Fiction-Food Café

June 14, 2016

Knedle (Plum Dumplings) | Houdini & Doyle

          I've really been enjoying the new FOX show "Houdini & Doyle", starring Michael Weston as Harry Houdini and Stephen Mangum as Arthur Conan Doyle. It's a historical fiction drama that follows the friendship of these two famous characters, the former a spiritual sceptic and the later a hoper and believer in the beyond, as they help solve crimes for Scotland Yard. "Houdini & Doyle" is a joint British, Canadian, and American production and it's only 10 episodes long for the first season–I hope it gets a season 2 order!

          Last Monday's episode, titled "The Monsters of the Nethermoor" (S1EP6), saw Houdini enjoying some homemade knedle (roughly pronounced "k-ned-luh"), a Central and Eastern European potato dumpling with a plum center, from an elderly Slavic woman named Marta (Martha). Having been born in Budapest, Hungary, it was a real treat for Harry.

Marta: Houdini? What kind of a name is that?

Houdini: A stage name. I was born Erich Weiss.

Marta: A Jew. You must try my knedle.

Houdini: You make knedle?

Doyle: What's "knedlay"?

Houdini: Knedle. [takes bite] Perfect.

–"The Monsters of the Nethermoor", S1EP6, "Houdini & Doyle"

Concerning the scene with the knedle, one viewer had this important question for Mr. Weston:

Note: Knedle is most often made with fresh plums like damsons or other small plum varieties, but I could only find the large ones, common to American grocery stores. Because they were too large for knedle and cutting them in half produced too much juice and gooeyness in the final product (at least for me), I decided to use dried plums instead. They work great and come to find out, dried plums are totally acceptable in this traditional dish :).

Knedle (Potato & Plum Dumplings)

2 Large Potatoes (or 3 medium)
2 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cup Flour (+ more for dusting & kneading)
6 Tbsp. Butter, cubed
3/4 Cup Plain Bread Crumbs
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon (optional)
16-20 Dried, Pitted Plums OR Damson Plums or other small plums, pitted
16-20 Sugar Cubes OR, if you can't find them, sprinkle in a little bit of granulated sugar instead.

1. Dough: Cut the potatoes into large chunks & put them in a large pot. Cover with lightly salted cold water & bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Drain, let cool enough to handle, & then peel the skins off (it's so easy once they're cooked!).
2. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes along with the butter & 1/4 tsp. salt, until smooth. Add in the eggs & stir to combine. Gradually add in the flour, stirring well until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface (it will be sticky!) & knead with floured hands until smooth & slightly elastic. Let rest while you bring a very large pot of water + 1 tbsp oil to a boil & work on the next steps.
3. Topping: In a frying pan over medium-low heat, melt the cubed butter & then pour in the breadcrumbs. Stir & cook until the crumbs turn golden brown. Remove from heat & stir in the brown sugar & cinnamon. Spread the crumbs out in the pan & set aside until needed.
4. Filling: Open the dried plums & place 1 sugar cube inside of each one. With floured fingers, break off a palm-sized ball of potato dough & flatten in out either in your hand or on a floured surface. Place 1 sugar-filled dried plum onto the center of the dough & then wrap the dough edges up & around it to seal it in. Gently roll it in your floured hands to make a ball or egg shape & set it on a plate or tray until all of the dough is used up by repeating the process.
5. Using a slotted spoon, lower the dough balls into the boiling water & cook for 10-12 minutes, or until all of the balls are floating at the tops of the water. Gently remove the knedle to a mesh strainer to drain & let cool off enough to handle. Roll each knedle in the browned crumbs (or simply sprinkle the crumbs over the knedle) & place on/in a serving dish.


  1. Seems so yummy..Would love to try this soon.

  2. I love knedle! I'm from Poland so it's quite common dish there. You should try one with apricots or pears -delicious!

  3. very nice blog about food . i like it and want share with my family and friends ..
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