Thanks to the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center in La Grange, which provided us with one of the center’s most popular cookbooks, ‘’Generation to Generation: Czech Foods, Customs, and Traditions, Texas Style” (1980; Historical Society of the Czech Club, Dallas, Texas).
One kolache recipe from the book is printed on Page 20C of Bluebonnet’s pages in the November edition of Texas Co-op Power magazine. Here are a few others from the cookbook. Each cook puts her own rustic, personal spin on the Tex-Czech favorite pastry, and some of these recipes’ instructions may require a little experimentation.
If you’re willing to share with other Bluebonnet members, please send us your family kolache recipe (and the story that goes with it). Email it to Lisa Ogle at email@example.com, or mail it to her at P.O. Box 729, Bastrop, TX 78602.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR MAKING KOLACHES
1. Count on spending 4 hours in the kitchen. Draft a friend to help; it makes it easier. 2. Make sure you have enough cookie sheets to roll out all your dough.
3. While dough is rising the first time, cook fruit or prepare the filling you will use.
4. Melt butter for brushing. Grease cookie sheets. Prepare work area. Table is best. 5. Utensils that might be helpful are:
ČESKÉ OŘECHOVE KOLÁČKY
3 1⁄2 cups flour
3⁄4 pound butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 square of fresh yeast dissolved in milk 4 egg yolks
1⁄2 cup milk
Mix together and refrigerate for 2 hours. Roll out thin and cut in rounds with a small glass. Put on baking pan. Bake 350° for 10 to 12 minutes.
1⁄2 pound ground walnuts
4 beaten egg whites
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla and a dash of salt.
Beat egg whites first, slowly add the sugar; beat till nice and thick, then add rest of ingredients. Put a teaspoon full on each (round piece of) cookie dough.
MRS. EMILIE CADA
(My parents were born in Czechoslovakia. Father came to America in 1878 and mother in 1905.)
1⁄2 cup milk, scalded
1 cake compressed yeast
3 1⁄2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
3⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1⁄2 teaspoon lemon rind
Pinch of mace
Cool milk to lukewarm; add yeast which has been crumbled.
Sift flour, sugar and salt into mixing bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Add egg yolks and yeast mixture; stir in remaining ingredients.
Knead dough on lightly floured surface till smooth. Roll out to 1⁄4-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch rounds; make an impression in center.
Fill with jam, cottage cheese, or poppyseed filling.
Cover, let rise in warm place till double in bulk, about one hour.
Bake in pre-heated oven at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, or till light golden brown.
Makes about 2 dozen kolaches.
MRS. GEORGE VOTAVA
(When the Czech arrived in Texas in the 1860s, they brought Kolaches, often made with prune, apricot or other filling).
3 1⁄2 cups buttermilk or milk
4 cakes fresh yeast or dry
1 cup sugar
1 cup margarine or shortening
4 large eggs
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1⁄2 cup water
3 teaspoons salt
About 12 1⁄2 cups flour
Use a good brand of all-purpose flour. Put lukewarm buttermilk, or milk, and water in a large dutch oven, add yeast and sprinkle with sugar, about 2 tablespoons. Let set for a while in a warm oven until very bubbly.
In the meantime beat eggs and sugar together until thick. Add to milk mixture. Add salt, flour and mix well. Add melted margarine or shortening (must be slightly warm).
Work the dough until smooth. Set aside in a warm place or oven and let rise until double in bulk and then work it down and let rise again. Now the dough is ready to make into kolaches.
Take bits of dough by the heaping tablespoonful and press out dough slightly using fingers to 3/8-inch thickness. Fill with a heaping teaspoon of filling in center of each.
Seal each cut-out or portion into a round ball and place the sealed part of dough down on a cookie sheet.
Let rise double in size and brush with margarine.
Make or press a hole in center, not cutting through filling. On roll add 1⁄2 teaspoon of streusel mixture, which consists of half and half each of flour and sugar. Add enough margarine to moisten and enough cinnamon for color.
Bake in 400° oven for 15 to 20 minutes or till lightly brown.
When rolls are baked you may again brush with margarine, or instead use a good thick cup towel and cover hot kolaches for 15 minutes. The kolaches will have a softer texture, doing this. This dough can be used for making dinner rolls of all variations, braids, coffee cakes, jelly roll style coffee cakes with filling, also makes a good raisin bread and other breads.
