In the golden days of past my Mom “Betty” subscribed to Southern Living magazine and to this day, so do I.
In SL’s most recent September 2020 issue they gave claim to the seven “Cooks of the Year” for their culinary innovations. I, too, love innovators for without them we’d be eating the same thing day after day… (fancy some porridge and toast?). But I will continue the foodie fight to honor those in the rear view mirror – the ones who fed our bellies when we were kids. Our Mothers, Grandmothers, and best of all – the ones likely before we can remember. These are the true culinary geniuses who made mealtime a favorite time without the aid of modern kitchen contraptions like microwaves, silicon utensils, immersion blenders, air fryers, and bluetooth ovens (I’m guilty of owning all these items)!
The Missing Piece
With more than 200 recipes here at BettysCookNook.com, the Southern Living kolache recipe fills a missing puzzle piece in my Mom’s culinary legacy; Mom’s kolache filling recipes (below) had been in her cookbook without their much needed pastry crust recipe until now! And since kolaches hold a near and dear place in the heart of Texans right up there with queso, big hair, and cowboy boots you have plenty of recipe ideas thanks to my Mom’s 3 filling recipes below – apricot, prune, and cottage cheese. In addition, there’s a streusel recipe to top things off!
Thanks to Southern Living Magazine I’m gratefully able to connect the past with the present. I hope you try and enjoy this recipe! Thank you, Lydia Faust, for sharing a slice of the great days with the rest of us! #HatsOff
While I usually veer off the I-35 interstate in the city of West, Texas for some of the world famous savory Czech Stop kolaches (bless you, jalapeño, sausage and cheese) let’s not forget their sweet kolache friends! I didn’t make all 3 fillings but the apricot filling was my first pick and it was dy-no-mite! I’d suggest starting with that one first.
This is a recipe for those with a little kitchen grit. I found kolaches much easier to make than homemade tamales (which had me sore for 2 days) or puffy tacos (Joe does most of that work) and you’ll have plenty of leftovers to share with friends and family. I’ll never bat an eye at how much these cost as I found hand making these to be a labor of pure love.
❤ This kolache recipe made 53 of the yeasty delights and ironically Mom’s apricot filling recipe filled them all to the last scoop!
❤ It’s customary for the kolaches to touch while baking; they often come out of the oven square-ish. I had giant stainless baking sheet pans so my kolaches came out round. Despite the tweaked shape they tasted the same!
❤ To form the hole we wrapped a spice jar with saran wrap to prevent the dough from sticking and pressed away (shown).
❤ I remember growing-up my Mom’s friend “Miss Joyce” called some savory pigs in a blankey “koblasniky.” Turns out she wasn’t kidding – the sweet treats are kolaches and the savory friends koblasniky. I was happy to confirm in this article. My Moravian ancestors would be proud I stand corrected! Here in Texas folks just refer to anything wrapped in the billowy dough kolaches and we all know what’s involved.
Total prep: Your entire morning. (includes 60 minutes for baking)
for the kolache pastry:
1 ½ tablespoons | active dry yeast
½ cup | warm water (105°F – 115°F)
¼ cup | unsalted butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
¼ cup | vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 ½ cups | lukewarm whole milk (100°F – 105°F)
6 cups | all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for the prep surface
¾ cup | evaporated milk
⅓ cup | granulated sugar
1 tablespoon | kosher salt
2 large | cage free eggs
1 large | cage free egg yolk
5 tablespoons (or more) | unsalted butter, melted
for the apricot filling:
1 pound | dried apricots
¾ cup | granulated sugar
3 tablespoons | unsalted butter
for the streusel:
½ cup | granulated sugar
½ cup | flour
½ cup | butter, melted
iii. What To Do
1. Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and stir to combine. Set aside. Place the butter and shortening in a large microwavable bowl, and microwave on high until melted, about 1 minute. Stir well to combine. Whisk in the lukewarm whole milk and yeast mixture.
2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sift 3 cups of the flour over mixture. Add the evaporated milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Gradually add the remaining 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 5 minutes; then beat it on medium-high speed until the dough is elastic and very smooth, about 10 minutes.
3. Brush the top of dough with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and cover it again and let the dough rise until doubled, about 30 more minutes.
4. Generously flour a work surface. Gently roll dough out to a 1-inch-thick rectangle (about 18 x 14 inches). Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and place them 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Brush the tops with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about 20 minutes.
5. While the dough rises, let’s make the apricot kolache filling. Prepare the apricots according to the package directions (I boiled mine in water for about 10 minutes then drained the water). Add the sugar and butter. I used an immersion blender to get things soft but I was careful not to over process it; you still want it a bit thick (not like apple sauce) and a few chunks here and there are OK. Set the filling aside.
6. Let’s continue on by making the posypka (streusel topping): Use a pastry cutter (suggested) or your fingers to combine the sugar, flour, and butter to form a crumbly texture. Store this in the refrigerator until ready to use.
7. Back to the kolaches! Make one small indentation in the center of each dough circle (see tip above or you can use your fingers), and fill each with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Sprinkle each kolache with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the posypka. Let the kolaches rise until they’ve doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
8. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Position racks in top third and lower third of oven. Bake the kolaches until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven. Brush the kolaches with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and transfer them to wire racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
You may be tired by this point so sit back and enjoy a few bites of the sweet life!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook