,000 Czechs and mercenaries under the command of Christian of Anhalt were defeated by 27,000 men of the combined armies of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor, Charles Bonaventure de Longueval, Count of Bucquoy, and the German Catholic League under Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly. The battle marked the end of the Bohemian period of the Thirty Years' War and decisively influenced the fate of the Czech lands for the next 300 years. Consolidation of power by the victorious side and religious persecution started almost immediately. With the force defending Prague destroyed, Tilly entered Prague and the revolt collapsed. King Frederick with his wife Elizabeth fled the country, and many Czechs welcomed the restoration of Roman Catholic rule. Forty-seven leaders of the insurrection were put on trial, and twenty-seven of them were executed in Prague's Old Town Square. An estimated five-sixths of the Czech nobility went into exile soon after the Battle of White Mountain, their properties confiscated and bestowed upon those tho helped the winning side. The Emperor ordered all Calvinists and other non-Lutherans to convert to Roman Catholicism or leave the Kingdom in three days. The Emperor also ordered all Lutherans (most of whom had not been involved in the revolt) to convert or else leave the country. Most people converted, but a significant Protestant minority remained. But at the same time, the exodus was massive. Before the war about 151,000 farmsteads existed in the Lands of Bohemian Crown, while by the year 1648 only 50,000 remained. At the same time the number of inhabitants decreased from three million to only 800,000. At the same time, a great deal of money was invested by the Habsburg government in the coming decades in the construction of churches, cathedrals, monasteries, chapels etc. The flip-side of this rather grim period of Czech history is that some of the most beautiful Baroque architecture found anywhere in the world dates to this time.

Coat of arms of the Austrian Empire

Coat of arms of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire (1867-1918).
The Kingdom of Bohemia was part of the Habsburg Monarchy until 1804. It served as capital during 1583–1611, until the events leading to the Thirty Years' War forced the capital to be moved back to Vienna. When the Austrian empire was formed in 1804, Kingdom of Bohemia became part of it. Each new Austrian Emperor would still formally go through a coronation, accepting the Bohemian Crown (except Franz Josef). It continued as part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, following the Ausgleich of 1867, until the dissolution of the empire in 1918.

Bavaria in 1808 (lick to enlarge).

Habsburg Empire in 1700 AD (Click to enlarge).
Following the defeat of Napoleon, following the decisions made at the Congress of Vienna, Bavaria ceded northern Tyrol and Vorarlberg to the Austrian Empire, thus beginning to form the outline of modern-day Austria with Tyrol and Vorarlberg belonging to Austria rather than to Bavaria. Bavaria received in compensation Würzburg and Aschaffenburg, the Palatinate region on the left bank of the Rhine, and districts of Hesse-Darmstadt and of the former Abbacy of Fulda.

Bavaria became a constitutional monarchy, ruled by a King and a parliament. Constitution was declared in 1818. The parliament was to consist of two houses; the first comprising the great hereditary landowners, government officials and nominees of the crown; the second, elected on a very narrow franchise, comprising representatives of the small land-owners, the towns and the peasants. By additional articles the equality of religions was guaranteed and the rights of Protestants safeguarded. King Maximilian ruled till his death as a model constitutional monarch. He was succeeded in 1825 by his son Ludwig I. Ludwig I was an enlightened patron of the arts and sciences. He transferred the Landshut university to Munich. Ludwig I had a good architectural taste and transformed into one of the most beautiful cities of the continent. He abdicated during the revolutionary year of 1848, and was succeeded by his son, Maximilian II. Before his abdication, he wrote a proclamation promising firm commitment of the Bavarian government the cause of German freedom and unity. Maximilian II followed that guidance, accepting the authority of the central government at Frankfurt. That move, however, made Prussia henceforth the enemy of Bavaria instead of Austria. During the rise of Prussia to prominence, Bavaria was allied with Austria, fought alongside with it in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and was defeated along with it. Maximilian was succeeded on in 1864 by his son Ludwig II, a youth of eighteen at the time. The Bavarian government found it necessary to become part of the Prussian commercial treaty with France, signed in 1862. Bavaria did not belong to the North German Federation of 1867, but when France attacked Prussia in 1870, the southern German states Baden, Württemberg, Hessen-Darmstadt and Bavaria joined Prussia and ultimately joined the Federation, which was renamed German Empire (Deutsches Reich) in 1871.

King Ludwig II.
Ludwig II was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. He also held the titles of Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Franconia, and Duke in Swabia, but he is most well-known for his propensity to keep building fairy-tale castles based on Richard Wagner's operas. Because of that he has been nicknamed the "Swan King" in English and der Märchenkönig, the "Fairy Tale King", in German. In a relatively very short time (a few decades), he managed to build three: Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof, and Neuschwanstein.

Neuschwanstein Castle.
Neuschwanstein came first (started in 1869, never fully finished), as a replica of a medieval Romanesque fortress, placed picturesquely on a smaller hill above the village of Schwangau, surrounded by high mountains on 3 sides. An older castle on a hill on the opposite side of the valley, the Hohenschwangau Castle, is a 12th century fortress

Hohenschwangau Castle.
renovated in a neo-Gothic style by Maximilian II in 1832-1837). Ludwig was fascinated by French architecture and especially by Versailles. Linderhof came second (finished in 1878), a small but highly ornate palace in neo-French Rococo style, with handsome formal gardens. The grounds contained a Venus grotto lit by electricity, where Ludwig was rowed in a boat shaped like a shell. It cost the Bavarian government 8,460,937 marks, more than 2 million above the cost of the Neuschwanstein, which "only" cost 6,180,047. Linderhof is full of

Linderhof Palace.
references and tributes to Louis XIV, the "Sun King". When Linderhof was finished, Ludwig must have been thinking "What could be a better tribute to king Louis"? The answer: to build

Herrenchiemsee Palace.
a copy of the Versailles, of course! In 1878, construction began on Herrenchiemsee Castle, a replica of the palace at Versailles, located on the Herreninsel, an island on Chiemsee Lake east of Munich. The main palace is a scaled down replica of Versailles (although Ludwig's Hall of Mirrors is said to be 4 m (12 ft) longer than King Louis' Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. Herrenchiemsee cost theBavarian government 16,579,674 marks, until Ludwig's death. King Ludwig was found drowned in Starnberg Lake south of Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 1886. His death was officially ruled to be a suicide, but conspiracy theories persist

Ludwig's Hall Of Mirrors.

Louis' Hall Of Mirrors.
to this day that Ludwig was murdered. When Ludwig died, work on the Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee castles was stopped. Neuschwanstein remains nearly finished, while Herrenchiemsee has significant portions of the palace interiors unfinished. Had Ludwig not died, there is not telling what else he would have built. He had plans to build a new romantic castle on ruins of Falkenstein ("Falcon Rock"), a 13th century fortress on the modern-day German-Austrian border in the Allgäu region west of the town of Füssen. Ludwig purchased the

Planned Falkenstein Castle.
ruin and had plans ready to go. By 1885, a road and water supply had been provided at Falkenstein but the old ruins remained untouched. Falkenstein was to be another neo-Romanesque castle in the spirit of Neuschwanstein, only wilder. The same architect, Christian Jank, was hired to to replace the existing medieval ruins with a romantic castle. But why stop there? Ludwig had further plans for a Byzantine palace in the Graswangtal (near Linderhof), and for a Chinese summer palace by Plansee Lake, located just across the modern-day border in Tyrol. These projects never got beyond initial plans.

Tyrol Castle.
Tyrol was ruled during the middle ages by counts residing in Tyrol Castle (Schloss Tirol), a 10th century fortress located above the town of Merano (modern-day Italy), near the road to Timmelsjoch pass and Ötztal Valley to the north. When the Meinhardiner dynasty died out in 1369, the Tyrol was ceded to the House of Habsburg, who ruled over the region for the next five and a half centuries, with a brief period of control in the early nineteenth century by Bavaria during the Napoleonic Wars.

Original County Of Tyrol.
The County of Tyrol was formed in 1803. Tyrol became a constituent land of the Austrian Empire in 1805 when its northern part was ceded by Bavaria to Austria in 1805. (South Tyrol was ceded to Kingdom of Italy). After Napoleon's defeat, the whole of Tyrol was returned to Austria in 1814 at the Congress Of Vienna. Tyrol continued as a royal territory of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1867 on. The County of Tyrol then extended beyond the boundaries of the modern-day Austrian state of Tyrol, and included in addition to North Tyrol and East Tyrol also the Italian provinces of South Tyrol and Trentino, as well as three municipalities, which today are part of the adjacent Province of Belluno.

Holy Roman Empire c. 1600.
In the end, why is all this important when discussing dumplings? It is essential because because it establishes a framework, within which it is easy to see historical connections and consequences. It points unequivocally to the Kingdom of Bohemia, as part of the Holy Roman Empire, belonging firmly to the Central European assemblage of countries: specifically Austria, Bavaria and Tyrol. Most shared heritage is clearly with Austria since 1526. With no borders to speak of, and the same royal family running both countries, it is not difficult to imagine the vast amount of cultural cross-pollination that went on for nearly four centuries until 1918. Austrian dumplings have a lot of Bohemian heritage, and surely Bohemian the dumpling culture did not simply spring full-grown from the Czech countryside alone. It becomes a foregone conclusion that the food cultures of Austria and the Czech Republic (the ancient lands of Bohemia nad Moravia) are very, very similar. Bavaria is slightly more different, because it functioned as a

Gulasch della Val Pusteria
(Citrus-Infused Goulash From South Tyrol).
different country. Tyrol is starting to be quite different, because it blends German culinary influences with those from Italy, and Italy is considerably different. However, even in northern Italy, there are unmistakable connections between the Austrian and Czech culture, as shown by the example of the Gulasch della Val Pusteria. This Viennese goulash with Italian seasonings, a fusion dish pointing to the unmistakable shared heritage that modern-day borders cannot undo.

