Traditional Czech Kolaces

Traditional Czech Kolaces

I absolutely love traditional recipes that have been passed from one generation to the next. They truely survive the test of time and you can guarantee they will be absolutely delicious! Czech Kolaces are one such recipe. The base is an enriched dough and they can be filled with a variety of sweet things such as fruit or jam. They can also be small or large, which is another thing about traditional recipes, every family has a different version. So why not find your favourite! As kolaces originated as desserts at Czech weddings, their perfect pairing is with a drink of course. Budweiser Budvar lager is brewed in the Czech Republic using 700 year old traditional methods and local ingredients. If you want to steep yourself in Czech tradition, then crack open a Budvar and learn how to make these delicious treats – you won’t regret it!

To learn more about the kolaces watch this beautiful video that Budvar have made! Or you can read the story by clicking here.

To make the dough I started by warming up the milk in a pan until it was luke warm. I added the yeast and caster sugar, then covered it with cling film and left it for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes I uncovered it and added the egg yolks and melted butter and whisked it all together.

In a bowl I stirred the flour together with the salt. I poured the milk mixture into the flour and mixed until a dough formed. I covered it with cling film and left it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour.

Whilst it was doing that I made the cheesecake filling by whisking the cream cheese, caster sugar, lemon zest and egg yolk together. I whisked it until it was thick then I folded in the whipped egg white.

Once the dough was proved, I cut the dough in half. With one half I made little kolaces by rolling it out then cutting out rounds with a cookie cutter.

I used the bottom of a glass to make indentations in the dough.

I filled them with the cheesecake mixture, then added a few blueberries too. I also glazed them around the edges with beaten egg.

They baked on 180C Fan for 20 minutes. I kept re-rolling the dough until it was all gone.

I also made some with blackcurrant jam in the middle instead and a sprinkling of the crumble on top.

With the other half of the dough, I rolled it into a rectangle and spread it out on a lined baking tray.

I sprinkled breadcrumbs on top, followed by blueberries and rum soaked cherries, then finally sprinkled the crumble all over. I also glazed the edge with beaten egg.

I baked it for between 20-25 minutes on 180C Fan until it was golden brown.

I made the kolaces whilst I was round at my friend’s house and they went down an absolute treat. It was so relaxing to chat and bake with a few Budvars, then enjoy the kolaces warm from the oven! I shared the beer out with my boyfriend and friends too. They really enjoyed drinking it with the kolaces, and I heard several poorly pronounced shouts of “Na zdraví!” – which is cheers in Czech!

The kolaces filled with jam were my favourite and they’re also the easiest to make. I really liked the big traybake version too as it’s less time consuming than cutting out rounds. However, the little rounds would be perfect for a party! The bread was soft and light, and the fillings sweet and fruity

      

I’m linking this recipe up with Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too, Cook Blog Share hosted by Everyday Healthy Recipes, Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching For Spice, and Fiesta Fridays hosted by Food For The Soul and The Not So Creative Cook.

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5 from 3 votes
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Small Czech Kolaces with Blueberries & Cheesecake or Jam

Servings 20

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g Plain flour
  • 75 g Caster sugar
  • 75 g Butter melted
  • 250 ml Whole or semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 7 g Sachet of fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Lemon zest only

For the cheesecake filling

  • 250 g Full fat cream cheese
  • 60 g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 Egg white whipped
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Lemon zest only

Other toppings

  • 50 g Blueberries
  • Jam

For glazing

  • 1 Egg beaten

Instructions

  1. To make the dough warm up the milk in a pan until it is luke warm

  2. Add the yeast and caster sugar, then cover it with cling film and leave it for 10 minutes

  3. After the 10 minutes uncover it and add the egg yolks and melted butter, and whisk it all together

  4. In a bowl stir the flour together with the salt. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix until a dough forms. Cover it with cling film and leave it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour

  5. While it's proving, make the cheesecake filling,

  6. Pre-heat your oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6

  7. Once the dough is proved, flour your work surface and roll it out to 4-5mm thick. Cut out rounds using a cookie cutter

  8. Use the bottom of a glass to make indentations in the dough

  9. Fill the indentations with the cheesecake mixture (or jam if using), then add a few blueberries too. Glaze them around the edges with the beaten egg

  10. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown

  11. Allow to cool, then serve with a cold Budvar!

5 from 3 votes
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Large Czech Kolac with Blueberries & Cherries

Servings 12

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g Plain flour
  • 7 g Sachet of fast action yeast
  • 75 g Caster sugar
  • 75 g Butter melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250 ml Whole or semi-skimmed milk
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Lemon zest only

For the kolace crumble

  • 40 g Butter
  • 40 g Caster sugar
  • 70 g Plain flour

For the topping

  • 25 g Breadcrumbs
  • 300 g Blueberries
  • 12 Kirsch soaked cherries

For glazing

  • 1 egg beaten

Instructions

  1. To make the dough warm up the milk in a pan until it is luke warm

  2. Add the yeast and caster sugar, then cover it with cling film and leave it for 10 minutes

  3. After the 10 minutes uncover it and add the egg yolks and melted butter, and whisk it all together

  4. In a bowl stir the flour together with the salt. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix until a dough forms. Cover it with cling film and leave it in a warm place to prove for 1 hour

