My husband came home from work a couple weeks ago talking about some “really good pastry” that some random guys brought in for breakfast.
He even looked it up on his phone, which means it was serious business. The said pastries were apparently something special because my husband isn’t one to stand around a break room discussing the merits of breakfast foods.
I know from experience that whenever he bothers to look up a food online, he is doing so because he wants me to make it. OK, I guess since there’s a million recipes on Pinterest for anything that exists I can make them for him and the column, so why not kill two proverbial birds?
So, armed with the information I found a reasonably easy recipe for kolaches, a semi-sweet yeast bread traditionally topped with fruit preserves or a cream cheese mixture popular in Czech cuisine. Apparently the city West, Texas is famous for them. Seemed similar to a Danish, which is good, so OK I’ll bite.
Though first timers may feel intimidated by the recipe, it’s really pretty simple and straightforward. Just activate yeast in warm water, add sugar, egg yolk, flour and mix. Raise the dough, shape into rounds, raise a second time, then top and bake. A lot of the time is hands off and it’s a forgiving dough so no problems there.
The topping can be a simple fruit preserve — I used apricot — or a cream cheese mixture that bakes into a cheesecake-like consistency. An easy flour, butter, sugar crumble makes it look extra fancy.
My kids really liked these. They ate a few right out of the oven, and were dismayed to see my husband took the rest to work with him. I made a second batch, leaving a few plain for my younger daughter who decided to be a weirdo and skip the topping, which to me is the best part.
My husband came home and reported back they were OK, pretty good, but denser then he expected. Well, lah-di-dah, I guess he can make them himself next time if he’s such an expert.
Turns out though, there was nothing wrong with the recipe. Just seems that many European cuisines share similarities. What he asked for were kolaches, which are Czech. What he meant was kolaczki, which are Polish cream cheese cookies with fruit preserves. I’m familiar with those — small kite shaped cookies fastidiously rolled out, adorned with preserves then carefully folded into little pillows. My mom and aunt always made them for Christmas. They are delicious, but require a patience and delicacy I do not possess. So, joke’s on him — if he wants those, he really will have to make them himself.
Kim Shute can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or email@example.com Follow her on Twitter at NT_Princeton2