Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poppy Seed Kolaches



What are kolaches? And where did I get this crazy idea? They’re a traditional Czech pastry, and no, I’m no Czech, nor do I know any Czechs. It’s just that since I made that borscht I’ve been on kind of an Eastern/Central European cuisine kick, looking up all sorts of recipes and dreaming of what to try. Somewhere in there I saw the word kolache and it sent me back to a blissful night and morning that I once spent in Houston, Texas. The father of the friend we were staying with came home that morning with several large boxes full of steaming kolaches, and I’ve had them on the brain every since. I’m pretty sure they were from the Kolache Factory, which has taken the Czech pastry to new heights and new levels of culinary debauchery, by stuffing it with eggs, jalapenos, ranch dressing, etc. You have to decide for yourself where you stand on this kind of adulteration of ethnic specialties. I thought they were delicious, but when I got it in my mind to make a first foray into kolache production, I decided to start as authentically as possible, with the traditional golden pastry with a glob of filling dropped into an indentation in the dough. Note: this recipe included a crumb topping, which I skipped, as well as a variety of other possible fillings, such as apricot, prune, cream cheese, etc. If you’d like to see the details of said variations, you can consult the original here: http://www.recipezaar.com/Sweet-Kolache-Recipe-39387

Also: Below is the full recipe, but I cut it in half and it made 24 kolaches. They are very delicious this morning halved, toasted, with a little butter…


3 packages active dry yeast

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon sugar

1 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

2 3/4 cups milk (scald and cool to lukewarm)

7 1/4 cups flour

3 teaspoons salt

Poppyseed Filling

1 1/2 cups poppy seeds

1 cup sugar

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

Make the filling first: combine poppyseeds, sugar and milk, and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Add butter, then flour which has been dissolved in a little bit of water. Cook, stirring constantly until thick-ish, about30 minutes. Allow to cool before use. (These are the original directions: I used the butter and flour to make a roux instead, then added milk, sugar, poppyseeds.)

To Make Dough And assemble Kolaches: Dissolve yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water in a tall glass, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar and set aside to proof. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter, add egg yolks and salt and mix well. Add the dissolved yeast, 1 cup of the flour and mix slowly with an electric mixer. Add the milk and continue adding as much of the remaining flour as you can mix in with a wooden spoon. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough. (I found the dough to be very soft even after I’d added all the flour—in Colorado you do NOT add extra flour! I found my dough scraper to be immensely helpful in the kneading process to mediate the stickiness). Continue kneading until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, turn once to grease surface.

Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and turn out onto lightly floured surface. Pinch off egg size portions and roll into a ball using the palm of your hands in circular motion. Place about 1 inch apart on greased pans. Brush kolaches with melted butter, cover with a cloth and let rise until light, about 1 hour.

Use your fingers to make an indentation in each ball and fill each opening with about 1 tablespoon of filling and let rise again for 20 minutes. Bake in a preheated 425ºF oven for about 10 minutes. Brush kolaches with melted butter as they come out of the oven (I skipped this, cause it seemed like I’d used a lot of butter already…but I’m sure it would have increased the tastiness factor by…at least 10).

1 comment:

  1. I can attest to the awesomeness of this concoction.

    My Great-Grandfather was a Czech born Ukrainian. Does that count? Probably not.