  5. While it's proving, make the kolace crumble. Put the butter, caster sugar and plain flour in a bowl and rub it all together until it resembles breadcrumbs

  6. Pre-heat your oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6

  7. Once the dough is proved, flour your work surface and roll it into a rectangle, then spread it out on a lined baking tray

  8. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top, then the blueberries and the kirsch soaked cherries, then finally sprinkled the crumble all over. Brush the edges with the beaten egg

  9. Bake it for between 20-25 minutes until it is golden brown

  10. Allow to cool, then slice and serve with a cold Budvar!

NB. This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

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Fruit Strudel with Homemade Filo Pastry

Fruit Strudel with Homemade Filo Pastry

I’ve always said that making filo pastry from scratch is absolute madness and a pursuit only to be undertaken if you are a Great British Bake Off contestant. However secretly I have been harbouring a craving to make it myself. Just to see what it was like, out of curiosity more than anything. Now I live with my boyfriend I have so much more time at weekends (we used to live in different cities) so I have time for big baking projects like this. So I did it! Here’s what happened…

I decided to make a strudel as this is one of the most well known filo bakes so I thought it was a good place to begin. I started making the filo pastry by sieving 250g plain flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl I beat one egg with 125ml water, 1/2 tsp lemon juice and a pinch of salt. The recipe told me to put the flour on the work surface (hence the photo above) and pour the egg mixture into it. This is a bad idea. I do not recommend it as it is stupidly messy. Just mix it in a bowl until a dough forms.

The dough will be quite wet, so knead it on a floured surface until it becomes smooth. This takes about 10 minutes. I oiled my hands to stop it sticking to them and found this quite effective.

I covered my dining table with an old, but clean, bed sheet. You could also use a tablecloth. You may get butter or fruit juice on it so don’t use your best linen. Then I floured it evenly and well.

I rolled out the dough as much as I could with a rolling pin, then covered it with a damp tea towel for 15 minutes. I used more flour and kept the dough moving so it wouldn’t stick to the sheet.

Then I started stretching! I pulled and stretched the dough gently, letting it stretch with its own weight. It wasn’t as hard as I imagined as it is naturally a very stretch dough. It did tear several times but I was expecting that so I wasn’t too concerned. It was hard to keep the edges thin and they stayed thicker all the way around.

After brushing melted butter all over the dough, I sprinkled it with a mixture of 100g soft light brown sugar, the zest of 1 lemon and 1 tsp cinnamon.

I then sprinkled it with one punnet of blueberries, one punnet of raspberries and 3 bramley apples chopped into berry sized pieces. Using the bed sheet I rolled up the strudel gently and slowly.

I put it on a baking sheet and left it overnight in the fridge. The next day a lot of juice had released from the fruit, I mopped it up but I was concerned about how thin the pastry looked on top, how soggy it was on the bottom and how many holes there were in it all over.

So I made more! I used half of the quantity and it stretched a lot better this time and I was much more careful about not making holes.

I re-covered the top and bottom with pieces of the new pastry. It wasn’t the neatest but I felt more confident that it wouldn’t fall apart when baking. If I hadn’t left it overnight, I probably wouldn’t have done this. I brushed it all over with melted butter to make it nice and golden when it baked.

I baked it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes. The fruit released a lot more juice, so I transferred it to a wire rack (with a tray underneath) to cool. You can of course serve it straight away, or let it cool then warm up later. I thought it tasted better hot.

I sliced it up and served it with custard (not homemade, come on… I’d done enough!) I was pleased with how well it had baked despite being left overnight, the filo was beautifully golden, layered nicely and there was a good proportion of fruit. In some areas like the ends there was too much pastry, but if you’re tucking it in to seal it you can’t really avoid this. I’d definitely add more spices if I make it again, but you could taste the cinnamon. It all got eaten up and I got some good comments from colleagues and family. Overall I was really proud of myself and it felt good to overcome this baking challenge!

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Fruit Strudel with Homemade Filo Pastry

Ingredients

  • 250 g Plain flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 125 ml Water
  • 1 Lemon
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 25 g Butter melted
  • 100 g Soft light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 Bramley apples
  • 250 g Fresh raspberries
  • 250 g Blueberries

Instructions

  1. Start by making the filo pastry, sieve the plain flour into a bowl. In a separate bowl beat the egg with the water, 1/2 tsp lemon juice and salt, then mix with the flour
  2. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes. Oil your hands to stop it sticking to them
  3. Cover a dining table with an old, but clean, bed sheet or tablecloth. Flour it evenly and well
  4. Roll out the dough as much as you can with a rolling pin, then cover it with a damp tea towel for 15 minutes
  5. Pull and stretch the dough gently, letting it stretch with its own weight
  6. After brushing melted butter all over the dough, I sprinkled it with a mixture of the soft light brown sugar, the zest of the lemon and the cinnamon
  7. Sprinkle the blueberries, raspberries and chopped apples over the pastry. Using the bed sheet, roll up the strudel gently and slowly
  8. Put it on a baking sheet and bake it on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35 minutes
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Bagels Bagels Bagels: GBBO Week #2

