MORAVIAN KOLACHES

Czech name: Moravské koláče

Moravian kolaches are among the best foods, and they helped make Czech cuisine more famous in world gastronomy. A classic choice for special occasions, the Moravian kolache is a traditional pastry, more than 200 years old. Kolaches were usually baked on Christmas and Easter, and for christenings and weddings. In wealthier cottages, they were baked almost every Sunday.

This recipe comes from the historic area of Moravia – ‘Morava’ in Czech – where the South Moravian, Zlin and Olomouc Regions are located.  For more information about those Moravian regions, click here and here and here.

Ingredients

Dough
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Wondra instant flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tsp active dry yeast
4 tsp vanilla sugar or mix of 1 tsp vanilla extract and 4 tsp granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
1 lemon peel, grated

For washing
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

Farmer’s cheese filling
1 lb farmer’s cheese (or queso fresco)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 tsp vanilla sugar (or mix of 1 tsp vanilla extract and 4 tsp granulated sugar)
2 egg yolks
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
pinch of salt

Plum jam filling
1/2 cup plum jam
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tbsp dark rum

Crumble
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup Wondra flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Please note: Wondra flour is used as a substitute for a special Czech flour for a more authentic taste. If you cannot buy Wondra flour in your location, then just use the same amount of all-purpose flour.

Instructions

Sieve all-purpose flour and Wondra instant flour into a large bowl and add the grated lemon peel, salt, and vanilla extract and mix it well. Add the softened unsalted butter to the flour and work it together with your fingers, so that no large pieces of butter remain.

In a smaller bowl, mix together milk with active dry yeast and granulated sugar. When the foam starts to appear on the top, pour this mixture into the flour mixture and add the egg yolks. Make a smooth and supple dough, which should not be sticky. Cover the bowl with foil and let the dough rise at room temperature, until it is twice as big. This takes approximately 40-60 minutes.

While the dough is rising, prepare the curd filling. In a bowl, mix unsalted butter with granulated sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and both yolks. Then add the cheese to the mixture and mix it well.

Tip the leavened dough onto a workspace and roll it into a very thin square, less than 1/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into squares of the same size. Add the curd filling to each square and then wrap the dough around it so that little balls are formed. Put each ball onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, seam-side down, and keep in mind that the balls must be far enough apart.

Cover the rolled balls with foil and let them rise at room temperature until they double in size — probably another 30-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 340F and prepare the crumb and plum jam. Mix the plum jam with dark rum and sieved powdered sugar. Prepare the crumb from Wondra instant flour, granulated sugar, and unsalted butter by thoroughly rubbing all the ingredients together until you get a loose crumb. If the crumb is not loose enough, add 1 or 2 tablespoons of Wondra instant flour.

In a bowl, whisk an egg with 1 tablespoon of milk and brush the leavened cakes with the mixture. Fill the sharp top pastry bag with plum jam and puncture the top of cakes and fill them with jam.

Finally, top the pastries with the crumb and bake them in a preheated oven until they are golden brown, around 15 to 20 minutes.

Let the kolaches cool down before serving them.

Moravian Kolaches
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