Sunday, January 5, 2014

Kolaches

Everyone has that crazy awesome family recipe.  The one that grandma/great-grandma used to make and you just can't resist eating enough for three people when it's made. 

For my family, it is Kolaches.

My great-grandma learned to make them from my great-grandpa's mother, a full blown Czech.  This recipe has been in the family forever, and is treasured by all of us.

Many of you may have had these at fairs or bake sales, but nothing compares to a homemade Kolache fresh out of the oven.

These aren't easy to make, or quick.  This process takes out a good chunk of your day, and maybe your patience if you have never made them before.  But believe me, if you can successfully make these delicious little pastries you will not be disappointed. 

Like I said before, this is not a quick process at all.  Make sure you have at least 6-7 hours set aside to make these.


Kolaches 


Kolache Dough: Yield 5 Dozen
You will need:
2 packages yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 C. lard (you can use butter or margarine instead but you will get the best results with lard)
1 C. sugar
2 tsp. salt
12 egg yolks (you can use 4 eggs instead but the yolks produce a much softer pastry)
3 C. milk
8-8 1/2 C. flour + enough for rolling
Butter/margarine for brushing, about 1 C.

Instructions:
In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, measure out 1/4 C of very warm water (110-115 Degrees), 2 packages of yeast, and 1 tsp. sugar.  Let this rise while completing the next steps.
Melt 1 C lard and let it cool slightly

In a small mixing bowl, combine the lard, 1 C sugar, 2 tsp. salt and 12 egg yolks.  Beat together until fully combined.  The appearance will be similar to whipped butter.

Warm 3 cups of milk on the stove, almost to a boil.  

In a large mixing bowl, add 4 cups of flour and the warm milk.  Mix until smooth.

Add the yeast mixture, then the lard/egg mixture.  Beat thoroughly.

Gradually add 4-4 1/2 C. flour.  Beat until it becomes too thick for the mixer (about 2 1/2-3 cups), then finish the rest by hand.  The dough will be sticky but will not fall off the spoon.

Now you must let the dough rise.  Turn the oven on to about 300, and place the bowl of dough between the back oven burners.  Place a tea towel over the bowl and leave until it has doubled in size.  (If your kitchen is cold you may need to crack your oven a bit.)

Once the dough has doubled (about 1 hour), punch it down (3 punches will do) and allow it to double again.  (about another hour)

Fillings
You will need:
Cherry pie filling, 1 can
15 oz can of apricots
Package of pitted prunes
1 C applesauce
8 Tbsp. Sugar
4-5 Tbsp. Cornstarch 

Cherry
In a small-medium saucepan, mix the cherry pie filling, and 1 Tbsp. of sugar.  While over medium-high heat use a potato masher to mash the cherries into small pieces.  Add 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch while still hot. (More if not thick enough) If the potato masher is not working well you can use a food processor, but you must be careful not to over do it.  Let cool before using.

Apricot
Pour the can of apricots with the syrup into another saucepan and mix with 2 Tbsp. sugar and 3 Tbsp. cornstarch.  Stir well and heat to a boil, then let cool.

Prune
Put the prunes in a saucepan and cover with water.  Heat to soften.  Without draining the water, add 1 C of applesauce and 4 Tbsp. of sugar.  Mash or use the food processor.  Let cool.


Crumb Topping
You will need:
1/2 C. sugar
3/4 C. flour
1/2 C. firm butter

Instructions
Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl, cut the butter into it with a fork or pastry blender.
Forming Kolaches
Punch the dough down again, and take out about a 2-3 C. portion.  String out the dough on a well floured surface and cut off about 2-3 Tbsp. portions.  




After flouring your hands, roll dough into balls.

After forming balls place them onto greased baking sheets.  Coat with melted butter or margarine, but do not let it drip onto the pan.
 

















Let the balls rise again, then use your fingers to press a circle into the middle.


Fill centers with the filling, and top with crumb topping.


Let the dough rise again before placing in the oven.

Baking the Kolaches



Set the oven to 375 Degrees and arrange the racks second from the top and second from the bottom.

Bake on second rack from the bottom for 10 minutes, then second from the top for 10 minutes.  (If they start to brown too much you may need to take them out early)

Brush with butter or margarine after taking them out, and cover with wax paper to keep them from drying out while they cool.


You are finally done!  Enjoy them and don't eat them all in one day!! :)