Moreover, the dumpling is a deeply rooted part of folk culture and, like many other culinary objects, resonates with a profound sense of local identity. Dumplings are hardly on a par with haute cuisine or other complex culinary traditions, and there is much humor and self-deprecation in the culinary writing on dumplings. This is where the Austrian promotional dumpling campaign becomes very heart-warming. In 2006-2007, Lufthansa even put blood-sausage dumplings on the menu in first-class flights (right alongside with caviar and truffles).


Southern European Savory Dumplings

icon Gnocchi

Gnocchi are small Italian dumplings made from semolina flour, wheat flour, finely-grated potatoes or bread crumbs. Gnocchi are small pieces of dough, usually round in shape, which are boiled in water or broth and then served with various sauces. They are "the mother of all dumplings", in that they were introduced by the Roman Legions to every corner of the empire across the European continent. In the past 2000 years each country developed its own specific type of dumplings, with the ancient Gnocchi as their common ancestor.

Gnocchi are an ancient dish, prepared with different flours: wheat flour, rice, potatoes, and even dry bread, potatoes or vegetables varie. The more common variety prepared in Italy today are made from potatoes, but the ones made from a simple mixture of flour and water are also very popular. Others, often nicknamed "Roman", are still prepared with semolina flour as in the Roman time. Still others are made from corn flour. Also used are a variety of other ingredients based on local traditions. Gnocchi can be served as the first course of a traditional Italian dinner (primo piatto), as is the tradition in almost all of Italy, as a main dish (piatto unico)or as a side dish (contorno).

Vegetables and herbs are often added to gnocchi. Small gnocchi, called zanzarelli, can have green color from the addition of chard and spinach, or yellow from the addition of pumpkin or saffron. Green zanzarelli (Zanzarelli verdi) come from Milan, from the Castello Sforzesco and date back to the 15h century to the rule of Ludovico Maria Sforza detto il Moro, Duke of Bari and Duke of Milan. They were small dumplings made with almonds and cacio lodigiano, the precursor of the modern-day grana padano and parmigiano reggiano cheese. They were served to the court in large bowls swimming in broth, in celebration of military victories and for weddings. The bowls were brought before the Duke and, in a kind of self-service, diners approached with their own plates to serve themselves. Adding spinach, saffron and eggs to the broth gave it a golden color, which the Duke obviously liked as it symbolized money. A simplified 21st century version of the recipe is:

Zanzarelli verdi:

  • 1 liter of broth
  • 3 tbsp of bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 20-25 g almonds, blanched and finely chopped
  • 400 g spinach
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp of saffron
  • 10 g butter
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Clean the spinach, wash thoroughly in cold water, drain, adn chop finely.
  2. Brown the chopped almonds in a pan with a little butter, then let cool.
  3. Place the bread crumbs in a bowl, add the almonds and chopped spinach, the parmesan cheese, eggs and a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix the ingredients until the mixture is quite soft.
  4. Dissolve the saffron in the hot stock, and bring the stock to a boil. Spoon a little of the dough at a time, forming the zanzarelli dumplings. Throw them in the boiling stock, a few at a time. Alternatively, using a pastry bag with a plain nozzle, drop the dough into the boiling broth, cutting it periodically with a knife. Cook for about 3 minutes. Remember that fresh pasta cooks fast.
  5. YIELD: 4-6 people.

Then there are malfatti, little gnocchi-like morsels made of ricotta cheese and spinach, which developed during the seventeenth century from zanzarelli by substituting flour, water and eggs for almonds and bread crumbs.


  • 500g spinach leaves, washed, dried and chopped
  • 250g ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 125g parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra for serving
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 40gr Tipo "00" flour (fine-grained wheat flour)
  • 200g fine semolina flour
  • 100g butter, for garnish
  • 20 leaves fresh sage, for garnish
  • 1/2 lemon


  1. Cook the spinach in a large, deep pan over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until wilted. Drain and squeeze out all the water. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and the "00" flour. Stir in the spinach, beaten egg, the parmesan cheese, the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir well until mixed.
  3. On a surface floured with half of the semolina flour, roll the dough into 25 balls, each the size of a walnut. Place the balls on a tray floured with the rest of the semolina flour.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and throw in the malfatti a frew at a time. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until they float to the surface. Remember that fresh pasta cooks fast. Drain and keep warm in the pan.
  5. In a small frying pan, melt the butter and gently cook the sage leaves for 30 seconds. Squeeze the lemon juice in and mix well.
  6. Place the malfatti onto plates, ptop with the warm butter sauce and sprinkle with the extra parmesan cheese.

Potato gnocchi spread throughout Italy in the 1880s. They are a hearty dish, usually served with meat sauce or ragú. One option is to serve it with Ragú alla Bolognese. One very special recipe is Strangolapretti (or Strozzapretti), spinach and bread gnocchi from South Tirol. The name literally translates as "Priest Chokers", referring to a rather gluttonous member of the Catholic clergy who stuffed themselves with this dish, because he loved it so much, to the point of suffocating himself. Other, less threatening dishes, include Potato gnocchi can be served with tomato sauce and mozzarella (Gnocchi all Sorrentina).

Beside potato gnocchi, other recipes include Gnocchi Alla Romana made with flour, grated parmesan cheese, eggs and butter, and Gnocchi Verde Carduta Del Formaggio made with spinach and served with blue cheese sauce.

Ragú with gnocchi
Potato Gnocchi:

  • 3 lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, extra large
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil


  1. Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.
  2. Set 6 quarts of water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.
  3. Make a well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all the flour. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.
  4. Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Flick pieces off of fork or concave side of cheese grater until dowel is finished. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, forming dowels, cutting into 1-inch pieces and flicking off of fork. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with 1/2 cup canola oil and store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours until ready to serve.

Gnocchi spread through the Roman empire and became Spätzle north of the Alps, in modern-day Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland and southern France. Around the city of Nice, there are Gnocchi de tantifla a la nissarda made from with potatoes and wheat flour. There is also a variation made with made with potatoes, wheat flour, eggs and Swiss Chard, called in affectionately in French La merda dé can, which translated literally as "Dog Shit", due to its dimensions (not taste). In Paris, there are also Gnocchis à la parisienne, that are very similar to traditional Italin gnocchi and seem to be a modern-day adoption of an italian dish in a cosmopolitan city.


icon Ravioli

Ravioli are a filled pasta dumpling, composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough. They are commonly square, though other shapes exist, including the semi-circular mezzelune. Other related filled pastas include the ring-shaped tortellini and the larger tortelloni. All of them can be served served either in a broth or with a pasta sauce.

Ravioli Marinara

Ravioli di faraona
Ravioli first appeared in Europe in the 14th century, specifically in Venice and in Tuscany. In Venice, the mid-14th-century cookbook Libro per cuoco describes ravioli made of of green herbs blanched and minced, mixed with beaten egg and fresh cheese, simmered in broth. In Tuscany, there is a reference to Ravioli in the personal letters of Francesco di Marco Datini, a merchant from the Tuscan commune of Prato making a comfortable living as an arms dealer during the Hundred Years' War, and as a luxury goods supplier to the wealthy cardinals residing in Avignon. In the 16th century, ravioli with chicken were served to the papal conclave of 1549 by Bartolomeo Scappi, a famous Renaissance chef cooking for Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggio and popes Pius IV and Pius V, and the author of a monumental cookbook called Opera dell'arte del cucinare. The cookbook was translated to Spanish and Dutch in the 17th century, and an English translation by food historian Terence Scully appeared in 2008.

Classic spinach and ricotta ravioli
from Lazio

Ligurian ravioli in creamy sauce
with nuts.
In Rome and in central western Italy, the filling is most often made with ricotta cheese, spinach, nutmeg, and black pepper. Lesser known varieties are potato ravioli (ravioli di patate) and raviolo di san pancrazio. In Sardinia, ravioli are filled with ricotta and grated lemon rind. On the mainland in Liguria, Ravioli liguri are made with several kinds of cheese including Ligurian Prescinseua Cheese (a fresh cheese, halfway between ricotta and Greek yoghurt) and parmesan or grana cheese, and fresh herbs from the Ligurian coast. They are served with a creamy sauce made from walnuts, pine nuts, garlic, parsley, fennel and marjoram. Other Italian varieties include ravioli with red radicchio (Ravioli con radicchio rosso di Verona), red potato revioli (Ravioli di patate rosse), ravioli with sheep-milk ricotta cheese (Raviolo di ricotta di pecora). Further north, ravioli exist in the cuisine of Nice, Côte d'Azur, and the surrounding regions of southern of France. The filling types vary, but the most typical is beef braised in wine, vegetables, garlic, and herbes de Provence. In the Drôme department in the Rhône-Alpes region, particularly the commune of Romans-sur-Isère between Valence and Grenoble, there are miniaturized ravioli called ravioles served au gratin.

Zillertaler Krapfen
In Zillertal in southern Tirol, there is a dish called Zillertaler Krapfen, which remarkably resembles ravioli on sight. However, the resemblance is only visual. Zillertaler Krapfen are deep-fried (traditionally in lard, obviously, this being Austria). The dough is made from rye and wheat flour, egg, salt and water; and the filling is a combination of potatoes, Tyrolean mountain cheese, quark, chives, salt and pepper.



