This was the first time I’ve ever heard of these little pastries called kolaches. I was intrigued by the similarity in appearance to danish, but they are very different. These are make from a yeast-based dough, and when baked, they taste like a filled sweetened bread.
We made two versions – a sweetened cheese filling and a blueberry filling and the blueberry filling was the winner in our house. It was just the perfect sweetness and thickness. Easy too! Just combine 3 ingredients and microwave!
The pastries were a little more complicated but not too bad. After making the dough, I refrigerated overnight for the first proof (instead of the warm rise in the instructions). After the second proof, you divide the dough into 16 balls and place them on a lined baking sheet like so:
Than you take a 1/3 cup dry measure (or anything that measures 2 1/4 inch in diameter) and squash down the little balls to form a cavity that you will fill with the sweetened cheese or fruit. The balls are much smaller than 2 1/4 inches so I was a little confused to start but it worked out just fine. Make sure you grease and flour the bottom of your cup or it will stick to the dough. This dough is very sticky!
Afterwards, brush everything with egg wash, then fill with the cheese or fruit and sprinkle the sides with the streusel topping. Bake as directed, being careful not to overbake. Mine were a tad dry and so next time, I will take them out of the oven before they develop too much color.
I think these would have been perfect if there were a few shades paler than this….
Still delicious though and they were all gone quickly! I think these would be great for a special occassion weekend breakfast..
Recipe from Hometown Favorites, Cooks Illustrated magazine
For the dough:
- 1 cup whole milk
- 10 tablespoons butter , melted
- 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
- 3.5 to 4 cups all purpose flour (17.5 ounces)*
- 1/3 cup sugar (2.3 ounces)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the cheese filling:
- 6 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 3 tablespoons sugar**
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) ricotta cheese
For the blueberry filling
- 10 ounces frozen pineapple , blueberries, or cherries
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
For the streusel topping:
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar plus 2 teaspoons
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces and chilled
For the egg wash
- 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk
For the dough (makes 16 kolaches):
Combine milk, butter and eggs together in measuring cup (will be lumpy)
Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer then add milk mixture and knead for 2 minutes on low speed
Increase speed to medium and continue kneading for 8 to 12 minutes until dough no longer sticks to side of bowl
Place dough in an oiled bowl and let rise in warm place for 1 hour or refrigerate overnight in a covered bowl
For the cheese filling (enough for 16):
Combine all ingredients except for ricotta and mix well for about 1 minute. Add ricotta and mix for another 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until needed
For the streusal:
Combine all ingredients and mix together with fingers. Cover and refrigerate until needed
For the fruit filling (enough for 16):
Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and mix well. Microwave on high for about 6 to 8 minutes and stir halfway through cooking.
To assemble and bake
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide dough into 16 equal size portions and form balls
Arrange on prepared pans, cover with plastic and allow to rest in warm place for 1.5 hours
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour the bottom of a 1/3 cup dry measure or a glass with a 2 1/4 inch diameter and use to make deep indents on top of each ball until bottom of measure touches baking sheet (see photo)
Fill each indentation with about 1.5 tablespoons of filling (if you are making both cheese and fruit filling, you will need only half of each filling recipe)
Brush tops of each pastry with egg wash, and then sprinkle sides with streusel
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (do not over bake - you want them very pale in color) and let cool for about 20 minutes.
*I use King Arthur brand flour, which is 4.25 oz per cup. Other all purpose flour have slightly different weights. Start with 3.5 cups and add a bit more if too sticky
**I thought the cheese filling wasn't sweet enough. Try the filling with the recommended sugar (3 tablespoons) but add another tablespoon or two to sweeten if needed.