When we were given the opportunity to go back and cook something that we've missed along the way for Project Pastry Queen, I knew immediately that I wanted to do the kolaches. This was the very first recipe chosen for the group, and I've been wanting to make these ever since I bought the cookbook almost 2 years ago. Yes, I know I could have made them any time, but I just never got around to it.
To be honest, I had never even heard of a kolache before this cookbook, but apparently they are popular in Texas. They are soft and sweet pastry bun, with a sweet or savory filling. Rebecca gives several variations in the book, and while I am positively dying to make the peach variation, peaches are not in abundance this time of year. So I worked with what I had and concocted a pear-ginger filling. I really really liked the combination, but I'm still anxious to make peach kolaches this summer.
These do have a lot of steps, and may seem complicated, but they are actually quite simple to put together. The dough is made, chilled overnight, then shaped, filled, and baked the next morning. I would say these have less than an hour of active prep time. Now just as fair warning, this recipe makes a LOT of kolaches, but I halved it with no problems. We still had several leftover, but I just sent them to my neighbors. They really taste best the day they are made anyway.
Thanks to Shawnda, for both choosing this recipe way back in the summer, and for giving us the chance to play catch-up. Hop over to Project Pastry Queen to see what everyone else made this week!
adapted from The Pastry Queen and Confections of a Foodie Bride
makes 16 to 18 buns
- 2 cups milk
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package instant yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water (110-115 degrees)
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups diced pears
- 1 cup pear-ginger jam OR 1 cup pear jam + 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 Tbs chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and melted butter. Add the milk and yeast mixture, and with the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour, 2 cups at a time. Keep adding flour until it is completely incorporated and the dough just begins to hold together. The dough will be sticky, moist, and light.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free room to rise. Rise until it has doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours (a dent will remain when the dough is touched lightly). Leaving the dough in the bowl, punch once or twice to deflate, recover with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
To make the filling, place the jam in a microwave safe bowl and heat 15-30 seconds. Stir in the pears, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Set aside.
Grease a 12x17 inch baking sheet, and with lightly oiled fingertips, shape the dough into 2 1/2-inch diameter balls (about the size of a small lime). Arrange them evenly on the baking sheet, 3 across and 6 down.
To fill the kolaches, use your thumb or fingertips to make a generous indentation in the middle of each dough ball, being sure not to pierce the bottom of the dough. Mound about 1-2 tablespoons of the pear filling in each indentation. Cover the rolls with a clean, lint-free kitchen towel, and let them rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffed and almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To make the streusel topping, mix the flour, sugar, and butter in a medium bowl, using a fork or pastry cutter (or your fingers) to incorporate the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Scatter the topping over the kolaches just before baking.
Bake until lightly browned on top, 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool 20 minutes before serving.