Monday, March 21, 2011


Palt is a Swedish potato dumpling stuffed with meat (usually pork).  I am not Swedish but my in laws are.  I learned to make palt when my ex's maternal grandmother came to visit us years ago.  I had seen my mother-in-law make it but Grandma Johnson had me help her so I know how to make it.  I don't have a recipe to follow as I make it by feel just like Grandma Johnson showed me. 

I am including the recipe from Treasured Recipes - 70th Anniversary of the Bethesda Lutheran Church - 1911 - 1981 so you have a starting point.

5 c grated potatoes or use a blender
4 c flour - approx.
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Mix grated potatoes, salt, flour and baking powder to form a dough, stiff enough to handle.

Put a large spoonful of dough in hand and pat out enough to make room for filling.  (Diced bacon, side pork or hamburger, or mix together as you wish)  Form dough around meat and pinch and roll to form ball shape.

Drop into boiling water (salted).  Cook 45 min. to 1 hr.  If you don't want a filling you can form into patties and cook as usual.  Flour may have to be varied (more or less).  Practice makes perfect.  Serve with butter, syrup or whatever.  Recipe can be doubled.


So now here's my palt recipe.  I use lean hamburger for my filling.  I add salt and pepper and roll the hamburger into golf ball size meatballs.  My mother-in-law used side pork either alone chopped up or mixed with hamburger.  I found it too greasy for my liking but I guess it is a matter of taste and what you are used to.

Peel and grate potatoes.  I now use my food processor to grate them as it is much easier.  Squeeze out some of the liquid or your batter will turn a pinkish colour from the potato starch.

Mix together potatoes and flour until you have a sticky dough.  I used to do this by hand but now use my Cuisinart.  I also add some water so I can add more flour so it is more dough like instead of grated potato texture.

Have a bowl of water available because once you start making the palt, you won't want to be turning on the tap with your doughy hands.  Grab a handful of dough - about a tennis ball size and flatten it on our palm.

 Place a meatball in the centre of the flattened dough. 

Form the dough into a ball around the meatball.

Make sure the surface is smooth without any holes.  At this point you can dampen your hand with water to smooth out the surface better.

Drop into large pot of salted boiling water.  If you don't have a heavy pot, place a plate on the bottom of the pot so the palt don't stick. 

Stir the bottom of the pot to loosen any palt that stuck when you dropped them in.

Reduce heat until the palt is at a gentle boil.  They will float to the top.  Cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  I usually cook them for 1 hour because I always have meat filling.  If you don't fill them, you could cook them for less time.

Remove from pot.  People like their palt in different ways.  Many people eat it with butter and salt.  When my kids were young they ate it with syrup.  Some people like it with sour cream.

When you cut the palt open, the centre has a reddish tinge to it.  Don't worry, it is cooked, it is just the colour from the hamburger.

Here is the palt cut up with butter and salt, all ready to eat.  It is not an attractive meal but it is tasty and sticks to your ribs.  I think palt to Sweden is like perogies to the Ukraine.

You always make extra palt so you can have leftovers.  You can cut it up and fry it in butter as I usually do.  Or you can cut it up and heat it slowly in cream. 

I hope you give it a try.  Enjoy.  :)


  1. Mmm, looks good! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love perogies so this looks yummy!
    thanks for sharing :)

  3. OK Joan, I'm going to have to give these a try. I'm Swedish on my father's side, but I can't think I've ever had a 'real' Swedish dish. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the detailed instruction really help!
    the wanna be country girl - Caroline

  4. i have to try this. with sour cream. i think it is delicious.

  5. As you say, this is not a very attractive-looking meal, but I think by tweaking the filling a bit to one's own taste it would be tasty.
    As my family like very well seasoned and spicy foods I would probably make a ground pork mixture with lots of spices. I might also try to make the balls a little smaller so that they wouldn't have to be cut up because they would look very attractive if kept whole!
    Some sort of sauce would be needed in my household!
    I like this as it looks like the sort of recipe you can play around with.
    I think lightly frying the cooked potato balls to give them a crispy crunch would be an interesting variation too.
    This is almost like a round inside-out version of shepherd's pie. Laf!
    ~Brenda (aka BBQ)

  6. I grew up in Alberta and my family made the dumplings the way you have but it was without the meat center. The dumplings were made the night before and were sliced in the morning, then browned, and then cooked with milk until it made a thick gravy. It was then served with butter, salt and hot sauce. This is still a family tradition for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yours sounds good also.

  7. This was a family Christmas tradition in our home. My mother was Swedish and learned from her mother. I grew up helping to peel and grate the potatoes. My mom said it was never real good unless someone scraped some finger into it too. She seasoned diced pork with allspice - which is the flavor I think we grew to crave. My brother could eat ten at a time with heavy cream topping- and you know that is a heavy meal!

    1. There seems to be as many different fillings as families that make them. Hard to believe your brother could move after eating all that! Must have had one of those "hollow legs" boys are known to have. ;)

  8. My grandmother was born and raised in Burstrask, Northern Sweden. We had Palt quite often, I love it. I visited Sweden a couple of years ago and our relatives had Palt made and served it with cream, quite delicious!