Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Family Traditions

We may not have a lot of real family-oriented traditions (we like to try lots of new things) but one of my traditions has been to make kolaches at Christmas time and share them.

Kolaches are a Czech or Slovak pastry - a kind of sweet roll - similar I guess to a Danish. They are so good, kind of flaky and buttery, with fruit filling. Sometimes I put on popsika - another name for struesel. Sometimes powdered sugar icing. Any which way I fix them, they are good. The reason I only make them once a year is they are rather labor intensive!

Where my Mom and Dad were born, there are a lot of people who are of Czech ancestry. My Dad's mother made THE best kolaches. Mine still are not as good as I remember hers tasting. After we had moved to Missouri, she would make some and freeze them for when we came to visit.

You can fill kolaches with many different fruit fillings. I usually do blueberry, cherry and apple. The traditional ones are prune, apricot and poppyseed (an acquired taste). Poppyseed is probably my favorite.

I usually make them right before Christmas and then take some to people at church. This year I sent a dozen with Honey to work.

Makes 3 dozen

This dough is definitely not traditional, but it is oh, so good. I really think Grandma would have approved!

1 package (4 oz, the big box) vanilla cook-n-serve pudding mix
1-1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup butter
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
5-5 1/2 cups flour

Make pudding as directed on box, but use only 1-1/2 cups milk. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and stir into pudding mixture. Beat in the eggs and salt and add enough flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead 10 minutes. The place in greased bowl and set in warm place until dough doubles in size. Pinch off balls of dough about the size of an egg and place on flat baking sheet, 1 dozen to a sheet. Take your fingers and gently pull the dough from the middle outwards to make a depression in the middle. Put in filling - not too much, about a scant tablespoon, maybe 2 teaspoons per roll. Let rise again until double. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

For popsika:
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup flour
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of melted butter

Combine all ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Sprinkle popsika over before putting in oven, if using.

If icing, let rolls cool, then drizzle with a simple powdered sugar icing. Solo sells the poppy seed filling - but it is an acquired taste apparently! Any good canned pie filling will do - but I make my own - these are a labor of love after all! I like to do a cheesecake one - about 2 oz. cream cheese, an egg yolk, little sugar and then some orange rind or mini chocolate chips.

Yes, I got my cherry filling a bit thin. But they are edible! For the brownish looking ones, I used Solo Almond filling, not almond paste, but a similar taste, just goopier! Very nice!

I love you Grandma!


Anonymous said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! These sound absolutely yummy! I love family traditions like this and sweets especially.

Blessings to you and yours!

Jan said...

They look and sound yumptious, Raquel.

BTW, I would love to meet you in Joplin some time, when the weather gets a little better. Love and hugs, Jan.

Cheryl said...

Those look yummy sista@

Marie said...

Those look and sound amazing Raquel! Happy First Christmas together to you and your new hubbie! May it be chock full of happy things and wonderful blessings! XXOO

Geri said...

Gosh. Those sound soooooooo good! Merry Christmas!