Spinach And Ricotta Ravioli
Spinach and ricotta ravioli: (from
Ingredients for 40 ravioli:
  • 250 g fine-grained flour tipo "00"
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 250 g fresh spinach
  • 125 g Cottage cheese
  • 50 g Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg


  1. Make the dough. Sift the flour and make a pile it on the work surface. Form a small hollow in the center and break the eggs into it, one at a time. Add the salt. Starting from the inside, mix the eggs with a fork or a spoon, then continue by pusing flour from the edges into the center. When a mixture forms, continue with hands, mixing in all the flour from the work surface. When a dough forms, work it with both hands, folding it in half, then into quarter, knead with the palms of both hands until flat, then repeat the folding process again and again. The dough needs to be completely smooth. If it is hard, add 1-2 tbsp of warm water and continue to knead until smooth and compact result. When the dough is ready, wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest for about 1 hour in a cool, dry place.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a blender, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Sauté the spinach in a pan, pat dry and add to the blender. Mix well again until the mixture is smooth and compact.
  3. Roll the dough into a thin sheet and divide it in two strips about 10 cm wide.
  4. Make the ravioli: Place small portions of dough well apart, spoon the spinach and ricotta ravioli mixture in even intervals onto one of the sheets of dough, 1/2-1 tbsp at a time. When finished, overlap the two sheets of dough on each other, so that the two sheets come together. Take care to remove any air bubbles that may remain between the two sheets.
  5. Using a wheel cutter, cut squares about 4x4 cm. The recipe should yield about 40 ravioli. Coil the ravioli immediately, or place them well spaced on a tray lined with parchment paper and freeze them.
  6. Cook the ravioli: boil plenty of salted water. Start dropping the ravioli in twos and threes into the water using a slotted spoon. Fresh pasta cooks quickly. The ravioli are ready when they float to the surface. Remove them from the water with the slotted spoon and place in a large bowl.
  7. Serve in the bowl with the sauce of your choice. One suggestion is simply melted butter and sage, for a basic but exquisite, classic Roman taste.


icon Tortellini

Tortellini, and their larger relatives the tortelloni, are a filled pasta dumpling, composed of a filling sealed between two layers of thin egg pasta dough, shaped into a ring. They They originate from the northern Italian region of Emilia, particularly Bologna and Modena. They are traditionally stuffed with a mix of local meats (pork loin, prosciutto) or cheese. They are usually served in broth, either of beef, chicken.

Unlike ravioli, the origin of which is well documented, the origin of tortellini is unknown and subject to legends and speculations. They probably originated in the 15th-16th centuries.

Tortellini in brodo (tortellini soup) are a classic in Emilia. There is a similar dish in Romagna using Cappelletti. Tortellini and Cappelletti are visually identical, with the difference being in the filling. Cappelletti are filled only with cheese, while Tortellini are filled with meat. They are both typical Christmas Eve pasta courses.


  • Egg and flour dough, same as for ravioli
  • Meat broth, chicken or beef
  • 100g pork sirloin (3,5oz)
  • 100g prosciutto crudo (3,5oz)
  • 100g Mortadella (3,5oz)
  • 150g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated (5oz)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 pinches grated nutmeg


  1. In a food processor, mix all the ingredients until they become a paste.
  2. Cut the dough in 4-cm (1 1/2 in) wide squares. Place a bit of the filling in the middle of the pasta square. Fold it in a triangle shape, close the edges, then wrap it around the index finger and press the two ends one upon the other. Use a drop of water if the dough fails to stick.
  3. Boil the tortellini in a good homemade broth (beef or chicken) until they float to the surface (al dente). Fresh pasta cooks quickly, depending on how thin the dough is.


icon Spätzle

Spätzle are the Austrian and German cousins of gnocchi. They are small dumplings made of eggs and flour. They may be called Spätzli, Nockerln or Knöpfle in parts of Germany and Austria; Knöpfli in Switzerland; csipetke, nokedli, galuskangs in Hungary; and halušky in Slovakia.

Knöpfli type of spätzle.

Thin commercial type Spätzle.
The name literally translates as "little sparrows". Before mechanical devices were invented to make Spätzle, they were shaped by hand or with a spoon and the results somehow resembled little sparrows, which in German would be "Spatzen". This compact Spätzle variety is sometimes called Knöpfle, or Knopfli), meaning "little buttons". Mass-produced industrial Spätzle can be thin like a short noodle.

Spätzle can be served as a side dish to various goulashes and meat dishes with abundant sauce, such as chicken paprikash, Zwiebelrostbraten, Sauerbraten or Roulade. In Hungary spätzle are often used in soups. Spätzle also are used as a primary ingredient in savory dishes such as:

Käsespätzle in a ski restaurant
on the Hintertux Glacier.
Käsespätzle - Spätzle sautéed with onions, a little white pepper, and melted hard cheese such as Emmentaler, Gruyère, Bergkäse, Parmesan, or Pecorino. This dish is ubiquitous in Tyrol and southern Germany. It is a very hearty dish, but an excellent pub-grub on a cold skiing day, served in most holes-in-the-wall on ski runs in Tyrol.

Gaisburger Marsch stew.
Gaisburger Marsch - Traditional Swabian beef stew, named after a district of Stuttgart, made of beef cooked in a strong beef broth, cut into cubes and served with cooked potatoes and Spätzle. The broth is poured over the dish before topping it with golden-brown onions fried in butter. One explanation for the name is that the dish was so popular in the 19th century among officer andidates that they marched all the way to Gaisburg where their favorite dish was served in the restaurant called Bäckerschmide.

Schwäbische Krautspätzle.
Krautspätzle is a simple dish from Schwaben, the southwestern part of Germany, where Porsches, Mercedes, and one Alert Einstein, come from. The dish consists of boiled (fresh) Spätzle, mixed with freshly-made sauerkraut made with broth and juniper berries, onion fried in butter, and spices such as marjoram and caraway seeds.

Schwäbische Krautspätzle.
Other Swabian creations include Spätzle mit Champignons, Gurkenspätzle, Linsen mit Spätzle, Ro-Ro-Spätzle (red wine & rosemary), Saure Spätzle, Spätzle Parma, Spätzle al Pesto mit frischen Pfifferlingen, Spätzlesalat, and other variations of Käsespätzle (Vorarlberger, Allgäuer, etc) - almost like bubba in Forrest Gump reciting how many Southern shrimp dishes there are. Wurstspätzle, a type of Spätzle where the dough contains small pieces of Schinkenwurst or Krakauer Wurst.

Spinatspatzeln from Tyrol.
An interesting fusion dish are Spinatspatzeln from the region of Trentino-Alto Adige (Südtirol). The region belonged to the Austrian Empire until the end of WWI, then became part of Italy. The population is mostly bilingual, and the cuisine reflects the multinational character of the population. In this case, it blends Austrian Spätzle, which thmelselves are related to the Italian gnocchi, and adds spinach to the dough, which is also often done with gnocchi and other types of Italian dumplings. Spinatspatzeln made of dough composed of spinach, flour, eggs, and whole milk, and topped with melted Tyrolean Alpine butter and grated Bergkäse.

Other Austrian-Italian fusion dishes include Spätzle Parma (Spätzle cooked with sour cream and grated parmesan cheese), and Spätzle al Pesto (served like gnocchi with pesto sauce).

Spätzle also exists in sweet forms, such as Kirschspätzle (Spätzle mixed with fresh cherries, dressed with clarified, browned butter, sugar and cinnamon and/or nutmeg), or Apfelspätzle (Spätzle with grated apples in the dough, dressed with clarified, browned butter, sugar, and cinnamon).


Käsespätzle in Tirol



  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and beat until the dough begins to bubble. Traditionalists can use their hands, the rest use a dough mixer. The dough has the right consistency when it drips slowly from a spoon without tearing. Otherwise, add more water or flour.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil, add plenty of salt. Prepare a bowl and a strainer.
  3. Wait for the water to boil and start cooking the spatzel in batches. Spätzle-gurus will use the Spätzle board: briefly moisten the board and scraper in the pot, then spread about 2 tablespoons of the dough thin over the board. Hold the board at the surface of the boiling water and cut the dough with a straight scraper into small pieces and let them fall in the water. Normal people will simply spoon teaspoon-size chunks of the dough into the water. The final product will taste the same.
  4. The spätzle are done when they float back to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in the stand-by bowl.
  5. Repeat batches until all dough is finished.

Bryndzové halušky from Slovakia.
Halušky are the same as potato gnocchi in Italy (Gnocchi di patate). It is assumed that they spread here from Italy, through the Austro-Hungarian Empire). In Slovakia, they became a national dish in combination with bryndza, a soft sheep's milk cheese, optionally topped with pieces of smoked pork fat or bacon. There is a similar Slovak disk called Strapačky, in that the same base compound of the dish is used (halušky), but stewed sauerkraut is used instead of bryndza.

Hungarian Nokedli.

Paprikáscsirke (Chicken Paprikash)
from Hungary.
In Hungary, there are small dumplings called Nokedli, which as identical in appearance and ingredients to Austrian Spätzle. Nokedli are used as a side dish for various dishes containing plentiful sauce, such as Pörkölt (the Hungarian version of the Austrian Goulash (Wiener Saftgulasch), or chicken paprikás (Paprikáscsirke). Paprikáscsirke is a famous Hungarian stew, consisting of chicken cooked with chopped bell peppers in a creamy, red paprika sauce.

Spätzle made it far into Eastern Europe as well, beyond the Austro-Hungarian Empire. There are similar dishes in Romania (găluşte), Serbia (galuški), Ukraine (галушка), and Lithuania (virtinukai).


Central European Savory Dumplings

Moving back to Austria, Tiroler Speckknödel are tennis-ball size, round bread-and-flour dumplings made from flour dough with added herbs and smoked bacon. These are substantial dumplings. Calorie-wise, traditional Tyrolean dumplings are serious business: beside smoked bacon, home-made smoked pork sausage (Kaminwurzn), cured pork or lard can be used. The dumplings can be boiled in salted water and served simply on a bed of sauerkraut, or as a side dish to goulashes or roasted pork. They can also be cooked in a strong beef broth and served in it as a soup (Speckknödelsuppe).

icon Tiroler Speckknödel
(Tyrolean Dumplings With Bacon)


  • 6 stale bread rolls or baguette
  • 1 egg
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bouquet of parsley
  • Salt, pepper
  • Caraway seeds
  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g flour
  • 150 g smoked bacon, cured pork, smoked pork sausage i.e. Landjäger or dark salami


  1. Chop the onion and fry it briefly in the butter with the chopped parsley.
  2. In the meantime, warm the milk and cut the bread into little pieces. Chop the sausages into little cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the bread with the warm milk and egg. Add the fried onion, spices, sausage and parsley and make a coarse dough. Form dumplings of about 5 cm in diameter.
  4. Boil salted water. Add the dumplings and boil them for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. YIELD: serves 3

Speckknödelsuppe from Tyrol.

