Christmas Kolache in Five Acts

Act I:Disclaimer

I am going to write about the Kolache my mom used to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I received the recipe from my sister, Debbie. I don’t wished to be the featured item at Deb’s next Rocky Mountain Oyster buffet, so I will not share the recipe here. If you are lucky enough to own a “Zavoral Family Recipe” (Goodridge and Thief River Falls area, mostly) book, I believe you will find this treasure among the bound and printed pages. All others will have to resort to recipe’s untried and techniques unknown.

Act II: Kolache History

A Kolache is a pastry consisting of filling inside bread dough. I have known Kolache only to contain raisin and prune filling, although it can take forms filled with meat or other fruit. Kolache is a Czech pastry and served as a dessert in central Europe. Montgomery, Minnesota claims to be the capital of Kolache and there are several Kolache Celebrations in Texas, however there are just as many celebrations in Oklahoma and Nebraska. I guess the Czech people really liked Kolache but paid no particular allegiance to any one state.

Act III: It’s the dough

I don’t think there’s really much of a secret to Kolache filling, the wonder lies within the dough. A thick, tough dough would send Kolache contents shooting all over your hand and a crumbly dough would-well, crumble. Lisa and I made Kolache last week and the dough is a tremendous amount of work. Many steps, lots of kneading and time are from what what Kolache is made. Filling the dough and baking seemed almost like an afterthought in comparison to the work of making a great covering for all that filling. We made the dough into small balls then stretched it to make the cover for the filling, next time we will roll it out and cut it with a pizza cutter-much easier.

Act IV: The Filling

First off, you need such a small amount of filling for each Kolache as it fills the interior of the cave-like form of the dough with flavor upon baking. Too much filling will only end up on the baking pan and stick. I feel I can be open about the filling as it was pretty much prunes and raisins that were boiled and processed. I gotta be me, so I boiled the filling in rum instead of water which made the atmosphere of the kitchen a bit heady. Our next batch of Kolache will include this traditional filling but will also include some meat mixtures and maybe cherry. I don’t think my mom would mind.

Act V: I just ate a Kolache

The dough cups the filling and holds it in place so it is the first element you smell. The consistency of the dough is firm and crusty and delivers the first of the mouth sensations to my inner cheek. The bottom of the Kolache is tender and smooth and glides along the tongue as though it doesn’t wish to be noticed. Now the sweetness of the fruit and the mild tang of dough kiss while the tender underside dough and the crusty top-side dough shyly walk towards each other across the dance floor of my mouth. Kolache demand attention to the point of distraction. Howard Dalager, our rural mail carrier from St Hilaire, Minnesota just delivered our mail so I brought him a Kolache for the road; I hope I didn’t just cause an accident.

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