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A fall favorite: Schnitz and knepp

This recipe for schnitz and knepp comes from The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook. (So does the somewhat less popuplar “Jellied Veal Loaf,” which will not make an appearance in this column any time soon.)

It’s finally starting to feel like fall – and what better time for a recipe interlude featuring apples?

That’s right, we’re talking today about schnitz and knepp, an apple-ham-and-dumpling Pennsylvania Dutch favorite. We came upon a bag of schnitz, or dried apples, earlier this month, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it, so my mom and I talked a little and decided to try our hand at some old-fashioned Pa. Dutch cooking.

We turned to The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook, edited by Lillie Lustig. You can see the recipe with today’s column, though we only used it as a guideline, since we did not possess 3 pounds of smoked ham, but rather one fairly small prepackaged ham slice. We also didn’t have a ton of dried apples; however, we like our carbs, so we didn’t cut the dumplings by as much as you would think given the reduced size of the other two main ingredients.

We started by soaking our schnitz (dried apples) in water, then adding that to the ham.

The recipe suggests soaking the apples overnight, but we put them in a pot of water on the stove and brought it to a boil, then mixed it right in with the simmering ham, and that worked just fine. They weren’t super-dry to start with, so that was enough to make them the right consistency.

After simmering the ham and apples, the dumplings are dropped into the pan.

After adding the brown sugar (which, I admit, we were also heavy-handed on, comparatively speaking), we mixed up the dough for the drop biscuits, which we then added by big spoonfuls to the pot.

The finished product: bowls of schnitz and knepp.

We let it simmer further, covered, for about 20 minutes, then sat down to enjoy!

Both Joan Concilios (the author, left, and her mother) enjoyed their bowls of schnitz and knepp earlier in October.

If you’re wondering, I mentioned that the schnitz is dried apples. But what is knepp? That stands for buttons, as you see in the recipe, and that’s the name for the dumplings – basically another word for what most of us would call rivels. Mine in no way came out button-like, but again, that’s because I had approximately four times as much dumpling as I did anything else.

But boy, was it good!

Have questions or memories to share? Email me at or write to Ask Joan, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. We cannot accept any phone calls with questions or information.