Leberknödelsuppe from Vienna.
The subject of dumplings as part of a soup is an interesting one. The Central European concept of serving meat dumplings in a soup dates back to the Middle Ages. Speckknödelsuppe or Tiroler-Knödel Suppe (Beef Broth With Lard Dumplings) and Leberknödelsuppe (Liver Dumpling Soup) are examples of Austrian soups with dumplings swimming in then. Liver dumpling soup is of course also known in Bavaria and Bohemia. The dumplings in the

Leberknödelsuppe at Bei Otto in Bangkok.

Jewish Matzah Balls in chicken soup.
Austrian Bavarian soup tend to be tennis-ball size, and 1-2 are served. The dumplings are made from ground liver, eggs, garlic, marjoram and bread crumbs. A similar soup exists called Leberspätzle Suppe, in which the large dumplings have been replaced with smaller Spätzle made from ground liver. Griessnockerl Suppe is another beef soup with small dumplings made of Semolina. In the Czech version of the Liver Dumping Soup, called

Czech Hovězí polévka s játrovými knedlíčky.
Hovězí polévka s játrovými knedlíčky, the dumplings tend smaller and multiple, but usually still round. The Jewish Matzah Balls, also known as kneydl, knaidel, kneidel or Kneidlach, are the same size as Austrian and Bavarian soup dumplings, and are made from matzah meal, eggs, water, and a fat, such as oil, margarine, or chicken fat. They are round and traditionally served in chicken soup.

The Central European soups with dumplings in them seem to be a cross-pollination with Italy, where soups with gnocchi, ravioli, tortellini, Cappelletti, etc. are very common.


Moving from Austria further north into Germany, Bavarian dumplings resemble Tyrolean dumplings in shape, but unlike the Tyrolean species these are almost health-food! Lard and bacon are typically not used. They can be served as a side dish with pork roast or goulash. Or, to properly lubricate the arteries, they can be sliced and fried in butter until brown with a scrambled egg thrown in.


icon Bayrische Semmelknödel
(Bavarian Bread Dumplings)


  • 1/2 lb stale baguette (1-2 days old)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp flat parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash pepper


  1. Cut the baguette in small cubes and place in a large bowl.
  2. Bring the milk to a boil, pour over the baguette and let soak for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, fry the onion in butter until soft. Add parsley.
  4. When the bread has finished soaking, combine the fried onion, eggs, salt and pepper.
  5. Mix well using hands. With wet hands, form round, tennis-ball-size dumplings.
  6. Boil in salt water for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove finished dumplings with a slotted spoon. Let drip shortly in a sieve. Place in a serving bowl and serve.


icon Bayrische Kartoffelknödel
(Bavarian Potato Dumplings)

Bavarian potato dumplings are made of boiled and raw potatoes and breadcrumbs. They are round and the same size as their bread-dumpling siblings. They can be served with goulashes, roasted pork etc. Sometimes, before boiling, a crouton is placed into the center of the dumpling. Over the border in the Czech Republic, they are called Jihočeské Bosáky.


  • 1 1/2 potatoes
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • Salt


  1. Peel half of the potatoes and boil in salted water for 20 minutes.
  2. Peel the other half of the potatoes and finely grate. Wrap in a dish towel and, over a bowl, squeeze out as much liquid out as possible, saving the liquid. After a few minutes, the potato starch will settle on the bottom of the bowl. Carefully skim the water, then mix the starch residue with the potatoes.
  3. Add the egg, breadcrumbs and a dash or two of salt.
  4. Drain the boiled potatoes and finely grate. Mix with the raw potatoes.
  5. Coat hands lightly with flour and form 6 round dumplings, approximately the size of a tennis-ball
  6. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce heat to medium and boil the dumplings for 20 minutes. They are ready when they float to the surface.
  7. Remove finished dumplings with a slotted spoon. Let drip shortly in a sieve. Place in a serving bowl and serve


icon Käseknödel (Cheese Dumplings)
(All credit to Eliza from

Preparation of Tyrolean Cheese Dumplings
(All credit to Eliza from

Preparation of Tyrolean Cheese Dumplings
(All credit to Eliza from
These Cheese Dumplings come from Tyrol, but there is a very good recipe with pictures on that best illustrates the Medieval roots of this dish. They do not contain flour (as would be the case in the Middle Ages) and are made with various non-standard ingredients found in other modern-day dumplings, such as cheese, green onions, and spices. They do contain cubed bread rolls, as do most other modern-day Central European dumplings, but that is a 17th century addition. The dough is prepared, the dumplings are shaped into the standard tennis-ball size dumplings, then fried, then boiled, and served in beef broth. The frying is another Medieval characteristic of this recipe, because that is how many Medieval dumplings were made then.


  • 1/2 lb stale bread rolls or baguette
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 lb hard cheese, grated (Emmentaler, Gruyère, Bergkäse, Parmesan, Pecorino )
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chives, chopped
  • Salt
  • For garnish:
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp hard cheese, grated (Emmentaler, Gruyère, Bergkäse, Parmesan, Pecorino )


  1. Cut baguette into small pieces, place in a large bowl and soak in the milk.
  2. Cut the onion and cheese into small pieces. Fry onion in butter until brown.
  3. Mix together the soaking baguette, flour, cheese, and onion, and work a thick dough.
  4. Using hands lightly coated with flour, form round tennis-ball size dumplings.
  5. Boil salted water in a large pot. Cook dumplings for approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Garnish with melted butter and grated cheese.


icon Houskové Knedlíky
(Czech Bread Dumplings)

Moving east, modern-day Czech and Austrian savory dumplings differ in shape from their Bavarian and Tyrolean relatives. While in Tyrol and Bavaria, dumplings are cooked as individual spheres the size of a tennis ball, in the Czech Republic and in the rest of Austria, dumplings evolved in a different direction. They are shaped into cylinders of dough 6-12 inches long, boiled whole and sliced into 1/2-inch slices before serving. Although sliced cylindrical dumplings predominate in the Czech Republic, in the southern part there exist round individual dumplings as well: bosáky, drbáky, and chlupaté knedlíky. This is mainly in the southern part of the Czech Republic along the border with Bavaria.

Bavarian Liver Dumpling, the closest living
relative to the Medieval Central European
(All credit to Fiammi from
Historically, the first reference to Czech dumplings is from the 7th century. The Czech word knedlík comes fromthe german word Knödel, which in turn is a diminutive form of the middle high German Knode, meaning "knot". During the Middle Ages, dumplings in Central Europe looked quite different from what exists today. Central European dumplings in were small lumps abou the size of Gnocchi. Recipes found in a Bavarian monastery describe small balls made from minced game of fish, served in soups. There was a wide variety of ingredients used in dumplings in Central European. Gnocchi-size lumps would be made from minced meat, proso millet or beans, and fried. A Czech 15th century manuscript describes an early dumpling recipe:

Make dumplings as follows. Chop veal and mix with egg yolks, add spices and parsley. Fry on a pan, in lard of butter, add sweet ot shot spice.
The closest living relatives to the medieval Central European dumplings seem to be some of the meat dumplings from Tyrol or Bavaria, such as the Bavarian Liver Dumpling (Bayerische Leberknödel). Flour was not used in Central European dumplings until the 17th century, exactly like in this dumpling. It is made of meat, eggs, onion, garlic, lemon peel, and seasoned with marjoram, salt and pepper. (The cubed bread roll is a 17th century addition.) The dumpling is fried, not boiled. The only difference is size: the Medieval dumpling would have been smaller, about like the Italian Gnocchi, this dumpling is large, the size of a tennis ball.

Modern-day sweet Buchty.
A pivotal evolutionary leap forward happened to the Central European dumpling in the 17th century, when two recipes fused together: the fried Medieval Gnocchi-sized dumpling merged with buchty. Buchty, or Buchteln, are Austrian and Czech sweet rolls about the size of a tennis ball, made of raised dough and baked. In present time, Buchty have a filling of Powidl, but in the Middle Ages the dough consisted only of flour, yeast, eggs and salt (no sugar, unlike in modern-day buchty). Their fusion with dumplings took place sometime in the 17th century, probably during the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Sometime during this time, dumplings began to be made from flour dough like buchty, but boiled like the small Medieval dumplings. It is possible that the hardship of the Thirty Years' War also led to the inclusion of stale bread in the Central European flour dumplings, because cubed stale bread is found in Bavarian, Tyrolean as well as Bohemian flour dumplings. Potato dumplings came in the 18th century, when potatoes began to be planted in Bavaria and Bohemia. The importance of potato dough rose even more following the famine caused by poor crop in 1770 and 1816. Like flour dumplings, potato dumplings were made round, about the size of a tennis ball, and boiled.

As a side note, it is interesting to note that in northern Germany, the word for dumpling is Kloss (pl. Klosse), pointing to the fact that cultural differences in Central Europe run more between the north and the south, with Austria, Bavaria, Bohemia and Tyrol clearly belonging jointly to the southern part.

19th century dumpling eater
(Courtesy of Museum Cheb).

19th century dumpling eater (Courtesy of Museum
Until the late 19th century, the large Central European round dumpling existed not as side dish, as would be the case today, but as a main course. The round dumplings would be served in beef broth, or by itself topped with butter or pieces of smoked pork bacon. Many different varieties developed. In Bohemia in the 19th century, two types of round dumplings emerged: raised and plain (with and without yeast). "Farmer Dumplings" (Selské knedlíky) were an example of the plain round dumpling: made of cubed white bread rolls, chopped onion, eggs, butter, milk, cream, herbs, and white flour, topped with melted butter. Some such dumplings would be fried and then smothered in red wine. Other recipes included sour-cherry dumplings, or dumplings made of butter, egg yolks, sour-cherries and red wine.

Whole Czech-style bread dumpling.

