One of my favorite breakfast items when I lived in the Czech Republic was kolač.
I remember the first time I tried one in the streets of Písek, Czech Republic. It was sunny and my third day after arriving. I walked into this quaint coffee shop with a glass display full of desserts of red, blue and green. The textures looked fluffy, smooth, delectable, heavenly and seemed to just be waiting to be delivered into my mouth!
I chose the golden, brown dough that was filled with white and dark purple colors. Little did I know it would be my first bite into heaven—kolač.
Kolačký isn’t too sweet and it is the perfect shape to eat around in circles until you are able to pop that last, creamy middle piece into your mouth. It’s quite a different type of pastry that most American’s will not be familiar with, but once you have gotten a taste of it, you will want to always have them around for yourself and guests.
This recipe took me many years to perfect after my studies in Czech Republic. I am really happy to be able to share this with you!
Kolačký (Fruit Pastry) – Makes about 12-18
1 package (2 ¼ tsp) dry yeast or one cube of fresh yeast
1 cup warm milk
5 tbsp white sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus about 4 more cups when kneading)
½ cup unsalted, softened butter
16 oz farmers cheese (available at most European and specialty grocery stores)
1 package of vanilla sugar
1 cup of jam of choice (I prefer plum)
½ cup soaked poppy seeds
1. Prepare the dough in a mixing bowl. Warm the milk and mix with sugar, salt and yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it bubbles up. Add the eggs and gradually stir in 2 cups of flour. The dough will be sticky, but it is a good consistency to start kneading on a board to get it into shape and elasticity. Gradually add the last 4 cups of flour until it is smooth and springy. This usually takes me about 10-15 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel to rise for about 1-2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
3. Prepare the filling in a separate bowl by mixing the farmers cheese, egg and vanilla sugar.
4. Once the dough has risen, take a small golfball size and spoon it onto a greased cookie sheet. Flatten out the dough and press with with a shot-glass. Do this until you have used up all the dough.
5. Top the center of the dough with the cheese and a tablespoon of jam and/or poppy seed
6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until a nice golden brown. Once finished, if you wish you can brush with eggs whites and bake for another 2 minutes to give it a shiny glaze for all your guests and family to ogle over.
7. Dobrou chut’!