Pecan Pie Kolaches

Pecan Pie KolachesHello! Everything is upside down here in New York, but I’m trying to make the best of it and blog anyway (because I love it). I know that baking is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind these days, but it’s a great way to relax and put your focus elsewhere for a little while. And it just so happens that tomorrow is one of my favorite food holidays: Pi Day!Pecan Pie KolachesIf you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s the calendar date 3/14, which corresponds to Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, enumerated as 3.14159265359 aka “π.” Whew MATH.Pecan Pie KolachesIt’s not technically a food holiday (National Pie Day was January 23), but it’s the unofficial day to celebrate math by making pie. And why not? Pie is circular, requires math (fractions/ratios) to make, and has the perfect name. Also, it’s delicious.Pecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie Kolaches Pecan Pie KolachesAll that said, I did not make a pie for Pi Day this year. I did, however, mix up a batch of the filling from my Pecan Pie Brownies and put it in a bunch of kolaches. In case you haven’t noticed, they are also circular(-ish), require math to make, and have “pi(e)” in the name. Also, they are reeeeeally delicious.Pecan Pie KolachesThey’re super soft, buttery, filled with sticky nutmeg-scented pecan filling, and topped off with a big pinch of posypka (crumble). Oh my lord.Pecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie Kolaches, y’all. They’re something to celebrate.Pecan Pie Kolaches

Pecan Pie Kolaches
makes about 1.5 dozen kolaches

Kolache Dough:
1/2 cup (1 stick) + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 1/3 cup pecan halves
2/3 cup maple syrup or light corn syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Posypka (Crumble):
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter into 8 pieces. Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, nutmeg and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

Make the filling. Scatter pecans on a dry rimmed sheet pan. Roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Cool completely and then chop finely.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together maple syrup (or corn syrup), brown sugar, eggs, vinegar, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Add butter. Whisk constantly over medium-low heat, just until bubbles are beginning to form at the edges. Mixture will barely thicken.

Set a mesh strainer over a heatproof bowl. Pour filling mixture through to remove any bits of cooked egg. Fold pecans into filling. Let cool overnight.

In the morning, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Into two pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter to cut kolaches, rerolling as necessary. Place 3 inches apart on prepared pans.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Brush on the tops of cut kolache dough. Flour the back of a tablespoon and press it into the center of one kolache to make a well. Immediately fill with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) of pecan filling. Flour the tablespoon again and repeat process with all remaining kolaches on the baking pan. Repeat process with remaining baking sheet.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap (or greased foil) and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 30 minutes, or until puffy.

Make the posypka (crumble). Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with a fork until crumbly.

Position oven racks near the center. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove plastic wrap from one baking sheet of dough. Top each kolache with a big pinch of posypka. Bake kolaches uncovered for 18-20 minutes, rotating pans front to back at the 10 minute mark. They will be light-golden when they are done. Brush baked kolaches with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Let kolaches cool slightly on the pans. Serve warm.

Kolaches are best the day they are made, but may be refrigerated for a couple of days. Warm before serving.Pecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie KolachesPecan Pie Kolaches

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