Whole Czech-style bread dumpling.
Czech dumplings did not attain their cylindrical shape until the late 19th century. This is well documented by the furst two recipes shown below. The 1845 recipe by Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová still presents the dumpling the old way: a round ball, served as a main course torn into quarters and topped with melted butter. The 1924 recipe by Marie Janků-Sandtnerová also still presents the dumpling as a main course, not yet a side dish, but already with the long cylindrical shape, boiled and sliced. This development reflects the 19th century period of Czech National Revival (Národní obrození), when the emphasis was put on developing a Czech national identity that would be separate from the German/Austrian one. The impetus was a desire for equality between the Austrians who ran the Austrian Empire and the Czechs who saw themselves as playing second fiddle. The movement was mirrored in the Kingdom of Hungary as well, but while the Hungarians achieved that goal with the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (the Ausgleich), the Czechs never did. During the Revival period, there was an emphasis on developing the Czech language, which was beginning to stagnate in the German-speaking Austrian Empire, as well as literature literature, theatre, architecture etc. This movement did not spare the food culture. In an effort to be unique, Czech dumplings began to be made different shape (although still basically from teh same types of dough). The movement succeeded in creating a Czech national identity, culminating with the formation of the first Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, but obviously could not erase over a thousand years of shared history with Austria, Bavaria and Tyrol. The revival movement was in its essence a good thing, because it is important to recognize local uniqueness, especially in the age of large empires, but it produced a radical offshoot called pan-Slavism, which preached that all Slavic nations inevitably belong together (and Russia is to rule the whole lot). This is completely naive, beause in the case of the Czechs for example, the nation has nothing in common culturally with Russia, except a vaguely similar language, but has much in common with Bavaria and Austria. A good example of this development is the fact that cylindrical sliced dumplings exist today in Austria (i.e. the Serviettenknödel). The Czech National Revival movement created a new type of dumping, but folks in Vienna readily adopted it, because it was good and because both Prague and Vienna were in the same country.

Vienna-style goulash from Prague, served with
Czech-style bread dumplings.

Pork roast, sauerkraut and Czech-style
bread dumplings..
Dumplings did not start becoming a side dish until the second half of the 19th century. Dishes like the Vienna Goulash (Wiener Saftgulasch) or the Czech national dish of Vepřová s knedlíkem a zelím (affectionately abbreviated in Czech pubs as "VKZ"), did not exist before the mid 19th century. The origin of the Saftgulasch is linked to the 39th Hungarian Infantry Regiment was stationed in Vienna during the 19th century, and "VKZ" was developed in the late 19th century by a Prague restaurant owner.

The foundation of every modern-day bread dumpling is coarse flour, lukewarm milk (or water), yeast, eggs (or egg yolks), salt, and cubed stale white-bread rolls i.e. houska (Kaisersemmel), rohlik (Stangerl), or veka (Weckerl, the Czech and Austrian equivalent of New Orleans French Bread). As with other dumplings, the choice of flour is key to success. Using typical "all-purpose flour" off the shelf of most American supermarkets will yield disastrous results. The resulting dumpling will be slimy, with the consistency of amorphous brain matter. Coarse unbleached flour has to be used. It is readily available everywhere in Central Europe, and in any decent gourmet store in the United States. The problem in finding proper flour in the United States for this type of dumplings are the different classifications for flour types. Germany, France and Poland classify flour types based on the amount of ash obtained from a set amount of dry mass of the flour. Czech flour types are determined by grain size: Extra soft wheat flour (Výběrová hladká mouka, Type 00), Soft wheat flour (Hladká mouka), Fine wheat flour (Polohrubá mouka), Coarse wheat flour (Hrubá mouka), and Farina wheat flour (Pšeničná krupice). In the United States and the United Kingdom, no numbered standardized flour types are defined. Very aproximately, Hrubá mouka corresponds to something like white whole wheat flour in the U.S.

In the section below, we present 3 recipes that span 3 centuries: from 1845, 1924 and 2007.

Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová.

Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová.
1845 recipe by Magdalena Dobromila Rettigová

  1. Cut the bread rolls into small cubes and fry in [clarified] butter until golden-brown. [Dry on paper towels and] let cool.
  2. In a bowl (an electric dough mixer in the 21st century), mix and stir fresh butter. Add six eggs, one at a time. Add a handful of flour after each egg and a tablespoon of cream. Add salt and mix properly.
  3. Add the fried bread cubes and continue to work the dough. Add enough flour to make the dough properly firm. Rettigová's test was to slap it with her hand to see if the dough stuck to the hand or not. Proper dough did not stick.
  4. Form individual balls and boil [in salted water for about 20 minutes].
  5. Remove dumplings from the water, tear into quarters, top with ground bread crust and melted fresh butter and serve.
  6. [Note that her recipe still assumed a round dumpling, not a cylinder.]

Her alternate recipe was:

  1. Dissolve 4 egg yolks in water and mix until they begin to foam. Add salt and 1/2 kg (approx. 1 lb) flour and form a dough.
  2. Cut 2 rolls into small cubes. Place cubes on top of dough, carefully pour 1/2 to 1 cup of melted butter over them and allow to rest for 2 hours.
  3. Before boiling the dumplings, roll bread cubes into the dough, and work the dough properly.
  4. Create nice size dumplings and boil uncovered [in salted water, for about 20 minutes].
  5. Remove dumplings from the water, divide into halves using a fork, top with ground bread crust and melted fresh butter and serve.


1924 recipe by Marie Janků-Sandtnerová
  • 500 g flour (approx 2 cups), sifted
  • salt
  • 1/4 l milk (approx 1 cup)
  • 1/8 l water (approx 1/2 cup)
  • 2 eggs yolks
  • 300 g butter, melted, for topping
  • 200g bread rolls, ground


  1. Stir together the egg yolks and the milk.
  2. Mix together the flour and the salt. Continue to stir and add the cold water and the milk. [In the 21st century, use a dough maker for this.] Prepare a reasonably firm dough.
  3. Cut the bread rolls into small cubes and fry them in butter. [Dry on paper towels and] let cool. When cool, add them to the dough, and let rest for 1/2 hour.
  4. Divide the dough into even portions. On a flour-coated board, make long cylindrical dumplings.
  5. Boil in salted water 15-30 minutes. During boiling, lift with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Turn them upside down halfway through the boiling process.
  6. Remove finished dumplings from the water and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp slicing knife or a strong tread, slice into even slices 1 cm thick (approx. 1/3 in). [In the 21st century, use our dumpling cutter.]
  7. Top with the melted butter and the fried breadcrumbs, and serve.

It is interesting to note the evolution here. Rettigová in her 1845 recipes still describes Czech flour dumplings as round balls, while Sandtnerová in her recipe published 79 years later already speak of dumplings as long cylinders that are boiled, then sliced.


2007 Recipe by Jiří Dienstbier (from a time emancipation reached the kitchen, and guys cook to impress the hell out of chicks).
  • 1 kg (approx. 4 cups) coarse flour
  • 8-10 stale white bread rolls, cut into cubes
  • 5 egg yolks (or whole eggs)
  • Whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Special tools: dumpling cutter


  1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Mix with the salt and place in a large bowl.
  2. Create a shallow depression in the middle of the dough, and pour in the egg yolks. (If using whole eggs, the whites will make the dumpling firmer.)
  3. Using a wooden spoon (or a bread-dough maker) mix the ingredients, while adding milk. Add enough milk to create a dough of desired consistency. The formation of air bubbles in the dough is desirable. Traditional recipes called for hand-mixing for up to half an hour. If mixing by hand, 10 minutes of elbow grease will suffice. Work the dough until it is smooth and shiny but no longer sticky.
  4. Add the bread subes; as much as possible, as much as the dough will absorb. Mix well. Cover the mixing bowl with a dish towel, place in a moderately warm place, and let rest for 2 hours.
  5. Boil salted water in a large stockpot.
  6. With hands dusted in flour, form cylinders approximately 3 by 6 inches in size. Add the dumplings to the briskly boiling water and boil approximately 20-25 minutes, making sure they do not stick to the bottom or to each other.
  7. During the boiling, the dumplings will float up to the surface. Cook 10 minutes, turn over and cook another 10 minutes to ensure they are evenly cooked.
  8. Remove from the water and slice into one of them to make sure the dumplings are cooked through. If desired, pierce dumplings with a fork to help release steam inside.
  9. To serve, slice dumplings into 1/2-inch slices with a very sharp knife, thread or a dumpling cutter.


icon Serviettenknödel
(Bread Dumpling In a Dish Towel)

Serviettenknödel is a family of coarse-grained bread dumpling, in which the ratio of bread cubes and flour is reversed as compared to the regular flour dumpling. There is more of the cubed bread in these dumplings than flour. This makes them more prone to breakup during cooking, as there is less of the sticky flour matrix holding the bread pieces together, hence the need to wrapping them in a dish towel. In some recipes, there may not be any flour at all.

Here are two recipes for Vienna Serviettenknödel, both claiming to be original. The first recipe one produces a round dumpling that is served sliced in half. The second one produced a long cylindrical ("Czech-style") dumping, that is served cut in slices. Serviettenknödel recipe from Prague

  • Several stale bread rolls, cut into small cubes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 l milk (approx 1 cup)
  • Butter
  • 1/2-1 cup coarse flour
  • Salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • Special tools: Large steamer.


  1. Cut the stale bread into small cubes, place in a large bowl and leave to dry for several hours. Do not toast them in the oven.
  2. Break the eggs into a small bowl. Add the milk and salt, and whip.
  3. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes, and mix carefully not to break up the bread.
  4. In a saucepan, melt a dollop of butter and sauté the onion and parsley. When the onion turns translucent, add the onion and parsley to the dough. Add the flour and carefully mix again.
  5. Allow to rest of 1 hour, them carefully mix again.
  6. Form individual, round, tennis-ball size dumplings. Melt some more butter and baste the dumplings on all sides. Spread paper towels or napkins, generously lined with butter, and wrap the dumplings in them.
  7. Steam the dumplings in a steamer approx. 15 minutes at 100 deg C.
  8. When the dumplings are ready, remove them from the steamer, again baste with melted butter. Cut in halves, and serve. The recipe recommends cutting the dumplings with a thin string; a good sushi knife will work well too.
  9. YIELD: Serves 4>/li>

Slight modifications, according to the recipe, may include adding ground pepper and mace.

