Since Jan and I both love a good sale, sometimes we come home with a lot of a certain ingredient. Because it was such a good deal, right? This week it was blueberries, and after deciding on French toast topped with blueberries for breakfast, I pondered what my next blueberry dish should be. And then the answer literally fell right in front of me. Opening up the refrigerator to get the butter for frying my French toast, out tumbled a package of light cream cheese.
I thought back to when Jan took me to his hometown of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic several years ago. We stayed several days downtown in the Hotel Astoria, a spa hotel run by Jan’s aunt. The hotel was beautifully situated and serene, but we felt a bit out of place among the age 70 and up guests there for spa treatments in the healing waters of the hot springs. But no matter. We were delighted by regularly scheduled breakfast and supper served in the dining room. Breakfast was done buffet style, while dinner was one chosen dish per day. Some of the hotel guests were on strict diet regimens to go along with their spa treatments, but we were allowed the “regular” meals, thank goodness!
One night, the dinner meal was dumplings, something I’d begun to get accustomed to quickly in the Czech Republic. But these were different—they were sweet dumplings filled with fruit, topped with melted butter with sugar, as well as whipped cream. Not one to turn away dessert at any time of the day, I cut through the doughy outside and into the warm dumpling to find a simple strawberry inside.
Now I’ve happened upon a lot of great food discoveries through Jan’s being Czech. It’s usually always the same thing too—I hear about a dish, think it sounds weird, try it, and then love it. I should probably just skip the first two steps and go straight into raving about it, but it’s hard to change old habits.
The meal of fruit dumplings is commonly eaten for dinner, and fruits inside usually consist of strawberries, apricots and plums. The entire fruit is wrapped with dough(and in the case of apricots and plums, pit removed first), then boiled. And because the only added sugar comes from the melted butter-sugar topping and/or whipped cream, it’s not overly sweet.
So when the cream cheese threw itself at me and I was staring at several packs of blueberries, I knew it was finally time to tackle making fruit knedliky, or dumplings (borůvkové knedlíky = blueberry dumplings). I adapted a recipe from The Czechoslovak Cookbook by Joza Brizova.
I made the dough by creaming together butter, cream cheese and egg. I added flour and milk, then formed the dough around about 12 blueberries, sealing all the edges. I cooked the dumplings in boiling water for about 5-8 minutes, until each one floated to the top of the boiling water. The dumplings were served with melted butter with sugar added to it, along with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream. This recipe makes about 12 dumplings. Jan and I ate them as our dessert after a hearty American meal of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, but the Czech way is to eat them for the dinner meal.
Note: be careful when cutting into the dumplings with a fork—the blueberries have a tendency to explode, sending a burst of blue onto your surrounding table and/or clothing.
Blueberry-Cream Cheese Dumplings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg
- ½ cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup milk
- Fresh fruit such as apricots, cherries, plums, strawberries, or blueberries
- Cream together butter, cream cheese, and egg.
- Slowly add the flour and milk.
- Set the dough out on a floured surface, and break off pieces (about 1 tablespoon size) of dough.
- Flatten into a circle, then place fruit on top and wrap the dough around the fruit, sealing the edges well. For blueberries, use about 12 blueberries per dumpling.
- Cook in boiling water for 5-8 minutes, until the dumplings float to the surface (make sure the dough is not stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Serve while hot, topped with desired toppings: whipped cream, butter with sugar, and/or vanilla ice cream.
- May be re-heated later in the microwave (just be sure to poke holes in them with a fork).