Sul-ance od Babicky: Potato Dumplings with Poppy Seeds and Plums
Sul’ance od Babicky
An unusual, delightful dessert, if a bit on the heavy side. This recipe should serve 4-6 people. You can read more about poppy seeds here.
For the dumplings:
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1.5 cups of flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup toasted, crushed poppy seeds (use a mortar and pestle or food processor)
For the butter sauce:
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup fine bread crumbs, toasted
- ½ cup plumbs (Damson plums, used in Slovakia, are the size of large grapes)
- Boil the potatoes, skin on, cool, remove skins and then mash with a ricer in a large bowl; do not over mix
- Crush the poppy seeds and add a bit of water to it to make a stiff paste and set aside.
- Toast the bread crumbs briefly in a dry frying pan and set aside.
- Make a well in the mashed potatoes, then add the egg and flour, and mix well until you have a dough-like consistency.
- Turn the dough onto a floured board, and break it into 5 equal size parts
- Roll each piece of dough gently into a log about 1 inch thick and six inches long
- With your finger, hollow out each piece lengthwise, and spoon in about 2 tbsp of the poppy seeds inside the hollow of each log.
- Pinch the sides of the dough around the poppy seeds, and roll it in your hands to reform the log
- Cut each log into 6 pieces, about 1 inch long each, and pinch the ends of the small pieces together to seal the poppy seeds inside.
- Rapidly boil a large pot of water and drop the dumplings in for up to 5 minutes, until they float to the top of the pot.
- Melt the butter for the sauce in a large bowl, place the dumplings in the bowl and stir carefully to coat them.
- Place several dumplings on a plate, sprinkle with sugar and the toasted bread crumbs, and serve alongside 2-3 stewed plums (recipe below).
I recommend going to a health food store or a European style market to buy the poppy seeds in bulk, as the little jars sold in the spice section of the grocery store are expensive and not nearly enough.
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 pounds damson plums, if you can find them, pitted
- Combine sugar, water and cinnamon stick.
- Boil for a couple of minutes, until thick.
- Add plums and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer the plums for about 10 minutes, or until the plums are tender.
Damson plums are small, oval shaped plums that are popular in Eastern Europe. They have a high sugar content, and are used to make the Slovak brandy, Slivovica (also delicious, by the way). I’ve seen the plums a couple of times in Wegman’s grocery store in the Washington, DC area. If you can’t find them, I suggest using the smallest plum you can find, stewing them with extra sugar, and serving 1 per person, cut in half before serving.