Serviettenknödel recipe from Vienna

  • 300 g (approx. 2 cups) stale white bread rolls, or white bread
  • 1 medium onion or 2 shallots, chopped
  • 40g (1-2 tbsp) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml (1 1/4 cup) whole milk
  • 1∕4 bunch flat parsley, choppedBd glatte glatte Petersilie
  • Mace, freshly ground
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Special tools: Large steamer and dish towel for steaming the dumpling.


  1. Wash and finely chop the parsley. Cut the bread in small cubes and place in a large bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, sauté the onions or shallots in butter.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt. Add the onions or shallots, pour over the bread cubes and mix well. Add the seasonings and taste. Add the chopped parsley, mix again and allow to rest for one hour.
  4. Fill a large stock pot walh way with salted water and bring to a boil. Place a 50x40 cm sheet of cling wrap (approx. 15x20 in) over a sheet of aluminum foil of the same size. Make a long roll from the dough and place it onto the cling wrap. Just like when making sushi, roll it tightly with the combined cling-wrap/aluminum/foil sheet and tighten the two opposite ends. Traditionally, it was customary to wrap the dumpling in a cotton cloth or a cloth napkin, hence the name Serviettenknödel.
  5. Reduce the heat to a soft boil, place the dumpling in the water, and boil for approx. 30–40 minutes. Remove and let rest for about 10 minutes
  6. Slice the dumpling into 2-cm thick slices (approx. 3/4 in), optionally top with melted clarified butter, and used as a side dish to goulashes, roasted beef or beef rouladen.
  7. YIELD: Serves 4>/li>

Serviettenknödel is called Vídeňský knedlík in the Czech Republic. There is a similar dumpling in the Czech Republic called Karlovarský knedlík (Karlsbad Dumpling), which is also made from bread, milk, flour, and eggs. The texture is very similar, with large grains of bread, encased in a small amount of flour-dough matrix. The distinction between the Karlovarský knedlík and the Vienna Serviettenknödel seems to be twofold: the original Vienna Serviettenknödel was steamed rather than boiled, and ball-shaped and served cut in halves (although one of the recipes above makes a cylindrical dumpling that is served in sliced, like Czech dumplings are). The second distinction seems to be the use of mace and parsley. The first Serviettenknödel recipe claims that the original Serviettenknödel did not use these seasonings. Our recipe for the Karlsbad Dumpling uses mace and parsley, but Zdeněk Pohlreich has a recipe on his website that omits them. The taste of the Karlsbad dumpling is further enhanced also by the whipped egg whites that are folded into the dough. This is a lesser known variant of the Czech bread dumpling and also the youngest one.

Here is an interesting recipe we like, which uses more than one kind of bread rolls to give it a multi-colored look:

icon Karlovarský houskový knedlík
(Karlsbad Dumpling)


  • 8 pieces of stale bread rolls (1-2 days old, kept in a plastic bag), seeds removed from the surface, cut into small pieces. Typical rolls include kaiser rolls, small baguettes etc. Rolls of various colors are desirable as they lend a nice multi-colored look to the dumpling.
  • 5 eggs
  • 200 g coarse flour (approx. 1 cup)
  • 400-500 ml (approx. 2 cups)
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 pinches mace
  • 3 piches ground white pepper
  • 8-10 pinches of salt
  • Special tools: dumpling cutter


  1. Cut the bread rolls into small cubes.
  2. Separate the eggs yolks from the whites into to small bowls. Add the parsley, white pepper, mace, and salt to the bowl with the yolks and mix well. Add the milk and flour, and create a batter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, gently mix together the bread cubes and the batter, taking care not to break up the bread cubes. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
  4. In the other small bowl, beat the egg whites until firm. Fold into the dough in the large mixing bowl.
  5. Unlike regular bread dumplings, the Karlsbad Dupling does not have the same strength and can fall apart during boiling. Various methods are used to prevent this, the easiest one being wrapping it in a clean dish towel (or cheese cloth).
  6. Boil in salted water in a large stock pot for 20-25 minutes. The dumpling will float to the surface. Turn after 10 minutes to ensure it boils evenly. Pierce the casing or aluminum foil after 10 minutes to release pressure.
  7. To serve, slice dumplings into 1/2-inch slices using a thread or string, or a dumpling cutter.


icon Kynuté Knedlíky
(Czech Raised Dumplings)

So far, none of the Bavarian, Czech, Swabian and Tyrolean dumplings so-far used yeast. They have a dense texture and can taste a bit heavy. These raised dumplings is lighter, fluffier and more porous.


  • 1 lb flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 oz yeast
  • Special tools: dumpling cutter


  1. Sift flour, ad sugar, crumbled yeast and 1/2 cup lukewarm milk. Let set until yeast bubbles up.
  2. Add 1 tbsp salt, egg, yolk and mix until dough is smooth. Cover and let raise in a warm place.
  3. With hands dusted in flour, form elongated cylindrical objects approximately 3 by 6 inches in size.
  4. Boil salted water in a large pot. Add the dumplings to the briskly boiling water and boil approximately 20 minutes, making sure they do not stick to the bottom or to each other. During the boiling, the dumplings will float up to the surface. Cook 10 minutes, turn over and cook another 10 minutes to ensure they cook evenly.
  5. Remove from the water and slice into one of them to make sure the dumplings are cooked through. Pierce dumplings with a fork to help release steam inside, if desired.
  6. To serve, slice dumplings into 1/2-inch slices using a thread or string, or a dumpling cutter.


icon Bramborové Knedlíky
(Czech Potato Dumplings)

Potato dumplings are a relatively late addition to Central European cuisine, dating back to late 18th century. First, their creation was condition on the introduction of potatoes to Europe from the New World. Second, they made their way to dumpling making following the poor grain harvests in 1770 and 1816.


  • 2 lb potatoes
  • 8 tbsp farina
  • 10 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • Special tools: dumpling cutter


  1. Boil potatoes, then peel and mash.
  2. Add farina, flour, salt and egg. Work dough well.
  3. With hands dusted in flour, form several 2x6-inch cylindrical dumplings.
  4. Boil salted water in a large pot. Add the dumplings to the briskly boiling water and cook for 20 minutes, making sure they do not stick to the bottom or to each other.
  5. Remove from the water and slice into one of them to make sure the dumplings are cooked through.
  6. To serve, slice dumplings into 1/2-inch slices using a very sharp knife, thread or string, or a dumpling cutter.


icon Špekové Knedlíky
(Czech Dumplings With Smoked Bacon)

Unlike the traditional sliced Czech dumplings, Špekové knedlíky are round balls, similar to Tiroler Speckknödel. They were most likely transplanted to modern-day Czech Republic from Tyrol during the time of the Austrian empire.


  • 1/3 cup smoked pork, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups stale baguette, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup lard
  • 1/2 cup onions, cut into pieces
  • Salt, pepper, ground nutmeg


  1. Soak the baguette pieces in milk
  2. Melt the lard in a sauce pan and cook the pork and onions in the lard (ouch) until onions are brown.
  3. Mix the baguette, milk with the onions, lard and pork in a large bowl. Add the eggs. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, flour. Work a thick dough, adding milk or flour if needed. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes
  4. Boil salted water
  5. Divide the dough into tennis-ball size pieces and make into spheres. Cook in boiling water 25-30 minutes. Remove 1 dumpling, slice in half and test in the center. When done, remove all dumplings, slice in half and arrange on a plate.
  6. Serve the goulash mixture on the same plate, garnish, then drip the remaining lard over the dumplings.


icon Chlupaté Knedlíky
(Czech-style Spätzle)

Chlupaté Knedlíky translates literally as "Hairy Dumplings". They are tablespoon-size lumps of potato and flour dough boiled in salted water. They are generally similar to Spätzle, differing only in the use of potatoes (Spätzle are made of wheat flour).


  • 1 1/2 lb potatoes
  • 1/2 lb coarse flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt


  1. Peel the potatoes, grate and let drip. Save some of the liquid.
  2. Add salt, egg and enough flour to form a thick dough.
  3. Boil salted water in a large pot. Wet a tablespoon in the hot water and use it to carve out tablespoon-size pieces. Place dumplings in batches for 8-10 minutes, depending on size.
  4. Serve with fried bacon pieces or fried chopped onion, or as a side dish for meat roasts or smothered sauerkraut (dušené zelí).
  5. Alternatively, chlupaté knedlíky can be made from a mix of cooked and saw potatoes, much like Bavarian Potato Dumplings (Bayrische Kartoffelknödel).


icon Plněné Bramborové Knedlíky
(Potato Dumplings Filled With Ground Smoked Pork)

These dumplings are small balls, filled with meat. Depending on the filling that is used (i.e. pork drippings), these dumplings can be real artery-cloggers, so discretion is advised!

For dumplings

  • 1 1/2 lb cooked potatoes
  • 1/2 lb coarse flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil or lard
  • Salt
Filling Idea No. 1:
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or lard
  • 1/2 lbs pork drippings
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper
Filling Idea No. 2:
  • 1/2 lbs smoked pork, finely chopped or ground
  • Freshly ground pepper
Filling Idea No. 3:
  • 1/2 lb pork or beef, ground
  • 1-2 tbsp lard
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper


  1. Boil potatoes a day ahead and let rest overnight.
  2. Grate the potatoes, add flour, salt, egg and a little oil or lard. Work into a thick dough.
  3. For Filling No. 1: Fry onion in lard, add the pork drippings and add bread crumbs.
  4. For Filling No. 2: Chop or grind the pork and season with freshly ground pepper.
  5. For Filling No. 3: Brown the onion in lard. Add ground meat, salt and pepper. Brown well.
  6. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a sheet approximately 1/4 inch thick. Using a knife, divide into squares approximately 3x3 inches in size. Spoon a tablespoon-full of the filling onto each square. Using lightly flour-coated hands, fold dough and form balls.
  7. Boil salted water in a large pot. Boil for 10-12 minutes, depending on size.
  8. Serve with sauerkraut, or garnished with fried chopped onion.

