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Test Kitchen: Make kolaches at home

By Jessica Rodrigo
Sept. 25, 2013 at 4:25 a.m.

Leaving space in between kolaches on a sheet pan will allow them room to rise and stay round. If they're kept close to one another, they'll form more of a square kolache, like they are at area bakeries.

KOLACHE DOUGH

•  1 cup warm milk

• 31/2 cups flour

• 2 eggs

• 1 package of yeast

• 1/3 cup sugar

• 1/3 cup butter, softened

• 1/4 cup butter, melted (optional)

• 1/4 cup coarse sugar or Sugar in the Raw (optional)

In a cup, measure 1/3 cup of warm milk and 1 teaspoon sugar and stir. Stir in the yeast until dissolved. Set aside and allow yeast to do its thing and bubble. Add flour to a large bowl. Making a well in the center, add the remaining warm milk, eggs, sugar, butter, salt and yeast mixture. Mix and knead until smooth. Portion into small balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place them closer together if you want them to bump up against each other as they cook. Leave room if you want them to be round kolaches. Allow them to rise for about 20-30 minutes. Once they have risen, punch a circle in the center - being sure not to punch it all the way through the bottom - with your thumb, knuckle, a shot glass or some other implement that will create a deep well for your filling. If you want more crust around the filling, leave the walls of your well thick; if you want more filling, then make them thinner by making a larger well. Add the filling with a spoon. Brush crust with melted butter and dust edges with coarse sugar. Bake a 350-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the desired browning is achieved.

CHAI APPLE FILLING

•  4-5 apples of choice, peeled and cubed

• 3 cups water

• 1/2

• 1 chai tea bag

• 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

• 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1-11/2

In a medium pot, bring water to a simmer. Steep tea bag and add spices, sugar and salt. Add the apples to the liquid and allow them to soften. Once the apples are cooked, remove a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid and mix with cornstarch in a small bowl. Once all the cornstarch is combined, return slurry to the pot and mix thoroughly over low heat. Use immediately or let cool and reserve for later.

Can't make it? go get it.

Victoria Donuts

Address: 3805C N. Navarro St., Victoria

Phone: 361-579-9644

Hours: 6 a.m-noon daily

When I first moved to Victoria more than three years ago, I had no idea what a kolache was. Now, they've become a Saturday tradition for Luke and me. We - or just him since I'm usually recouping from Friday night football - trek to Victoria Donuts for a few breakfast items: a dozen doughnut holes and jalapeno and cheese sausage kolaches for Luke, two chocolate tops for me and a cheese sausage kolache for me, two large coffees and a bottle of diet coke.

Before I learned about kolaches, I lived a life of breakfast burritos and doughnuts.

But now, I've learned that the best thing about kolaches is that they come in both sweet and savory varieties. You've got your sausage or ham and then the fruit or cottage cheese varieties. Since Kolache Fest is fast approaching, I figured it would be fitting to try my hand at baking a few of these Texas and Czech traditions.

As far as the fillings go, you can make them yourself, or you can use canned pie filling. Same goes for the savory kolaches - if you're really ambitious, you can make your own sausage and use it instead of the smoked sausages from Prasek's or Buc-ee's.

I had a few apples that had been lounging on the microwave a while, so I used those in my recipe, and whenever the strawberries are on sale are H-E-B, I'm sure to buy a few quarts and store them in the freezer for later.

Pumpkins are on sale now, too, so they would make a lovely, velvety filling if you do them just right.

Have a recipe or a dish you want me to try? Email me at jrodrigo@vicad.com or tweet me via @EatsEatsEats. I'm always hungry.

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