Signature Dish: Tomáš Zdechovský’s dukátové buchtičky

The Czech MEP puts his own twist on a traditional sweet treat from his home country in this recipe for yeast buns with vanilla custard

By Tomáš Zdechovský

Tomáš Zdechovský is a vice-chair of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee

22 Jun 2023


As an MEP, I strive to make every second of my mandate count. From committee meetings to engaging with constituents, my priority is to serve those who elected me. Amid this fast-paced environment, I find solace in the simple pleasures that connect me to my roots.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you a recipe that holds a very special place in my heart and has been beloved by Czech children for generations: dukátové buchtičky s vanilkovým krémem, which are small yeast buns with a vanilla custard. 

Dukátové buchtičky are not only a delicious treat, they’re also an integral part of Czech culinary heritage. The buns were traditionally served in schools every Friday, making them a nostalgic pleasure for many Czechs. Their flavour brings back the innocence and joy of my childhood, and reminds me of the importance of making time for simple joys. 

I worked as a chef in my 20s; drawing on my experience, I have added my own touch to this traditional recipe. I hope you will like it, because I treasure this secret! After baking, I brush the buns with a warm mixture of melted butter and brown rum, creating a delightful aroma and ensuring a moist texture. 

As I continue my journey in European politics, I am reminded of the importance of preserving our cultural heritage. The small yeast buns with custard not only bring joy and evoke fond memories, they also foster unity and celebration of diversity within the European Union.  

Through this traditional Czech recipe, I hope to encourage you to connect with your own culinary traditions and make your own memories with your family. At the end of the day, they are the ones that matter the most to our lives.  

This recipe is adapted from one published online at 


(Serves 4)

For the dough:  

  • 15g yeast 
  • 100g granulated sugar 
  • 170ml lukewarm milk 
  • 110g unsalted butter (plus a little extra to grease the baking dish) 
  • 330g all-purpose flour (plus a little extra to dust the dough and flour the work surface) 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • 1 egg yolk  

To brush: 

  • 35g unsalted butter 
  • 1 splash of brown rum 

For the vanilla sauce: 

  • 6 egg yolks 
  • 100g granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence 
  • 480ml heavy cream (fat content of at least 30 per cent) 


1. Put the yeast in a bowl, add 1tsp of sugar and 2tbsp of lukewarm milk, then let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. 

2. Gently heat the remaining milk in a saucepan and melt in 110g butter. 

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, remaining sugar, eggs, the milk and butter mixture, and the yeast starter. Knead the ingredients into a smooth dough, then dust with flour and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 

4. Preheat the oven to 160°C and grease a baking dish. 

5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and form into a sausage shape 2.5cm in diameter. Divide into equal-sized pieces and shape into balls. 

6. Place the balls in the greased baking dish and brush each one with melted butter on all sides. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

7. In a saucepan, melt 35g butter, add the brown rum, and brush the baked buns with the warm mixture. 

8. For the vanilla sauce, in a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla essence.  

9. In a saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil, then slowly add the egg mix to the bowl, stirring.  

10. Pour it all back into the saucepan and warm at a low temperature, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Sieve the custard into a clean bowl and let it cool.  

11. To serve, arrange the buns and pour over the vanilla custard. 

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