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Traditional Czech Kolace

Koláče (read kolache) are a traditional Czech pastry traditionally baked at Easter or kermis, nowadays any time. They are made with yeast-dough and filled with marmelades, poppy seeds, cottage cheese and povidla (thick plum marmelade without gelling agent).

Ingredients you will need:

for the dough:

  • 30 g of yeast
  • 250 ml of milk
  • 600 g of semi-coarse flour (plain flour can be used as well)
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 g of softened butter
  • grated zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 80 g of sugar

to smear:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 20 ml of milk

for the filling:

  • cottage cheese
  • powder sugar
  • povidla
  • ground poppy seeds
  • milk
  • half almonds

Prepare the sourdough – heat 5 tablespoons of milk, put the yeast in small pieces in it and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar (take both milk and sugar from the given amounts). Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place. As soon as the yeast starts to work, mix the following in another bowl: flour, salt, sugar, grated lemon zest. Then add the sourdough, milk and soft butter. Knead until the dough is soft and slightly sticky. Cover again and let it rise in a warm place.

While the dough is rising, prepare the fillings. Use the marmelades as they are, same for the povidla although some people like to add a little bit of rum in it. Mix the cottage cheese with some sugar and what requires the most work are the poppy seeds. Slowly boil 100 g of poppy seeds with 100 ml of milk and then add sugar to taste.

Meanwhile the dough will rise to at least double of its original volume. Place it on the working table.

The size of the kolace depends on you, if I want kind of a standard size, i work with pieces of dough that wit into a tablespoon. First form a bowl and then a flat pancake.

  

You need to give the kolache some shape – make the center flat and the edges a bit higher and round. You can use a cup to press the center, although I prefer to work with my fingers. Kolace should be really generous with the filling, that’s why I press the center really flat and make the edges rather thin.

 

Fill the kolace as much as you can.

It’s typical to decorate them with almonds and also align different fillings geometrically. To do that all you need is a knife and some patience.

Place them on a baking sheet on a tray and smear the edges with the egg yolk mixed with milk.

Preheat the oven on 180 °C and bake for 15 minutes.

The result is worth the work!

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