Fluffy, buttery breakfast pastries filled with cream cheese and homemade fruit preserves
It wasn’t that long ago that I had no idea what kolaches were. The cool thing is, there are still pastries in this world that I have yet to discover. That makes me very happy, indeed.
Kolaches are originally a Czech pastry, but they have become a pretty big deal in Texas. Some even consider the kolache as Texas as southern barbecue. If it weren’t for the fact that I’m dating a man from Central Texas, I’m not sure how much longer I would go without knowing these treats existed. But lucky for me, I was introduced to them – and they’re absolutely delicious. They can be found in sweet or savory form. Sometimes filled with cheese, or fruit, or rolled around little sausages like pigs-in-a-blanket.
The dough is light and fluffy once baked, slightly sweet and buttery in flavor. Without the filling, it might be close to a dinner roll. But the various fillings take it to another level. Of course, I would argue that the kolaches filled with cream cheese are the best. It’s almost like a danish this way. Most of the time, it seems bakers choose between filling them with cheese or fruit, but I don’t see why we can’t use both at the same time. After all, there are so many fruits that pair so well with cream cheese.
So that’s mostly what I decided to do. I had homemade apple butter and plum & vanilla bean preserves in the cupboard from last year, and these seemed like easy, scrumptious choices to dollop onto little rounds of pillowy dough. And that’s all part of the fun – you can easily make various flavors within one batch of kolaches. Some I filled with only the cream cheese filling, some with fruit preserves, and some with both. Everyone gets something that suits their fancy.
You can fill these babes with whatever floats your boat. Stick to the cheese filling alone, or use your favorite jam. You could also slice up whatever fresh fruit you have lying around, or make a quick jam by cooking and mashing frozen berries. Have fun with it!
Cheese-Filled Kolaches with Homemade Fruit Preserves
- 1 cup whole milk
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) instant yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter diced and chilled
- 1 egg white beaten
- fruit preserves optional
for the dough:
Whisk together milk, melted butter, egg, and yolks. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add in milk mixture and blend on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough consistently clears the sides of the bowl but still sticks to the bottom, about 8-12 minutes. Dough will be fairly sticky.
Transfer dough to a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until dough doubles, about 1 hour.
When dough is ready, prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Dump dough out onto lightly floured counter and divide into quarters. Divide again into quarters to make 16 pieces. Pull down edges of dough and pinch at bottom to make a rough ball. Cup each ball between your palm and fingers and roll into a smooth ball. Place 8 dough balls on each prepared baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic, and allow to rise again in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
for the filling:
Meanwhile, make the cheese filling. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until completely smooth. Add egg yolk and mix completely. Add sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat again until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
for the streusel:
In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Cut cold butter in with your fingers until mixture resembles very fine crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
When dough is almost ready, preheat oven to 350 F. Dip bottom of 1/3 c measuring cup in flour. Press cup into the center of each dough ball, pressing all the way down to make a deep indentation. Brush each kolache with a thin layer of egg white. Fill with cheese filling and/or fruit as desired, about 1 1/2 tbsp per kolache. Sprinkle streusel on outsides of dough, avoiding filling. Bake until golden brown, rotating pans halfway through, about 23-27 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm if possible.
Kolaches can be kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Best if re-warmed in the oven for several minutes.
*recipe from America's Test Kitchen