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Czech Kolaches

kolacheThose of us who are of Czech heritage have long known the delight of eating kolaches. As a child, going to visit Grandma in the country meant sneaking into the little pantry off the kitchen to snitch a kolache from the old pie safe where – what seemed to be mountains of them – had been left (unattended !! ) to cool. There were every manner of filling to choose from – prune, poppy seed, peach, apricot, apple, and cottage cheese. All freshly baked and covered with lots of delicious crumbly butter streusel – made with real butter!!

About the only place it seems you can find kolaches now is at donut shops (hate to tell you this – those aren’t kolaches) or at one of the Czech Festivals that are held around the state (those are real kolaches). I also have to say there are a few bakeries in some of the Czech towns (Caldwell) that still bake traditional kolaches – but I’ve yet to find any that can compare to those I ate as a child.

My mother used to make them occasionally – and I still have her much used recipe. In fact, think I might get it out and give it a try since I got an email from my cousin Linda with a kolache dewberry filling that sounds really good. The recipe is more a ‘custard’ pie in that you use the kolache dough to make a pie shell and fill it with the dewberry filling.

For those that want to try it in the traditional manner – I’m including mom’s kolache dough recipe. For those that don’t want to make the dough – I bet the pie would be just as good in a regular pie shell.

Mom’s Kolache Dough Recipe: 2 packages active dry yeast, 1/4 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup shortening, 2 egg yolks, 2 teaspoon salt, 6-7 cups all purpose flour, and 2 cups milk. (Don’t use Splenda in the dough recipe)

  1. Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water.
  2. In large bowl cream 3/4 cup sugar and shortening. Add in egg yolks and salt – mix well.
  3. Add the dissolved yeast and 1/2 cup flour, mix gently.
  4. Add in milk and continue adding remaining flour
  5. Knead until dough is smooth (Don’t over knead as this tends to make the dough tough)
  6. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until double in size (about an hour)
  7. After the dough has risen, you can roll out and cut circles for kolaches or roll out to use in a pie pan. Once you have the shape you want you will need to let the dough rise a second time. For kolaches brush the tops with butter, make an indentation in the center and fill with favorite filling. For kolaches, you’ll want the oven at 350 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes – do not over-bake.

Dewberry Filling

Two (or more) cups washed berries; 3/4 cup sugar (or Splenda); 2 eggs beaten; 2 heaping tablespoons flour; 1/2 cup whipping cream (or evaporated milk)

Crumb Mixture: 4 tablespoons butter; 8 tablespoons sugar (or Splenda); 8 tablespoons flour – mix together until crumbly

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Pour berries into pie shell. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar (or Splenda) over the berries.
  3. Mix eggs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar (Splenda), flour and cream, and pour over berries. Top with crumb mixture.
  4. Bake 1 hour or until topping is brown and custard is set.

Sounds good to me  and Linda . . . .   thanks for sending it!

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