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"A pinch of this, a dash of that, a few cupfuls" was how our mothers and grandmothers told us to prepare a family recipe." ~RMKH

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Peckmespelschterli (Peck-mess-pel-shter-lee) – Jam Pillows

by Anne Dreer, 7 Nov 2007

Comment:  This recipe is from my mother's family.  None of the ingredients were measured. It was always “so many cupped hands full of flour” (they called it kafl, pronounced cawfu" in Donauschwaben.  I don't know the proper German word or spelling.  I had to make the jam pillows and measure the ingredients to explain just how much of 'what' was used. This was usually the way. You learned by watching your mother and learned to know when the dough felt just right.  The recipe makes a large amount. You may use only half or two thirds.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup water (for softer pasta add 1 tablespoon oil)


  • 3-4 cups walnuts (ground in a nut grater or food processor)

  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 cup very thick pure jam*

Stir the flour, eggs, salt, and water together in a bowl to make a fairly stiff dough (this is really noodle or pasta dough). Our mothers and grandmothers used to do this on the dough board (Nudelbrett).  When all the moisture is absorbed, knead the dough on the dough board or the kitchen counter (which has been sprinkled with flour).  Flatten it and let it relax, covered, for about ten minutes. This will make it easier to roll out.  Roll it until very thin, about 1/16 of an inch to form a circle. The dough will become stretchy, so let it relax for a while.

While the dough relaxes, grind walnuts in a nut grater or food processor.  Add the sugar and set aside.

Put rows of one teaspoon jam 1˝ inches apart on half of the dough. Make sure they are all in line in both directions. Press down between the lumps of jam to make the dough stick & the jam is sealed in.**

Heat lightly salted water in a large pot to the boiling point. I used a soup pot. Add a little oil to the water.  With a pastry wheel (zig-zag wheel) or knife cut the pastry into little squares. When the water boils, turn the heat down and add the little pillows quickly. Let them simmer (not boil) till they rise to the top. Drain.

Stir nuts and sugar and put about one cupful in a soup bowl.  Dip the individual pillows into the nuts and put in a serving bowl.  Use more nuts as needed.

*I use Smuckers or Kraft pure apricot jam, plum jam may also be used. Some regular jams contain too much pectin which will melt when heated.

**If you are not used to handling large sheets of dough, cut it into 5-inch strips, put a row of jam heaps along the centre, fold over and press together. Press between jam and cut. 

[Edited by Rose Mary Keller Hughes. Published by Jody McKim Pharr, 7 Nov 2007]


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