Smoked pork potato dumplings with sauerkraut,
topped with fried onions.


Sweet Dumplings

Strawberry Dumplings in curd-cheese (tvaroh) dough
Fruit Dumplings

Sweet dumpling filled with fruit are a common dish in Austrian, Czech and southern German cuisine. The are and small between the size of a golf ball and an tennis ball. The dough is sweet and they are usually served topped with sugar and melted butter, but they are usually not served as a desert. They are mostly found on the menu as a main cours. Especially kids love them.

The dough could be either made of potatoes or curd cheese (quark, twarog). Quark is made by warming soured milk until the desired degree of coagulation of milk proteins is met, and then strained. It is soft, white and unaged, and usually has no salt added. The Polish word twaróg, Czech and Slovak tvaroh, the Austrian-German name Topfen (pot cheese), Flemmish plattekaas (flat cheese), the Dutch word kwark, the French fromage à la pie, are usually translated as curd cheese or cottage cheese, although curd cheese is more appropriate. This is because most commercial varieties of cottage cheese are made with rennet, whereas traditional quark is not. Quark is also distinct from ricotta because ricotta is made from scalded whey. Ricotta cheese could be substituted if absolutely desperate.

The fruit filling can be plums, apricots, strawberries, apples etc.


Jahodové knedlíky (Strawberry Dumplings).
Jahodové knedlíky (Strawberry Dumplings) from curd cheese dough


  • 1/2 lb soft curd cheese (quark, twarog), use Ricotta cheese if unavailable
  • 1/2 lb hard curd cheese for grating
  • 1/2 lb fresh sweet strawberries, clean and trimmed
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup coarse flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Salt
  • All-purpose flour, for the work surface


  1. Mix the soft curd, coarse flour, eggs and a dash of salt and knead into a dough.
  2. Divide dough into 2 halves. On a lightly floured surface, roll out into sheets no more than 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Cut out circles 3-4 inches in diameter. A large cup or a mixing bowl held upside down works well for that purpose.
  4. Place one strawberry onto each piece of dough. Seal well and form round dumplings.
  5. Boil in salted water for about 5-8 minutes, making sure they do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Remove and drain.
  6. Slice dumplings into halves. Arrange on plates, and top with melted butter, powdered sugar and grated or hard curd cheese.

Švestka (Zwetschge) from the species
Prunus domestica grown in Austria and Czech Republic.
Next is the family of plum dumplings that are found in various forms all over Central and Southern Europe. At the heart of the matter is the plum, a fruit of the species Prunus domestica) called švestka or slíva in the Czech Republic, prugna in Italy and Zwetschge in Austria. This is an important fruit, used to make Powidl (stewed plums), which is then used as a filling for buchty (Buchteln in Austria) and kolachees. The fruit can also be dried and consumed in the winter, or fermented and distilled to produce slivovice (Sliwowitz). For the uninitiated, slivovice is a clear spirit tasting a bit like Grappa. It falls in the general family of Central European Schnapps, which includes pear, apple, cherry, raspberry schnappses (demonstrating man's ability to make booze from any fruit that happens to be around). It follows that slivovice is made wherever Prunus domestica is found: from Serbia to Slovinia, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia to the Czech Republic. Commercial slivovice contains 40% alcohol, home-made slivovice can contain as much as 60%.

The genus Prunus is huge. It is one of the most popular fruit trees in the world, estimated to encompass over 2000 varieties. Botanists divide it into three main categories: the European plum, the American plum, and the Sino-Japanese plum. The European plum tree has oval leaves, rather thick and dark green in color, and blooms early, in late March or early April. The fruit is oval and varies in color from blue to yellow, with a pulp that separates well from the pit. The fruit is suitable for both fresh consumption as well as drying. The plant is native to Central Asia, specifically to the area of the Caucasus. It has been cultivated in Europe since the year 1000 AD. Today, Prunus domestica is grown in Central and Southern Europe comes in several cultivars, which vary widely in sizes, shapes and colors:

  • Zwetschge (Prunus domestica var. domestica)
  • Kriechen-Pflaume or Hafer-Pflaume (Prunus domestica var. insititia)
  • Halbzwetsche>Halbzwetsche (Prunus domestica var. intermedia)
  • Edel-Pflaume>Edel-Pflaume (Prunus domestica var. italica)
  • Spilling>Spilling (Prunus domestica var. pomariorum)
  • Ziparte (Prunus domestica var. prisca)
  • Mirabelle">Mirabelle (Prunus domestica var. syriaca)

Zwetschge-Ortenauer from Austria.

Edel-Plaume from Austria.

mirabelle from Austria.

Plums from the species
Prunus salicina grown in the United States.
Plums found in the United States are not the same as the above. Most of the fresh plums sold in North American supermarkets are cultivars belonging to the species Prunus salicina, which originates in the Far East. Prunus salicina has been widely cultivated in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Japanese cultivars of Prunus salicina were introduced into the United States in the second half of the 19th century. Subsequent American breeding produced many more cultivars, generally with larger fruit. Many of these American cultivars have been exported to other countries, including back to Japan. They are also grown on a large scale in Western Australia.

The Sino-Japanese plum tree has lance-shaped leaves, thin and pale green. The fruit is round and the pulp does not detach from the core and is soft and juicy. They are only suitable for fresh consumption.

In Italy, both Prunus domestica and Prunus salicina are grown. In translations of Italian recipes, the terms "plum" and "prune" are often used interchangeably, although this is incorrect. Italian chefs use the terms "European plums" and "Sino-Japanese plums" for Prunus domestica and Prunus salicina, respectively. Susina is a term used for fresh plums, while the term prugna seems to be reserved for dried fruits.

The two species of Prunus domestica and Prunus salicina have different characteristics and need to be considered when selecting ingredients for a recipe. Prugna is a fruit that can be purchased fresh in summer and autumn, but can also be eaten dried throughout the year. Dried prunes have a high concentration of sugars and minerals and caloric intake higher than those of the fresh fruit, but they contain less vitamins. Susina, on the other hand, is a fruit with a slightly acidic flavor due to a higher content of malic acid. The fruit contains a good amount of potassium and calcium, and a fair amount of vitamins. A wide variety of cultivars has been developed in Italy. They are generally intended for fresh consumption, or jams and other local dishes such as dumplings, allthough they can be dried as prunes. Some of them are:

  • Early June (Prunus salicina var. Early June) - a vigorous tree that produces fruit in early summer
  • Autumn Giant (Prunus salicina var. Autumn Giant) - a vigorous tree, very productive, producing very large fruit, heart-shaped, with wine-red on the surface and very waxy, with yellow flesh that is not very juicy and somewhat mediocre in flavor.
  • Sorriso di primavera (Springtime Smile_ (Prunus salicina var. Sorriso di Primavera) - very vigorous plant with high and constant productivity, small to medium size fruit, spherical tending to taper the ends, with yellow-green skin with pink undertones, very waxy skin, flesh is pale yellow, not very consistent, tight, juicy, sweet, good flavor.
  • Midnight Sun (Prunus salicina var. Red Beauty) - a variety introduced in 1990, of American origin, less susceptible to bacterial diseases, producing medium size fruit spherical in shape, with red and very waxy skin, yellow flesh, juicy, firm, with good flavor.
  • Green Sun (Prunus salicina var. XXX) - originating in California, average to very vigorous plant characterized by high productivity, producing large spherical fruit, with skin pale green skin turning yellow and then red to bright orange, with very waxy skin, with yellow, firm flesh, with excellent qualities.
  • Fortune (Prunus salicina var. Fortune) - large fruits starting intense yellow and turning bright red when ripe, round, with yellow flesh with red veins under the skin, firm, not very juicy, with medium flavor.
There is a vast variety of plums grown in northern Italy, belonging to the species Prunus salicina, Prunus domestica and Prunus cerasifera. Many of the Prunus salicina cultivars originate in the United States. The list includes: Moscina di Montepulciano, Agostana, Angeleno, Anna, Aphrodite, Bella di Lovanio, Bianca di Milano, Black Amber, Black Beauty, Black Diamond, Black Glow, Black Sun, Bluefre, Botta a Muro, Bragialla, Brarossa, Brugnon del Burcina, Burbank, California Blue, Carmen Blu, Cascolina, Ceresa di Spagna, Claudina, Coscia di Monaca, Del Rey Sun, Deldardazur, Dofi Sandra, Firenze 90, Florentia, Fortune, Fratina, Friar, Gaia, Globe Sun, Golden Globe, Green Sun, Grossa di Felisio, Howard Sun, Ivana, Jojo, Laroda, Larry Ann, Liablu, Maria Novella, Marmulegna, Massina, Midnight Sun, Mirabelle de Nancy, Morettini 355, Moscatella, Obilnaja, October Sun, Ozark Premier, Pappagona, Pazza, Precoce di Ersinger, President, Giallo della Brianza, Queen Rose, Quetsche d'Alsace, Ramassin, Red Beauty, Regina Claudia Blu, Regina Claudia d'Oullins, Regina Claudia Gialla, Regina Claudia Verde, Regina Claudia Violetta, Regina d'Italia, Reine Claude Dorèe, Ruth Gerstetter, San Francesco, San Giovanni, San Luigi, Sanacore, Sangue di Drago, Santa Clara del saluzzes, Scanarda, Scarrafona, Settembrina Ovale, Shiro, Songria 15, Stanley, Sun Gold, TC Sun, Thames, Turcona, Vaca Zebeo, Valerie, Verdacchia, Violetta Zucchella, Bbianche di Monreale, and Collina torinese.

Most of these are grown in northern Italy mostly in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, and some in Piemonte. There are also some cultivars grown further south in Tuscany, Abruzzo, Campania, Liguria, even Sicily.

Autumn Giant from Lombardy.

Sorriso di primavera from Emilia-Romagna.

