Tasty Traditions: Knedle sa Sljivama (Plum Dumplings)

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This sweet European treat is a scrumptious dessert full of delicious flavors, and goes well with coffee or even a plum brandy. From Croatia to Serbia, this Balkan treat known as knedle sa sljivama (pronounced keh-NAID-lay sah SHLI-vah-mah), is a simple-yet-yummy delight.




  • 1/2 to 3/4 stick (2 to 3 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1 to 2 cups medium or fine plain bread crumbs (may use a mixture of white and whole-wheat)

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (may use light brown sugar)

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)


  • 10 to 12 Italian prune plums

  • 6 medium red or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • Salt

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or safflower oil)

  • 1 to 3 tablespoons flour


For the topping: In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Gradually add 1 cup of the bread crumbs, then 1/4 cup to 1/2 of the sugar, stirring to combine thoroughly. Taste (the mixture should not be too sweet) and add more bread crumbs or sugar, as desired. Add the cinnamon or vanilla extract, if desired. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

For the dumplings: Wash the plums and pit them by cutting a small slit along one side of the fruit, then pressing on each end. The pit should pop out easily if the plums are ripe. Set aside.

Place the potatoes in a large pot of lightly salted water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cooking for about 15 minutes, until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain and process through a potato ricer and transfer to a large bowl, or place the potatoes in a food processor and pulse until lump-free. Add the egg, a pinch or two of salt to taste and the vegetable or safflower oil, mixing well. Gradually add just enough flour, so that the potato dough becomes firm enough to hold its shape when formed around each plum. Enclose each plum in a thin, even 1/8-inch layer of dough by rolling the fruit individually in your hands. (You may have some dough left over.) At this point, the dumplings can be covered and refrigerated for up to 6 hours.

When ready to cook, bring 2 quarts of water barely to a boil (not a rolling boil) over medium-high heat. Cook the dumplings, working in batches, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they float to the surface. (If the fruit splits during the cooking, that’s okay.) Using a slotted spoon, drain slightly and transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle topping generously over the dumplings or roll the dumplings in the topping to coat. Serve warm.

If you’d rather just watch a video for this Balkan dessert:



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