Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Czech it out.

My entry for this weeks Carnival of recipes, is a treat that I grew up on, and miss. My sister is coming for a visit, and I want and need to do some baking while she is here. I am hungry for my Grandmother's kolaces.

The herstory and the folklore of the kolace~

Food is an important part of the legacy handed down from generation to generation. The most important food product at the festival is the “kolache” and this one word says to everyone “Czech." The kolache is a unique product of the Czechs. It consists of sweet yeast dough, topped with a liberal spoonful of sweetened poppyseed, pureed prunes or other fruits, including glazed apricots, sweet cherries, apples, or cream cheese, then baked to a golden pastry. The origin of the kolache is a part of the folklore of the Czechs. The story is told that in the early eighteenth century a mother was baking the weekly family bread. Her small daughter was helping. The mother sweetened a small amount of the dough and gave it to her daughter, Libuse, to keep her busy. Libuse made her dough into small flat cakes. Then she added some sweetened plum jelly into the center where she had made an indentation with her little fingers. These cakes went into the oven along with mother’s bread. They had just come out of the oven when the father came in from the field. He immediately snatched one of Libuse’s cakes. The hot pastry burned his mouth. He danced around and around as he tried to cool his burned tongue. While he was jumping around and around Libuse clapped her hands thinking her father was entertaining her. She sang “Tatinek, do kola, do kola” which translates “Daddy go around, go around.” The following week the father asked Libuse to make him some more of those little cakes. She said they were “kola’s” because they made daddy go around. So every week Libuse made her “kolas”. The family began to call them "kolache," meaning “go around things.” Friends and neighbors learned about Libuse’s kolaches and they began to make them. Over the next century they spread over Europe, then were brought here by the immigrants.


1 cake yeast
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 cup milk 3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour
Dissolve yeast, sugar, salt, in warm milk. Add beaten egg and shortening. Mix well, add flour, and stir thoroughly. Let rise and form into small balls. Place on greased pan, brush with grease, and let rise. Make depressions for filling. Fill and let rise until light. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.


My personal favorite filling is apricot!!
Apricot - Place 1 pound dried apricots in a pan with cool water. Let soak several hours. Bring to slow simmer and add sugar to taste, if desired. Cook until very soft. Stir vigorously to get a smooth consistency or run them through the food processor. Re-cook until you get the desired consistency. You can add a few drops of lemon juice for a little added zip.

Poppy Seed
1/2 pound ground poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add enough milk to make a thick mix. Let stand overnight to absorb the liquid.
You can use just about any fruit filling in the kolaches. Just don't use jam or jelly. Jam and jelly will liquefy in the heat of the oven and make a big mess.

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