"Buchteln" are one of the classic, sweet dishes common in Austrian cuisine. A slightly sweetened yeast dough is formed into rolls with a bit of filling, placed in a buttered baking dish and baked. The sides of the rolls touch but the ones on the edge are a bit crispy. These are served with powdered sugar, vanilla sauce, applesauce, melted butter or sometimes with sauerkraut. They can be served as a main dish, a side dish or as a dessert.
The filling can be Powidl (plum butter), poppy seed, berry jam or other marmalade, quark (cheesecake filling), plum compote or whole plums or other fruit. Sometimes raisins are added to the dough. In many recipes, the Powidl or Zwetschgenmuß has rum and cinnamon added to it for more flavor. Sometimes they are baked unfilled.
Buchteln, as they are known in Austria, are a typical dish from Bohemian cuisine which migrated to Austria, Bavaria and Saxony.They are also known as Wuchteln (or "Wuchtala") or Rohrnudeln (Ofennudeln) in Bavaria and the Pfalz, and sometimes Dampfnudeln in Swabia, although Dampfnudeln are usually understood as being steamed on the stove in milk and butter.
In Vienna, Buchteln are baked is sets of six - five on the outside and one larger one in the middle. these are baked in a round form and served sprinkled with powdered sugar. Café Hawelka in Vienna is famous for these goodies as well as being an art-scene gathering spot in the 60s. The café is open from 8 am to 2 am but Buchteln are first served from 10 pm onward.
Upper Silesia is currently part of Poland, but has belonged to Bohemia, the Hapsburgs, Prussia and the German Empire. Their variation, also known as Buchteln, uses the same dough which is steamed by stretching a towel over boiling water in a pot and placing the dumplings on the towel and the lid over that. These dumplings are traditionally eaten with blueberry or blackberry compote.
Dukatenbuchteln are small buns from the same dough, about as large as an egg. Dukaten (English - ducat or dukat) are gold coins used in Europe from the 12th through the 19th century.
Quotes below translated from this discussion.
Buchteln in Bavaria: "My Oma made Buchteln in Franconia. They are sweet yeast dough pieces which are rolled in melted butter and set close to each other in a dish and baked in the oven. When a sweet smell comes from the oven, they are gold-brown and done...They are served hot with vanilla sauce and hot cherries." -LG from Berlin
Also from Bavaria on the difference between types of buns: "Rohrnudeln: are made in the "Röhre" (oven), and are yeast rolls set next to each other which are filled with blackberries. They are eaten with potato soup or with a fresh glass of milk.
[In contrast] Wuchteln are yeast rolls which are placed on a baking sheet and placed in the oven until they have a little color. When they are removed from the oven, they are placed in warm water and then straight to the table. They are eaten with applesauce, vanilla sugar and melted butter." -ichdiedine [ed. remark "I cannot confirm this method anywhere. Please email me if you know more about this."]
From the Pfalz (Palitinate): "My Dampfnudeln are normal yeast dumplings steamed in a pot with a little salt water - no milk. That way, a nice, lightly salty, little crust forms underneath when the water has boiled off or removed from the dumpling pan. They are served with a delightful, slightly sweet, wine foam sauce [Weinschaumsoße]." -Flar
"at home, we also ate [Buchteln] savory, with a mushroom sauce [Schwammerlsoße] and that is delicious. If you like to eat them savory, be careful with the amount of sugar you use in the dough." - I.G.
"I am probably repeating what was already written but Dampfnudeln do not necessarily need to be eaten sweet. At our house, we preferred them with potato soup and then at the end [of the meal] with vanilla sauce." -LG Andrea
A Swabian variation: "At home, [Buchteln] were always filled with apple pieces which had been previously baked into a rustic apple compote. These were usually served as a side for a thick, potato soup. My acquaintances from the Augsburg region know this variation, too..." -Unknown
Dampfnudeln are usually the same dough as Buchteln made into dumplings with no filling. Milk, butter and a little sugar are heated in a tall pan on the stove and the dumplings are placed on top and covered with a lid. They are allowed to steam until all the milk is gone, whereby a golden, caramel crust forms underneath. They are served with vanilla sauce or many different kinds of compote, depending on the household customs.