Thursday, November 24, 2011
Baking for Thanksgiving: Apple-cinnamon kolaches.
One of my inlaws' friends has never had a kolache. She's heard of them, but never had a chance to taste them. When I was describing them to her, she said that she'd really like to try apple filled kolaches. Personally....my favorites are the traditional poppyseed, cheese, and prune. But, apple is good too!
My grandma (dad's mom) made the best kolaches, and I tried a few different kolache dough recipes before finding this one: Dorothy Bohac's kolache recipe It's the one that most closely matches what I remember from childhood, and works for both sweet kolaches and sausage rolls. Also, since I don't usually want to make such a big batch, I found a blog where a baker cut the recipe down to scale, so I usually use this take on it: Small batch kolache recipe That scaled back recipe made the dozen apple kolaches in the photo, and had enough dough left over to make six sausage rolls (or pigs in a blanket).
And the dough is multi-purpose. You can fill it with sweet filling as in the photo above, wrap it around a piece of sausage to get a pig in a blanket, or even completely encase a filling inside of it to get a filled bun. I've experimented with it and a really good way to use it is to take a scoop of mixed up chopped up leftover ham and shredded Swiss cheese and completely encase it before baking. Makes for an excellent breakfast on the go. There are kolache shops where you can get all kinds of fruit and savory filled kolaches, so the possibilities are endless. Just keep in mind that it's a slightly sweet dough, so you don't want something so savory that it won't work with it.
For the filling above, I took two apples, peeled and chopped them up pretty finely. I had a Granny Smith and I think a Gala apple. I like the mix of tart and sweet in the filling. I heated up a couple tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, added about a half teaspoon of cinnamon, then about six grates of fresh nutmeg, and added the apples and sauteed them until they were starting to get tender. Then I added a fourth a cup of brown sugar and pinch of salt and kept sauteeing on medium heat until the apples were tender and the juice was thickening into a syrup. I let it cool in the pan until I was ready to fill the kolaches. Before I put the filling in, I brushed the kolaches with butter and sprinkled cinnamon sugar around the raised edges of the dough so that it wouldn't be just plain. Usually I use plain sugar with sweet kolaches, sometimes vanilla sugar. But cinnamon sugar works well with apple. The streusel crumble on top is called posypka. I just mixed half flour and half sugar, a couple pinches of cinnamon, and drizzled enough melted butter to make it stick together in crumbs. You put that on before baking.
If you've never had a kolache, it's a bit like a danish. A soft semi-sweet bready dough with a fruit or cheese filling. They're time consuming to make from scratch but not that difficult. I haven't tried freezing the dough, but the finished kolaches (especially sausage rolls and filled buns) freeze well.