Sunday, November 13, 2011

Czech Kolaches with Poppy Seed and Apricot Filling

My grandfathers parents, were both from Czechoslovakia, the now Czech Republic. They brought with them a love a theater, activism, music, good food and drink... a true Bohemian as my grandfather liked to call himself. My grandfather loved a good sweet, especially Vanocka, which is a Christmas bread with almonds and raisins and kolaches or kolaces as they are also known. My favorite was the Kolache. My grandfather would buy them every almost every Sunday from the  bakery in our town. I would always eat as many as I could or until my mother would scold me.

For me, the best part of eating a kolache was getting to the filling. The dough is a mere basket for the delicious fillings. I made both apricot and poppy seed filling and was so pleased with the results of both. The fillings stand up on their own, to spread on fresh bread, a croissant or as a layer for a cake. 

I have a cookbook from 1952, titled, Czechoslovak Pastries which was put out by the Charlotte Masaryk Society.  It contains various Czech recipes that were "shortened" to take place of the long and tedious working methods. I find this little book a gem as it has my grandmothers handwriting all over it, including dates of when she last made it and changes to the recipes. How good does it feel to use the same cookbook my grandmother used back in the seventies! 

I followed the recipe exactly, as I was working with a yeasted dough that I had never made before. Working with a yeast dough is still a foreign area for me so I tip-toed through this recipe with trepidation.  At one point it just asks you to press your dough into rolling here. I mean, come on, I was dying to bust out the rolling pin, but I didn't. I believe the cooking times were off by about 10-15 minutes. I adjusted the timing for the recipe and the oven temp.... just a touch. As the first too batches were too brown and over-cooked. When they came out of the oven, I did the same thing as I did when I was little, I tore off the dough from around the edges just to get to the filling. Yum! These are not very sweet, I am sure you could make a sweeter dough, but serving them warm with powdered sugar and butter does the trick.

Kolache Recipe
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sweet butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1.5 teaspoon vanilla or lemon rind
1 package dry yeast, raised - you can do this by following the instructions on the package. 1/4 water about 112 degrees and dissolve the packet. When foam has doubled in size, you can add it to your dough.
Apricot Filling

Bring milk to a boil, add butter, sugar, salt. Mix and let cool for 5 minutes. Temper your eggs, stir in eggs, raised yeast and vanilla. Make sure your dough mixture is not too hot, you do not want to kill the yeast. Sift your flour on a board, adding the wet mixture, a little at a time. Knead into a smooth dough that does not stick to the board. Let rise in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp towel, until double in size. Tear off even, egg sized pieces. Press each piece into a square 3x3. Place on parchment lined oven trays. Take about 1 TBS of your filling of choice and place in the middle. Draw the corners up firmly together over the filling. It is a bit like dumpling pinching. Let rise again. Oven to 350 degrees. Brush with beaten egg and 1 TBS milk before going into oven. There is an optional crumb mixture which I did not make, but I will include here for those of you who wish to add this on to the kolaches before they go into the oven. Bake for around 15-20 minutes, until just brown. (I admit, mine were too brown as the original recipe called for thirty minutes at 400)

Crumb Mixture - 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 sugar, 2 TBS butter, 1/2 teaspoon mace. Chopped nuts if desired. Sprinkle on the kolaches before they go into the oven. 

Poppy Seed Filling
1 cup poppy seeds GROUND - I found that 1 cup gives me about 1.5 ground.
3/4 cup milk
3 TBS sugar
3 TBS honey
1 tsp. allspice
Cook poppy seeds with milk and sugar on low and slow for five minutes. Stirring constantly until thick. Add honey and allspice. Take off heat. 

Apricot Filling
1 lb. dried apricots
1 cup of water
1/2 cup sugar, or more.... depending on your sweet tooth

Cook apricots, liquid and sugar, low and slow until the fruit has broken down and you have a relatively, smooth and thick mixture.  Add more liquid and sugar if necessary.

kolache kisses....have a beautiful week and celebrate the little things! xoxo - megan


  1. These look wonderful! I love anything with poppy seeds :)

  2. These look yummy. Love the family history, those recipes are always the best!


  3. Lovely recipe! Thks for introducing me to Czech Kolaches :)

    Dropping by from Shirley's Luxury Haven

  4. lovely recipe! can't wait to try it!

  5. mhm I love those, I used to have those for breakfast in college. They have kolaches in Autria too but we call them differently. I dont realy remember what they were called but I think so "tascherln" (ruff translation, bags). Ohh I sooo wish I could have some now. ='I

  6. These are so lovely, Megan. I've never tried a kolache, but the fillings look delicious!

  7. Both fillings sound absolutely delicious. What a pretty little pastry. I have to try these.

  8. Love Kolaches, I have a recipe I've been dying to try!! Poppy seed is my absolute favorite and I love how you pinched these up, the kind I generally see, the tops are open so you can see which kind it is.

  9. Hi Megan!♥ Those kolaches look and sound delicious! I am intrigued by the poppy seed filling. Yes, they do look like kisses :)

  10. What delightful bites of goodness! Your fillings look fabulous, especially the poppy seed. Will have to try these! When I first saw the picture,I thought of a filling that I'd like to try. I made some fig balsamic jam a few weeks ago and it's sitting in the fridge waiting to be purposed. I think it might be perfect for these.

  11. Megan,
    Thank you for the kisses and the history behind these pastries, which look delicious. Family recipes mean a lot, especially during the holidays.

  12. I love the story behind the recipe...and the kolaches look amazing. Your photos are wonderful. I have cookbooks and recipe cards from my grandmother and great-grandmother all written in as well, so I know just how you feel :-)

  13. Found this on the Top 9 today - congrats first of all! And second, even though I am Czech by decent I am apparently not with it when it comes to desserts outside of potica. I really want to try these!

  14. Wow! Firstly, I'm so happy to see someone from the other side of the planet making our Czech most favourite pastry and secondly, your kolaces are stunning! Really beautiful! Just like from a bakery :) I love them too and I eat them exactly in the same way because the filling...that's the best part :D By the way, I love poppy seed, plum butter and quark cheese filling the most, but your apricot one sounds delicious as well :)

    Cheers from the Czech Republic
    Catalina :)

  15. I LOVE kolaches! My grandmother used to make them for me all the time when I was younger. They looked a little different from this but I am sure they taste just as good. She even did the apricot filling. Thank you for reminding me of my great grandmother, such a nice reminder of her :-)

    Congrats on the Top 9!

  16. Love kolaches! They are just delicious and irresistible.

  17. Beautiful kolaches! Who wouldn't be happy to have one of these lovely pastries? I think both of the fillings sound delicious, though I'm partial to the poppy seed one. :)

  18. Oh my goodness that sounds delicious! And so beautiful too. I've never had one, but would love to try it.

  19. What a unique recipe, thanks for sharing it! I've never heard of this (probably because they are European?) but they look seriously delicious!

  20. Hi Megan dear, your kolaches look really yummy and the pastry is more like a coffee cake. Your version sounds as good. Btw, Happy Belated Thanksgiving to you & your family. X'mas is coming real soon, isn't it! Hope you're enjoying every moment of this festive season. And have fun.
    Kristy ((hugs))


    Sorry about the all caps, but and so serious! LOVE!!


Want to say hello? Send me some of your food love! ♥♥♥