Cooking Czech with Charity: Fruit Dumplings

I am of those who believe "if you can read, you can cook"--and I can definitely read.  Yesterday, I made spinach pastries due to still having frozen spinach.  Right now, I have a lot of apricots.  My dear friend Jana H. and I spent the afternoon together this week, first having a lunch of fruit dumplings and then enjoying a walk together.  Her in-laws grow various fruits and vegetables and bestow them on her and her husband when in season, and right now apricots are in season.  So I helped her with the final step as she made us fruit dumplings and when I left, I left with at least 30 apricots.  My roomie is out of town, and I am only in this country for 4 more days, so I needed to act fast.  I asked Jana for her recipe and today, in honor of Jan Hus and summer, I cooked them up.  So, for your culinary pleasure, I now share the recipe and photos with you.

First, I went to the grocery store for necessary ingredients.  I already had 1 egg, apricots (other fruits can be used as well), butter, and powdered sugar.  But, I needed to go to the store to get 250 g tvaroh, 250 g potatoes (about 5 small), and 250 g of course flour.  All in all, my grocery run cost me 31 kč ($1.50).  I was concerned about figuring out the weight of the potatoes, so I used the scale in the produce section and bought exactly as many as I needed.  Once home, I set to work.

1. Peel and boil the potatoes.

2. Mash potatoes and combine with 250 g tvaroh, 1 egg, and 250 g course flour.
Fortunately, Ash has a measuring cup that has a special scale on the side for grams of flour.  It turned out to be about 8.25 oz. or 1.75 cups.  Tvaroh is like Czech cream cheese.  It seems similar in consistency to whipped cream cheeses that I've seen in the States.  After mashing the potatoes, I first added the tvaroh and egg and then gradually folded in the flour.
3. The result should be a sticky dough.  Next, with regular flour handy, wrap the dough around the apricots.  First make a small ball of dough and cover half the apricot, then form another small ball, and cover the rest, connecting the two hemispheres of dough.  It's sticky, but it needs to be in order for the dough to cling to the apricots.  I did not pit my apricots, though you probably could.  I only made five because I didn't want the temptation of eating more.  When Jana used this recipe, I think she was able to make 18 dumplings.

4. Place the dumplings in just boiling salted water, careful not to allow them to stick to the bottom of the pot.  Meanwhile, you can melt some butter.  I actually just covered the pot and set the saucepan out in the sun for the butter to melt.
5. Boil for about 8 minutes or until the dumplings swim to the surface.
6. Remove the dumplings and place them in a strainer.  Serve the dumplings covered with powdered sugar and melted butter.
7. Dobrou chut'

PS-I saw Jana briefly yesterday, and she gave me sauerkraut and 2 kohlrabi.  Let the culinary adventures continue.


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