Kaspressknödel – cheese dumplings

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Deliciously simple pan-fried cheese patties, using left-over bread and a few staple ingredients.

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These Austrian patties (technically, dumplings) are so easy to make and they really showcase modest ingredients: cheese, onions, eggs, left-over or stale bread…….nothing fancy, but these everyday ingredients come together to give a stunning savoury treat.

I only came across Kaspressknödel recently when one of my students made these as part of her Food project on international cuisine.

I looked up various recipes, made quite a few adaptations and have a recipe that has since proved very popular whenever I have made these for others at demos both at school and online.

Kaspressknödel are perfect served warm as they are or topped with a little crispy bacon – perhaps with a poached or fried egg or two…….

But in keeping with their dumplingyness, they are also delicious made into small balls, fried off as in the recipe and added to a hot broth.

They make a terrific spiced version

You can add spices: curry spices work very well indeed here, as do harissa spices: just a tablespoon or so of curry paste or a couple of teaspoons of curry powder to the mixture, for example.

I like to top spiced Kaspressknödel with prawns mixed with toasted cumin, fresh mango and lime – so refreshing!

Use whatever bread and cheese need using up

I’ve made several batches of this, varying the breads and cheeses. Pretty much any bread or cheese works here. My favourite cheeses here are Comté or Gruyère, but the strong saltiness of Parmesan is fabulous too.

I have had delicious results using the following breads:

  • standard sliced white
  • ciabatta
  • bagels
  • pitta
  • naan
  • croissants

I occasionally toast the bread for even more flavour, but using the bread as it is works terrifically.

Rustically charming!

This is a rustic dish, so dollopping spoonfuls into the pan and letting them shape themselves is very much the order of the day.

However, if you want a touch of refinement, you can spoon them into small metal pastry cutter rings and remove after a few seconds before repeating.

Recipe: Kaspressknödel – makes about 16

  • about 100g stale or dry bread, torn into small chunks
  • 60g cheese of choice, cut into small cubes
  • 30g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 100ml slightly warm milk
  • 1 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to season
  • a couple of tablespoons vegetable oil for pan-frying

(1) Mix the ingredients, apart from the oil, in a bowl. Leave for about 20-30 minutes to allow the bread to soak up the milk.

(2) Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and add spoonfuls of the mixture, a little apart. Use teaspoons for mini canapé-style, which will give about 16, or use tablespoons to give 4-5 larger ones.

(3) Fry for 2-3 minutes before turning over and cooking for a further 2-3 minutes.

They are now ready to eat or you can cook them now and reheat at about 160C for about 10 minutes.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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