Sunday, January 16, 2011

PPQ: Kolaches

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
Pear-Ginger Filling
  • 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
Streusel Topping
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
To make the dough, warm the milk and water in the microwave until it reaches 110-115 degrees.  Stir in the yeast.  Melt the butter and set aside to let cool 5 minutes.

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.


Shawnda said...

Beautiful! When people move away from Texas, kolache are one of the things I hear them say that they miss the most. But this recipe is really as authentic and as central Texas as they come. The peaches make them even more fabulous, too :)

Erin said...

As a Texan and living in central Texas (i.e. close enough to eat at Rather Sweet Bakery!), I can confirm that kolaches are a very important part of our diets! While I haven't tried my hand at making them, I have eaten more than my fair share. My favorite fillings are blueberry-cream cheese and a spicy jalapeno-cheese sausage. Thanks for posting so many Rather Sweet Bakery recipes - you've inspired me to dust off my cookbook and make some of them myself!

Sara said...

I, too, had never heard of kolaches. I love the classic pear and ginger combination. Lovely photos, too.

Angie said...

There is a kolache place near my old office and I always wanted to stop in but I never got around to it. Maybe now I'll just make my own! These look great.

A frog in the cottage said...

they look amazing !! wish I could grab one !!

Lala said...

May I know if you let the dough to come to room temperature after coming out of the refrigerator before shaping into balls and filling it with the topping? Thanks!

Josie said...

No, I did not let it come to room temp. If I recall correctly, I took it out, made the filling, then shaped the rolls. Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Day old or frozen kolaches can be reheated beautifully by dipping them top side down into a shallow bowl of milk, place on a cookie sheet and place in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes.

Anonym said...

Oh, I'm so excited that kolaches are so famous in America. They come from the Czech Republic (in Europe) The recipe was brought by Czech emigrants 200 years ago.

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