Moravske Koláče – Moravian Round Yeast Cakes

Moravian Kolace

 Koláče also spelled kolacekolache, kolach, or kolacky, is a semi-sweet yeast roll, popular in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.  The Czechs brought koláče with them to American when they settled in Texas. Today, Texas claims to have the largest kolache festival in the world.  I know of, no koláče festivals in the Czech Republic.  Koláce is as common as white bread here. Every bakery shop and grocery store stock them. Every grandmother makes them.  It would be really bazaar to celebrate something so ordinary as koláče. Yet koláče have an honored place at everyone’s table. So popular are these pasties that there is even a Czech Proverb about them, “ Without work, there are no koláče.”  Originating as a semi-sweet wedding dessert, these flat circular pastry surrounding a dollop of cream cheese and fruit or poppy-seed paste has become an everyday item in most Czech households.

 

 Moravské Koláče

Moravian Round Yeast Cakes

 

For the pastry:

 500 g flour (4 cups)

1 package of dry yeast

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

250 ml milk (1 cup)

150 g sugar (½ cup)

200 ml oil (¾ cup)

 

For cream cheese filling:

 500 g cream cheese or ricotta

4 tablespoon powder sugar

1 package of vanilla sugar or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 egg yolks

pinch of salt

 

For poppy-seed filling:

 

150 g poppy-seeds (½ cup)

2 tablespoon powder sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg white

 

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm milk. Set aside until active. Meanwhile measure dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl measure wet ingredients. Add the yeast to the wet ingredients and whip with a fork. Gradually mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Stir until a smooth elastic dough forms. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Stir the dough again and set aside to rise for another 30 minutes. Pour dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into small pieces, form into round balls then press into flat circular pancake shapes. Transfer to baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush edges with egg white. Spread a dollop of cheese in the center then a small dab of poppy-seed filling on top. Place in oven at 200C (400F) bake for 10 minutes.

 Variation 1: Divide dough into small pieces, form into round balls then press into flat circular pancake shapes. Put a teaspoon of cheese filling on dough then pull up the sides to seal cheese inside dough. Roll the dough in palms to form a ball. Flatten the dough on a lined baking sheet. Hollow out the center with your thumb and fill with poppy-seed filling or jam.

 

Variation 2: Roll out the dough with a rolling pen to 1 ½ cm (¼ inch) cut with a circular cookie cutter or a glass. Top with cheese and jam.

Variation 3: Roll out dough with a rolling pen. Cut into squares. Put a teaspoon of cheese filling in center. Pull up four corners and pinch together to form a pocket.

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The traditional method of making koláče is to form the dough into a ball.  Then to press down the center with a special wooden mallet.  Then fill in the center with cream cheese and fruit or poppy-seed paste.

Preparing Koláče photo by Petr Brož

 

 

 

Koláče with cream cheese and fruit - photo by Petr Brož

 

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