Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

buchty, sweet buns made with an enriched yeast dough, have the most iconic resonance of any sweet food in the Czech repertoire. During the nineteenth-century period of national revival, they featured in folk songs and tales as a culinary avatar for honest rural virtue, and to some degree they still do. To make buchty, the farmwife (neither men nor city folk could possibly have the right knack) fills pockets of butter- or lard-enriched yeast dough with sweetened farmer’s cheese, ground poppy seeds, or fruit (both fresh and fruit butters were once popular though now prune butter is most common). These pockets are arranged side by side on a generously buttered pan so that they rise into square or rectangular pastries. Buchty were typically eaten as a meal, perhaps preceded by a bowl of soup, or as a substantial snack. Cookbooks prior to the mid-nineteenth century sometimes give recipes for boiled buchty that are almost indistinguishable from dumplings, but this type is now almost unheard of.