In the Czech Kitchen: Make Café Savoy's perfect strawberry dumplings at home

Tips and tricks from Ambiente chefs for perfecting this Czech classic will turn ordinary dumplings into a gastronomic experience.

Klára Kvitová

Written by Klára Kvitová Published on 09.06.2023 15:30:00 (updated on 18.06.2023) Reading time: 4 minutes

The fruit-dumpling tradition belongs to Austro-Hungarian cuisine, but has particularly strong roots in the Czech kitchen. Czech dumplings can be conjured from farmer's cheese, yeast, semolina, or potato dough. Just in time for strawberry season, Chef Martin Čáslavka from Prague's legendary Café Savoy told us his secrets for making dumplings that are bursting with fruit flavor.

A brief history of the fruit dumpling

In the past, dumplings were cooked without filling and served with fruit sauce, but later they were filled with fruit (mostly plums) and eaten with farmer's cheese (quark) and poppy seeds, butter, or cream. One of France's greatest gourmets, Édouard de Pomiane, declared plum dumplings to be one of the ten best dishes in the world. 

The Czech word "knedlík" (dumpling) comes from the German "knödel," which in turn comes from the medieval "knode" (knot), but dumplings were also known as "šišky" (pine cones) in the Czech language for a long time.

In the distant past, this was the name given to balls of dough that were fried and baked. Flour, which was considered a luxury ingredient in pastries, was not typically added to recipes until the 17th century. It was around this time that the first mention of a recipe for dumplings appeared in Czech cuisine.

The Café Savoy version utilizes tvaroh (quark, or farmer's cheese), semolina, and eggs as well as fragrant butter, sweet strawberry pieces, and a surprising sprinkle of fresh herbs for added flavor.

chef's tips and tricks for getting the perfect dumplings

  • Use good quality tvaroh (quark). This ensures full flavor and the right texture. You want to work with a wet, sticky, easy-to-shape mass. Have extra semolina on hand and use it to firm up the dough if needed.
  • Use semolina to prevent drying. When prepping dumplings in advance place filled dumplings in a container atop a 1-cm layer of semolina and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  • Seasonal fresh fruit is a must. Cut fruit to the same size to ensure even cooking and pleasing aesthetics. Fruit should be hidden in dough that's about half a centimeter thick to ensure the filling stands out.
  • Dumplings go straight to the pot from the fridge. Submerge them all at once to ensure they cook thoroughly without getting soggy. (You may need to gently separate them to prevent sticking.) Water should be lightly salted and boiling, but not bubbling. Boiling water jostles the dumplings and causes the fruit to release dough-tearing steam.
  • Set a timer as soon as the dumplings go in. Don't just wait for them to float to the surface! Cooking depends on size and type of fruit used. For strawberry dumplings cook 7 minutes; plum dumplings need 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Don't use a spaghetti spoon to remove the dumplings. A sharp tool is likely to damage the delicate dough as you poke around cloudy water. A slotted spoon is best for scooping out your dumplings.
  • Finish off Café Savoy style. Serve on a bed of grated farm-fresh curds (lisovaný tvaroh) from Savoy's favorite Krasolesi dairy, tossed with vanilla sugar made from leftover vanilla pods. Sugar crystals give the dish sweetness and crunch. Garnish with fresh fruit and finish off with a drizzle of melted butter for absolute perfection.

Strawberry dumplings by Café Savoy


  • 160 g krupička (a fine semolina, you can use the Czech store brand Anička z Předměřice, for example)
  • 5 g salt
  • 500 g soft, full fat tvaroh (Czech quark or farmer's cheese)
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 strawberries

To each plate add:

  • 100 g grated tvaroh (quark)
  • Vanilla sugar, to taste
  • 2 or 3 fresh strawberries
  • Melted butter, to drizzle


  • 1.In a bowl, mix quark, egg, salt, and semolina. Set aside.
  • 2.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Clean and hull strawberries, and cut larger ones in half if needed.
  • 3.Roll the dough into a 5-6 cm diameter log on a floured surface without excessive kneading.
  • 4.Slice pieces of dough from the roll and flatten them in your palm. Place a strawberry in the center, cover it with dough, and shape it into a round dumpling. See video here.
  • 5.Carefully place the dumplings in gently boiling water (see chef's tip above) and cook for about 7 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain excess water, and serve drizzled with melted butter and icing sugar.

Serving suggestions

  • Finish strawberry dumplings with chopped mint, basil, tarragon, or lemon balm.
  • Blueberry dumplings also benefit from a hint of mint, and apricot dumplings like melted butter and a little nutmeg.
  • Serve with flavored butter including any kind of herbed butter or add a drizzle of honey to your melted butter.
  • Substitute strawberries for rhubarb or fill the dough with blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, apricots, or cherries. Cut the tartness of the fruit with a little sugar or lemon juice.

In the Czech Kitchen is a weekly column written in cooperation with the culinary experts from Ambiente. Established in 1995, the Prague-based collective of pubs, restaurants, and fine-dining outlets has transformed the Czech culinary landscape and lent to the widespread awareness of quality food service and production in Czechia. Follow their socials or book your table at

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