Recently, kolaches have been receiving a lot of attention. In fact, just last week, the New York Times ran an article entitled “The Kolache: Czech, Texan, or All-American? (All Three).” Kolaches are Czech pastries, made with a yeast dough and most often topped with a sweetened cream cheese or fruit filling. Here in Texas, kolaches are hugely popular. There’s a strip of highway in south-central Texas known as the Czech Belt, where numerous bakeries and roadside stops sell homemade kolaches, and for many travelers, stopping and buying kolaches is the highlight of any road trip. Our personal favorite is Weikel’s Bakery (” We Gotcha Kolache”), and I might add that their apple strudel and mega-sized Rice Krispie squares with pecans are pretty awesome, too. My kids have been eating sausage kolaches from the Kolache Factory, a chain with locations all over Texas, since they first cut teeth.
Offerings at the Kolache Factory
An article in the Houston Chronicle about a woman who hosts kolache parties using a recipe passed on to her from her aunt (which is shared in the article), had me salivating as I read about some of the artisanal fillings she uses — regional charcuterie, seasonal fruits, chiles, and herbs. Doesn’t goat cheese and fig preserves with bay leaf sound intriguing? Or boudin from Louisiana?
If you are like me, and by that I mean being neither Czech nor inclined to wake up early enough to mix up yeast dough in time to serve kolaches hot out of the oven to my impatient family (and they really are best hot out of the oven — the kolaches, that is, not my family), here is an easy way to quickly satisfy any kolache cravings or curiosity. By using Pillsbury refrigerated thin crust pizza dough, you can save yourself a LOT of time and still serve up delicious, tender, hot kolaches. I’ve used apricot jam here, but feel free to go wild and use that fig jam with bay leaf that has been sitting in your pantry for years.
|EASY APRICOT CHEESE KOLACHES|| |
- 11-ounce can Pillsbury Refrigerated Thin Pizza Crust (do not use other varieties, or your kolaches will be too doughy)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons sugar, divided use
- 3-1/2 tablespoons flour, divided use
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided use
- ¼ cup Apricot Preserves
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prepare cheese filling: Place cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1-1/2 tablespoons flour, and egg yolk in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy.
- Prepare crumb topping: Place 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter in a mini chopper and process until crumbly.
- To assemble kolaches, unroll pizza dough, and cut into 6 equal pieces. Using your hands, shape pieces into rounds. Place 1 round in the center of a 9-inch pie plate, and surround with remaining 5 rounds. Gently press rounds together to cover bottom of pie plate. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon of butter by placing in a small dish and microwaving on high for 20 seconds. Using a pastry brush, brush melted butter over dough. Using the back of a tablespoon, create an indentation in each kolache. Fill with 1 tablespoon cheese filling. Top cheese filling on each kolache with 2 teaspoons apricot jam. Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over kolaches.
- Bake until lightly golden and cheese filling is set, approximately 18 minutes. Allow to cool briefly in pan. Use a spatula to remove kolaches and transfer to serving plates.
(other varieties will not achieve desired results)
Nestled in baking dish, waiting for filling
First comes the cheese filling . . .
And then the jewel-like fruit filling
A sprinkling of streusel (known as “posipka”)
Czech it out!
(which, according to Google Translate, means “Enjoy” in Czech)