I’ve had my eye on kolache recipes for a long while now. A pastry originating as a semisweet wedding dessert from Central Europe, these puffy pillows hold a sweet or savory center. My preference is for a cottage and/or cream cheese filling but fruit, sausage or cheese and jalapeno fillings are equally delicious. While there are myriad dough formulations, this particular recipe is forgiving and remains soft with the addition of whole wheat pastry flour. Give it a try on your holiday breakfast table or for a dessert.
Kolache Dough, from Lottie and Doof, adapted from Saveur, issue #121
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened (or oil, as I use), plus 1 tbsp. melted
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg yolk
3 1⁄4 cups flour, divided (plus more for kneading) – I use half whole wheat pastry
3⁄4 cup milk
- In a bowl, stir the yeast, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1⁄2 cup water heated to 115°; let sit until foamy.
- In a large bowl, beat softened butter and 3 tbsp. sugar until combined. Add salt and egg yolk; beat until smooth. Add yeast mixture, 3 1⁄4 cups flour, and milk; stir until dough comes together.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until no longer very sticky, adding flour as needed (I needed to add about another 1/4 cup of flour) and form a ball.
- Return ball of dough to bowl. Cover bowl with a kitchen towel; set aside in a warm place to let rise, about 1 hour. (It will about double in size.)
- Heat oven to 375°. Divide dough into 16 balls; arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet about a 1/2 inch from each other (4 rows of 4). Brush with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap; let rise for 30 minutes.
- Using back of a spoon or fingers, make an indentation in the top center of each ball.
- Spoon 1 tbsp. filling into each; sprinkle with crumb topping, if desired (recipe follows). Bake until golden, 15-20 minutes.
8 oz. strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1⁄2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Combine berries, sugar, lemon juice, and 1⁄4 cup water in a 2-qt. pan over medium-high heat. Cook until thick, 8–10 minutes. Remove from heat; mash berries until chunky; let cool.
Cottage Cheese Filling
4 oz. cottage cheese
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon juice
1 egg yolk
Place the cottage cheese, cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and egg yolk in a medium bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Dried Fruit Filling
1/2 pound of dried fruit such as apricots or prunes.
Sugar to taste
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
Soak the dried fruit in water for a few hours or overnight.
When fruit is re-hydrated, cook on low for 15 minutes, adding sugar to taste (I find the fruit sweet enough so I don’t add sugar, but you may prefer it sweeter), cinnamon and lemon zest. Mash with a potato masher until you have a puree.
Posypka (crumb topping)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix all ingredients until crumbly.
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