"I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it"

W. Shakespeare

We follow paths and roads in life that separates us from what we call home. The place that inhabits all your childhood memories. The place in which first hug, first dream, first smile happened. After some years home becomes a feeling. A warm "aide-memoir" of your existence. A trip to Schladming on a magical winter day was a reminder of what home is my mind. A walk in the forest, chasing snow flakes, the prelude of a love story with a city I have visited for the first time but felt like home since always.

Schladming is a small town lying at the foot of the mountains in Styria, loved for winter-sports and hiking. The settlement dates back from 12th century and has Slavic roots. It encloses an old parish church built in the name of St. Achiatus. The construction was firs documented in 1299. Its bell tower ends with a tall "onion helmet" raising up to the skies, competing like with the surrounding peaks. The High Altar is a wonderful representation of a Baroque style, made by Peter Hafner and Martin Neuberg at the begining of 18th century.

Snowy days are always an opportunity for comfort and home gatherings. Woollen pullovers, mittens, long socks, the wish for warmth is a requisite that guides us through the winter. Seasonal food dishes are following the same path: thicker broths, heavier meats, luscious preserves which are not only providing the right nutrients for cold days but also give us the warm feeling of being protected from the wrathful weather.

This time of the year Christians are usually fasting, preparing themselves to receive in purity Easter's blessings. Although the principle behind fasting is the same, the Catholic traditions are milder than the Orthodox ones, simply because the only not allowed food is meat while Orthodox rule assumes a "vegan" diet (no diaries, eggs or meat). Still for the one who is fasting, he is deprived of the joy of tasting the "forbidden" ingredients. To compensate the "un-hapiness" that one might get by restraining his food choices, people found alternative motivations. Germknodel is a very good example. A very large dumpling that makes your plate a delightful site to see. A rich texture and flavour, aiming to surprise you with its plum and Rum filling.

The dumpling is usually served in a bath of sauce: either vanilla sauce or beurre noisette. Both French sauces belonging more to a haut cuisine profile than to a "homy" kitchen. The flavours are mixing very well together, a delight even if you are not fasting. Delicious warm comfort food for winter days ...or even spring ! :)


A delicious and fluffy wintery dessert. The recipe below serves 4.


250g flour (universal type)

30g + 1 tsp caster sugar

1/2 tsp fine salt

12g fresh yeast (germ)

120g milk (warm)

1 egg

1/2 lemon (zest)

30g melted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract (used homemade vanilla extract: 12 vanilla beans infused in 750ml pure spirit like vodka, for min 4 weeks)

100g Powidl (low sugar thick plum jam)

1 tsp Rum

100g crushed poppy seeds

Icing sugar


150g unsalted butter (80% fat)


Combine the flour, salt, sugar and lemon zest in your usual kneading bowl (a wide-mouth bowl preferably from glass or ceramics). Set aside.

Mix 1 tsp of sugar with 12 g of fresh yeast until you reach a moist composition (the yeast is starting to ferment in the presence of sugar). Pour in the warm milk and stir .

Add the yeast & milk  to the flour mixture along with melted butter, vanilla extract and 1 beaten egg. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Use your hands in the end to gather the dough into a round ball. Cover the kneading bowl with a clean cotton kitchen napkin and leave to rest for 60min (preferably near a source of moderate heat). The dough will double its content during this time.

Meanwhile mix the poppy seeds with some icing sugar and set aside for decoration.

For beurre noisette, melt the 150g butter in a pan on a low to medium heat until it gets a brown-ish colour ( to be more precise, your butter will turn from golden yellow to a pale yellow, then to a warm brown colour with small brown bits of milk solids on the bottom of the pan) Stir from time to time that the butter does not burn. For a clarified sauce filter your beurre noisette using a sieve. The flavour is so rich - roasted hazelnuts and caramel. Delicious ! :)

Place the leavened dough on a floured surface and shape it again in form of a ball. With a dough cutting knife make 4 equal parts. Flatten and stretch with your fingers each 1/4, preparing it for the filling. Mix the plum jam with the rum and add 1 teaspoon in the middle of the 1/4 part. Gather the corners of the dough to close the jam inside and turn the dumpling upside down.

For steaming I used the usual asian bamboo steamer. Place the dumpling into a steamer, lined with parchment paper, and leave to steam for 20-25min.

Once done, place the dumpling on your serving plate, add beurre noisette and poppy seed mixture. Enjoy!

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