Farmer’s cheese filling
3 bars of farmer’s cheese*
1⁄2 cup sugar
About 1 1⁄2 teaspoon grated lemon rind 1⁄2 cup light raisins
Blend all ingredients.
(* No recipe for farmer’s cheese provided. Here is a link to a recipe for farmer’s cheese.)
21⁄2 cups ground poppyseed
2 cooked peeled apples (optional) 11⁄4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons vanilla
3⁄4 cup milk
2 tablespoons margarine
Blend all ingredients except vanilla. Cook till thick, then cool and add vanilla.
2 packages dried apples 3 cups water
Cook apples till tender, add 11⁄2 cups sugar and cook till thickened. Try mashing apples for a smoother filling.
Cool and use. (This recipe can also be used to make) peach, apricot or prune filling.
2 large cans crushed pineapple 1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
Save some of the liquid.
Add 1 cup sugar and cook till slightly thickened.
Use cornstarch to make this mixture thicker. (Mix saved liquid with) 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken the filling.
Poppyseed filling now can be purchased in cans at certain grocery stores. Some are ready to use. Some poppyseed is ground in cans and other ingredients must be added and then proceed (with) cooking.
The most popular fillings in Czechoslovakia are the poppyseed, prune and farmer's cheese. In Texas many varieties of kolache fillings are used, (including) poppyseed, prunes, farmer's cheese, peaches, apples, apricot, pineapple, etc. Again, each individual will have their own preference and whatever the filling or fillings is right for them. Preserves and jellies are not recommended to be used as fillings because they tend to boil out during baking. The only way you can use these is to recook them by adding water and thicken them with cornstarch and it works out great.
2 yeast cakes or 2 packages dry yeast 1⁄4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
3⁄4 cup shortening or margarine
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups milk (one large can evaporated milk plus hot water to equal 2 cups) 6 cups flour (measure by lightly spooning into cup and leveling off)
2 teaspoons salt
Dissolve yeast in the 1⁄4 cup of water and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. In large bowl of mixer, cream sugar and margarine, add yolks, salt and mix well.
Add the dissolved yeast and about 1⁄2 cup of the flour. Mix slowly with mixer. Add all the milk and continue adding the remaining flour, using mixer or stir by hand with wooden spoon until dough is glossy.
Cover, let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about one hour.
After dough is risen, cut off small portions of dough (about the size of an egg) using a tablespoon. Shape into balls on greased pans about an inch apart.
Butter well, using part butter to improve flavor; let rise until light. Then make an indentation in each piece and place fruit therein.
Sprinkle topping on and bake in 425° oven for 15 minutes.
Butter the kolaches upon removal from the oven, then remove onto a wire cooling rack.
If using cottage cheese as filling for kolaches be sure to enclose cheese (with)in dough. Spread out the small pieces of dough, place cheese on this and pinch all sides together to completely seal. Place sealed side down on the greased pan and butter. Let rise until light, sprinkle with topping and bake.
Cottage cheese filling
If commercial cottage cheese is used, to one pint of dry cheese add one 8-ounce package of cream cheese, pinch of salt, 1 egg yolk, 1⁄2 cup sugar, grated rind from one lemon and 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon flavor (optional).
Mix altogether until blended. If cheese is too moist, add very finely rolled crackers, about 10 or 12 to absorb the liquid. If using country-style cottage cheese, prepare as above, omit the cream cheese, but it may be used, too; improves flavor.
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup flour
3⁄4 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
Mix this until it resembles coarse meal. This will keep in the refrigerator.
1 lb. prunes with pits 1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
Cook prunes very slowly in water to cover until soft and tender. Remove stones from the cooled prunes.
Add 1⁄2 cup sugar, 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon and mix well. Mixer may be used but do not over mix as prunes lose color.
This amount makes about 3 dozen kolaches.
1 10-ounce package apricots, cooked slowly in enough water to cover until soft and water has been cooked out. Do not overcook as fruit turns darker;.
Add 1⁄2 cup sugar or a little more.
Mash with potato masher until well blended. Makes about 2 dozen kolaches.
MRS. E. J. JERABEK
"The Kolach recipe is mine, worked out several years ago, about 28, for the purpose of presenting it on KCEN TV in Waco, Texas. We gave out this recipe at the State fair in Dallas for several years while West had a booth there."
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