 

Episode 2 of The Great British Bake Off was all about bread! Most bakers are more familiar with cakes (myself included), so bread week always sorts the best from the rest. The contestants made flatbreads, an 8 plaited loaf, and bagels. I was particularly impressed with Brendan’s attempt (picture below) – seriously they look perfect! Although Paul Hollywood was not too keen on the bagels ‘twists’ Brendan made, I thought they were really creative and he is becoming a strong player in the series. He definitely stuck in my mind especially when he cooked his flatbreads over hot rocks, I love a baker that takes risks and just goes for it!

I didn’t even know it was possible to plait with 8 strands, but apparently it is! Well, for some of us… The technical challenge was a plaited loaf (picture below) and hilarity ensued as the bakers attempted to get the plait right. It looked like an absolute nightmare if you ask me, and once baked you can’t really differentiate between the 8 strands so I’m a little unsure on the need for 8 strands. Or maybe that’s my lack of bread knowledge showing through?
As I have decided to make something each week that is made on the show, this week I picked bagels. I decided to copy the bakers and do one sweet flavour and one savoury flavour. I got creative and decided to invent a savoury flavour that I don’t think has ever been tried before (well, according to Google) – ‘hummus’ bagels. This idea came from me having a can of chickpeas in the cupboard for a few months now and also I was thinking about how nice a toasted bagel would be dipped in hummus. So I though… why not put the hummus in the bagel dough?! Crazy, no? I did a little research and found some breads that are made with chickpea flour, but none with chickpeas actually in the bread. This only encouraged me to try it out!
For my sweet flavour I went for lemon and blueberry as it is a classic mix and a favourite of mine that I often make cupcakes with.
I started with 600g strong white bread flour, added 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, a sachet of easy dried yeast, 1 tbsp of sunflower oil, and finally 300ml warm water.
Mix it all together and you get a big lump of dough. I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes; it looked quite lumpy at first, but eventually softened up.
I split the dough in half, popped it into an oiled bowl, covered with cling film, and wondered off to do some other things (like make homemade hummus) for an hour or so.
Making the homemade hummus was pretty simple. I mashed up the chick peas.
I added 1 heaped tsp garlic, the juice of half a lemon, some salt, pepper and paprika to taste. You can make the hummus however you want as it really is just a taste issue. You could add other herbs, or some chilli.

 

Once risen, the dough was all puffy and rather bloated. I pushed it back to its original size, cut it into 4 pieces, and began shaping it into rings. Now I didn’t take many photos at this stage because shaping it into rings, whilst simultaneously adding the flavours was extremely difficult!! So I was rather distracted. My first mistake was definitely that I didn’t add the flavour earlier on. I mixed lemon zest into the dough, and tried to do the same with blueberries, but as the blueberries squished and popped it made for a very soggy bagel. I changed my method to shaping the dough first, then pushing the blueberries into it. Suffice to say, this was not without difficulty and frustration, but I was determined. I would advise using dried blueberries if you try this.
Mixing the hummus into the dough was a lot easier. But I still had problems getting the dough to form a ring. I used the sausage method where you roll the dough into a sausage then wrap it round your hand and attach the ends. Those ends just did not want to join together!
Finally I had 4 shaped bagels. Some looked prettier than others…
And my hands smelt really strongly of garlic. Thankfully I had some lemons to rub over them! I put the dough rings on a baking tray lined with greaseproof baking paper, covered with cling film and a tea towel, and left them for an hour, whilst I cleaned up my mess. I also mixed more lemon juice together with sugar as a glaze for the lemon and blueberry bagels once they were baked.
I came back to some rather larger dough rings.
Each one got boiled for one minute on either side, and then placed back on the baking tray. Boiling was painful for me as I burnt my stomach (through my t-shirt, just to note, I wasn’t cooking in the nude). Baking is not without risk! I need to get myself an apron, anyway… I egg washed all the bagels before baking at 200° (220° if you don’t have a fan oven, or Gas 7 if you don’t have an electric oven).
The recipe said 20-25 minutes but my bagels were done before this time. I’d say 15-20 minutes. But keep an eye on them. My sweet bagels were a tad over cooked. These two lemon and blueberry bagels snuggled up a bit too close in the oven. I drizzled the lemon and sugar glaze over them while they were hot. The hummus bagels came out a lovely golden brown colour.
And here are the final results (with a little impromptu food styling by my housemate)!

 

Please comment below and let me know what you think!
We dug in while they were warm, and the hummus bagels were delicious with butter, they tasted similar to garlic bread and had a perfect chewy texture. It was a bit late at night to appreciate the lemon and blueberry but I had one with jam in the morning!
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