Although this dessert has regained popularity in inland Croatia in recent years, especially during the December Advent Festival, Germknödel (or germknedle in Croatian) was once a treat often served at ski resorts across Austria, and it probably came to Croatia from there. As the name suggests, Germknödel is considered a speciality of Austrian, Bavarian and even Czech cuisine. It comes in the form of yeast dough dumplings filled with home-made plum jam or marmalade and served with a vanilla and ground poppyseed sauce.
To make the dough, dry yeast needs to be melted in warm milk and mixed with flour, sugar, butter, eggs, lemon zest and the remainder of the milk. The dough is then left to rise in a warm spot. After the dough has risen, it is kneaded, divided into smaller parts, shaped into balls and rolled out. After that, the rolled-out balls are covered with plum jam or marmalade, the edges of the dough are pressed and stuck together tightly, and the whole thing is once again shaped into balls.
The Germknödel is traditionally steamed, but it can also be boiled in salted water. Once steamed or boiled, the dumplings are covered with a delicious vanilla sauce made from milk, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla pods. When there is no vanilla at hand, the Germknödel can be topped with melted butter, sprinkled with a mix of ground poppy seeds and powdered sugar before serving.
Since this is a relatively large dessert made of soft yeast dough that combines the sweet and sour flavours of jam, vanilla and poppy, and is served warm, it is meant to be a filling treat that warms up the person that eats it. There are various modern-day versions of the dessert filled and covered with chocolate, but older generations will particularly appreciate jam made from home-grown plums.