Fortune from Emilia-Romagna.

Green Sun from Lombardy.

Midnight Sun from Lombardy.

Plum dumplings are found in northern Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. Because these areas were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until WWI, the rich culinary heritage of the empire extends here. They are called Gnocchi de susini. Their home base in Italy is Istria, the large peninsula in the north of the Adriatic Sea, between the cities of Trieste and Pula. It is shared by three countries: Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. The dish is clearly the Austrian Zwetschgenknödel, but with an Italian twist. The dough is the same as that of Gnocchi di patate, but these plum Gnocchi are much larger and have a juicy plum at their heart. In addition, unlike the Czech and Austrian varieties, these are baked after having been boiled. In Istria, they can be served as a first course with a topping of melted butter and grated cheese, or as a dessert topped with sugar and cinnamon. In the average Istrian family's cuisine, there is nothing more traditional than this dish. A unique aspect of Gnocchi de susini is that it can be served as either a main course or as a dessert. Here is a recipe from Trieste.


Gnocchi de susini Italian Plum Gnocchi From Potato Dough


  • 2.2 lbs potatoes
  • 12-15 plums - read the above discussion of vast variety of Italian plum cultivars, but for this dish, "Italian Prunes" are used. These are dark blue plums resembling the Austrian Zwetschgen
  • 1 cup (approx. 200 g) fine-grained flour (Italian Tipo 00, same as would be used for pizza crust)
  • 1 tbsp (30 g) butter
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • YIELD: Serves 4


  1. Boil the potatoes until tender, but not too soft, else they absorb too much water and make the dough too sticky. Let cool enough to handle. Peel and mash the potatoes and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Add the sifted flour and mix until homogeneous, slightly sticky mixture is obtained.
  3. Wash the plums, cut them in half and remove the pits. Fill the cavity left by the pit with a tsp of sugar and recompose the plums.
  4. Cut the dough into golf ball sized portions, flatten them with your hands or with a rolling pin, place a plum in the middle and wrap the dough around it. Make sure the dough is sealed well, otherwise the juice will spill out during cooking.
  5. Fill a large pot with water, add a tbsp of salt, and bring to a boil. Boil the gnocchi, in batches to prevent sticking, for 10-15 minutes. They will float to the surface when finished.
  6. In the meantime heat the oven to 350 deg F (180 deg C). Melt the butter and use some to grease a deep baking sheet or a skillet. Remove the gnocchi from the pot using a slotted spoon, and place them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and abundant cinnamon, then pour the melted butter on top. Place the pan in the oven and cook the Gnocchi for 15 min. Pour the sugary butter on top of the Gnocchi and sprinkle with some additional sugar. Serve hot.

Moving north, Austrian and Czech plum dumplings are boiled, never baked like the Italian ones, and use locally available plums belonging to the species Prunus domestica. Two types of dough can be used: either potato dough as in the Italian version, or lighter dough made of curd cheese.


Zwetschgenknödel (Plum Dumplings).
Zwetschgenknödel Austrian Plum Dumplings From Potato Dough


  • 2-3 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4-1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 plums, pitted (this being Austria, dark blue Zwetschgen from the species Prunus domestica would normally be used
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • granulated sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • YIELD: Serves 4-6


  1. Boil the potatoes in the skin. Let cool enough to be handled, peel. then let cool completely. Potatoes can be cooked a day ahead of time; the dough will stick together better.
  2. Finely grate the cold potatoes. Add the egg, pich of salt and the flour. The amount of flour may differ, depending on how moist the potatoes are. The goal is to obtain a dough that stick together nicely, yet can be rolled out and formed easily.
  3. Form the dumplings. For each dumpling, take a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll it gently in your palms to form a rough ball. Then use your thumb to create a deep indentation in the center of the ball. Place a plum in that indentation and use your fingers to mold the dough around the plum. Be sure to completely envelope the plum in dough.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Gently drop the dumplings into the water, making sure that they do not stick together. Boil over high heat, until the dumplings all float to the top, about 15 minutes. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon.
  5. While the dumplings are boiling, melt the butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until the breadcrumbs are golden and fragrant.
  6. To serve, split the dumplings and top with plenty of breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to taste.


Next is a Czech recipe, generally similar to the Austrian one except it omits the breadcrumbs, and uses a topping of sour cream and ground poppy seeds.

Švestkové knedlíky (Plum Dumplings).
Švestkové knedlíky - Czech Plum Dumplings From Potato Dough


  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 lb semi-coarse flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 lb plums (dark blue švestky from the species Prunus domestica would normally be used)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 70 g (3-4 tbsp) rozpuštěného másla
  • Ground poppy seeds and confectioner's sugar, for garnish
  • YIELD: Serves 4


  1. Boil the potatoes in the skin. Let cool enough to be handled, peel. then let cool completely. Potatoes can be cooked a day ahead of time; the dough will stick together better.
  2. Finely grate the cold potatoes. Add the 2 eggs, pich of salt and the flour. The amount of flour may differ, depending on how moist the potatoes are. The goal is to obtain a dough that stick together nicely, yet can be rolled out and formed easily.
  3. Clean the plums. The can be pitted or left whole, based on your preference. Pitted plums will release juice during boiling. In that case, prepare the dough a bit thicker.
  4. Boil water in a large pot. Roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thickness (1/5 in). Divide into palm-size pieces, place a plum onto each of them, and form round dumplings. Carefully place the dumplings in boiling water and boil, covered, approximately 5 minutes. When they are finished, they will float to the surface. Boiling the dumplings covered gives them a fluffy character.
  5. While the dumplings are boiling, in a bowl, mix the sour cream with the ground poppy seeds and confectioner's sugar.
  6. When the dumplings are finished and swim on top of the boiling water, remove them from the water using a slotted spoon, place in a large bowl, and pierce each with a toothpick. Pour melted butter over them to prevent sticking.
  7. Serve dumplings in 3-4s, topped with more melted butter and the sour cream with poppy seeds.
  8. As with the dumplings made from curd cheese, other fruit can be used as a filling, including apples, pears of apricots.


Švestkové knedlíky (Plum Dumplings).
Švestkové knedlíky - Czech Plum Dumplings From Curd Cheese Dough


  • 1/2 lb soft curd cheese (tvaroh) - use cottage cheese if not available
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 lb semi-coarse flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 30 g butter (approx. 2-3 tbsp)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 lb plums
  • 1 part melted butter, for garnish
  • 1 part grated hard curd cheese, for garnish
  • 1 part confectioner's sugar, for garnish
  • YIELD: Serves 4


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the curd cheese, broken up into small pieces, the flour, milk, egg and butter. Using a wooden spoon, prepare a smooth dough.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Wash the plums, cut in halves and remove the pits.
  3. Take small lumps of the dough and wrap the plum halves into each one. make sure the whole fruit is well encased in the dought.
  4. Drop the ready-made dumplings into the boiling water, stir often to prevent sticking. Boil for 5-7 minutes. The dumplings will float to the surface when done.
  5. Serve garnished with grated curd cheese, sugar and melted butter.


Meruňkové knedlíky, Marillenknödel
(Apricot Dumplings).
Meruňkové knedlíky, Marillenknödel (Apricot Dumplings) from potato dough

Apricot dumplings are a pastry found in Austrian and Czech cuisine. They are very common especially in the apricot-growing areas, such as southern Moravia, the Wachau Valley in Lower Austria, or Val Venosta in South Tyrol. Marillen is an Austrian-German word for "apricots" (the word Aprikosen would be used in the rest of the German-speaking world). These are small dumplings made of either potato dough or curd-cheese dough, ball-shaped and filled with pitted apricots. The dumplings are boiled in water and, in many parts of Austria, rolled in browned bread crumbs, and served sprinkled with powdered sugar. The same recipe can be used also for plum dumplings (Zwetschgenknödel) or Cherry dumplings (Kirschenknödel).


Wachauer Marillenknödel
(Austrian-Style Apricot Dumplings).
Wachauer Marillenknödel (Apricot Dumplings From Wachau)

In the Wachau area of Upper Austria, a region with moderately warm climate along the Danube River, there is a specific recipe that uses potato dough and coats the dumplings in toasted breadcrumbs.


  • 16-20 small apricots
  • 1 lb potatoes, cooked
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt
  • 1/2 lb flour
  • 3 1/2 tbsp coarse wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup Marzipan
  • Butter
  • Bread crumbs, toasted
  • Powdered sugar (for garnish)


  1. Wash and dry the apricots. Remove pits.
  2. Knead together marzipan and sugar, and use the mixture to fill the apricots with.
  3. Grate the potatoes and let rest.
  4. Mix together liquefied butter, salt, yolks and coarse wheat flour, and work into a dough.
  5. Form a roll and slice it up into slices about 1 inch thick.
  6. Roll out each slice into a circle - 1/4 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter.
  7. Place an apricot onto each piece of dough. Seal well and form round dumplings.
  8. Boil in salted water for about 12-15 minutes.
  9. Drain dumplings and let drip. Roll them in toasted breadcrumbs and coat evenly.
  10. Top with melted butter and powdered sugar


Klasické české meruňkové knedlíky (Czech Apricot Dumplings)

In the Wachau area of Upper Austria, a region with moderately warm climate along the Danube River, there is a specific recipe that uses potato dough and coats the dumplings in toasted breadcrumbs.


  • 1 lb soft curd cheese
  • 1/2 lb of coarse flour
  • 14 small ripe apricots, (pitted by not halved)
  • Grated hard curd cheese, melted butter and suger, for garnish
  • YIELD: Serves 4 (total of 14 dumplings)


  1. Mix together the curd cheese and flour.
  2. Divide the dough into 14 equal pieces. Wrap an apricot into each one, making the fruit is completely encased in the dough.
  3. Boil water in a large pot. Drop the ready-made dumplings into the boiling water cook until they float up to the surface, plust 1-2 minutes.
  4. Serve 3-4 o a plate, garnished with the grated hard curd cheese, melted butter and sugar.


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Last updated: August 8, 2015

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