The past month, I have been so busy traveling that I have not found any time to cook/bake leave alone blog about it. Not that I am complaining. I have had fun. But then again I AM having withdrawal symptoms. So today when I finally found myself at home, I headed straight for the kitchen. The first thing on my agenda was to make these wonderful pastries- Kolaches.
A Kolach (pronounced kuh-lah-chee) is a sweet yeasted roll enclosing a sweet filling.The Czech Republic and Poland both claim kolaches as one of their most beloved pastries. In fact a Czech dictionary describes it as “the national sweet bread.”
One more bread/pastry added to my repertoire thanks to this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge.
The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!
Lucie gave us three recipes to choose from- a Prague Kolach, which was one round pastry layered in between with a pastry cream filling; Kolach from Chodsko, which had the traditional quark cheese and poppy seed topping; and the Morovian Kolach which has two fillings.
It was mandatory that we make any one of the three.
I chose to make the Morovian Kolaches simply because they looked so cute!!
Since we could make variations depending on dietary restrictions and ingredients on hand, I changed the recipe to an eggless one. I also used cream cheese instead of quark and cherry jam in place of the plum jam.
Look at the soft and fluffy interior and the layer of cream cheese!!
I also scaled down the recipe to a quarter. This gave me 4 medium sized Kolaches.
Moravian Kolaches (Eggless) for the Daring Baker’s Challenge
For the dough:
125 gms plain flour
25 gms icing (confectioner's) sugar
1/4 cup warm milk
18 gms butter, melted
1 tsp active dry yeast
A pinch of salt
15 gms plain yogurt (or 1/2 an egg yolk)
For the filling:
4 Tbsps cream cheese
1 Tbsp icing sugar
For jam topping:
2 Tbsps cherry jam (or any other jam)
1/2 tsp hot water
For the streusel topping:
13 gms plain flour
13 gms butter, chilled and diced
13 gms sugar
To make dough:
Add the yeast and 1 tsp of sugar to the milk.
Cover and keep aside for 5-10 minutes till frothy.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, icing sugar, salt, butter and the yeast-milk mixture till it forms into a dough.
Turn it out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or till the dough becomes soft and supple.
Place in a well oiled bowl.
Cover and leave for about an hour or till almost double (mine took only 45 minutes due to the hot and humid weather).
To make filling:
Mix the cream cheese and icing sugar till smooth.
To make jam topping:
Mix the jam with the hot water to loosen it.
To make streusel:
Place the sugar and flour in a bowl and rub the cold butter in with your fingers till the mixture is crumbly.
To make Kolaches:
Preheat the oven to 175C/350F.
Gently punch down and remove the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
Roll out with a rolling pin to 3/4" thick oval and cut into 4" (or smaller circles) with a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass.
Re-roll the scraps and repeat.
Splat each piece between your palms, place a tablespoon of the cream cheese filling in the center and bring all the edges together to enclose the filling (like a purse).
Place it seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Repeat for all the dough circles.
Press the center of the kolach with you fingers to form a hollow and fill this with the jam filling.
Sprinkle some streusel on top of each kolach and bake for 18-20 minutes till golden brown.
I baked for 18 minutes and then placed under the grill/broiler for 2 minutes.
All kolaches are best the first and second day but you can store them in an airtight container in a fridge for up to 5 days.