Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chodské Koláče (Kolache from Chodsko)

The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!

The Daring Bakers were offered three recipes this month:  One of which I really wanted to eat, and one of which was far more creative, totally inspiring and quite tedious.  Obviously, I chose the latter, because somehow I seem to be drawn to tedium...and the creative possibilities were not lost on me either!  The process was a ton of fun, and the outcome was kind of surprising.  I've never eaten a pastry that tasted quite like this.  This is my favorite part of the Daring Bakers challenges.  At first glance, baked goods seem so similar from one region to another, but they each have their own unique difference that makes each a totally new experience.  If you'd like to see the other recipes for creamy filled pastries, Pražský koláč (Prague Kolach) and Dvojctihodné / Moravské koláče (Two fillings / Moravian Kolaches), click here!

I really loved working with this pastry's dough.  It it soft and wet and rich and insanely tender when it's been baked.  I don't even know what to compare it to.  It's not greasy or flaky.  It's very light and slightly yeasty.  I will be making this dough again soon and next time will fill it with quark filling and homemade chunky applesauce.  Quark is a fresh cow's milk cheese, similar to fresh goat cheese.  I had never had it, and had kind of a hard time finding it!  Quark is tangy and soft.  If you're looking for a substitute...maybe ricotta?  Especially homemade ricotta (you will find a super easy recipe in this post) would be nice.

My decorations for these pastries were inspired by the beautiful asters decorating the woods edging my yard. I love this time of year in Minnesota and I think the look of the kolace really reflect the beauty of the season!

Chodské Koláče


For the dough:

2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup butter, softened
zest of ½ lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon oil
1 lightly beaten egg for brushing

For the quark filling:

1 1/2 cups (about 3/4 lb) quark
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
A splash/pinch of rum, lemon zest and vanilla extract to taste
1 teaspoon corn starch
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg white (save the yolk)

For the poppy seed filling:

1/2 cup poppy seeds
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 egg yolk (leftover from the quark filling)
2 ginger-bread or vanilla wafer cookies, ground (or more if needed for thickening the paste)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the jam filling:

1/2 cup jam of your choice (traditionally they use plum jam, I used orange marmalade)
A splash of lemon juice and rum to taste
1 teaspoon corn starch

For the decoration:

Almond slivers, pine nuts and golden raisins
[Optional:  Stir almond slivers into water that has been dyed pale purple with food coloring.  Drain and dry in the open air for a while before using.]


In a bowl, mix together yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Add about half of the warm milk, mix well and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 – 15 minutes.

In a bowl of your electric mixer (or in a large bowl) mix remaining flour, sugar and milk, egg, butter, lemon zest, salt, rum, vanilla, oil and the yeast mixture. Knead with dough hook (or by hand with a wooden spoon) on low speed for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour to double its volume.

Meanwhile, prepare fillings (instructions below) and set them aside.

Punch down the risen dough, fold it and let rise to double again.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces on a floured surface.

Prepare 2 large sheet pans with parchment paper. Using floured hands, roll each piece of dough into a ball and press it out into a circle with your fingers into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. While you're pressing the dough out, create raised rims around the edges with your fingers, kind of like you're preparing a pizza crust.

Brush the edges with beaten egg.

Decorate each kolach with quark, poppy seed filling and jam filling, and with almonds and raisins.  I started each kolach with a generous layer of quark, then decorated the top as I pleased.

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until edges turn golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Quark filling:
In a bowl, mix quark, butter and sugar well. Add whipping cream, rum, lemon zest, vanilla extract and corn starch and mix together. In a clean bowl of your electric mixer using clean beaters, beat egg white on high until stiff, then carefully fold the whites into the quark mix.

Poppy seeds filling:
Finely grind poppy seeds with sugar in a food processor and carefully add boiling water. Mix in the egg, ground cookies and cinnamon. The consistency should be like frosting.  Add more ground cookies until the filling is smooth and slightly thick.  Taste it and add more sugar and cinnamon if you like.

Jam filling:
Mix together all ingredients.  Add a bit of hot water if it’s too thick to spread easily.

Happy decorating!  Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Your Kolaches are incredible. Especially the one with the purple flowers is my favorite. I think you have been the most creative Daring Baker last month and I would like to thank you for it. I simply love you kolaches. Thanks you baked with me.


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