Another kolache recipe? You better believe it.If you know the magic that is a warm, fresh kolache from the Czech Stop in West, Texas, (the town, not the region) you know why I keep making them in my own kitchen here in NYC.They’re super soft and tender and filled with anything from prunes to pecans and they’re just as Texan as they are Czech. Well, *almost* as Texan as they are Czech, kind of like me. I’m a Czech Texan…Czechxan?Maybe it’s because my birthday is next week or because I keep waking up in this alternate reality where I may not get to see my family for a while or because I haven’t driven the expanse of I-35 between Fort Worth and Austin in a few years, but these Strawberry Rhubarb Kolaches are filling a Texas-shaped hole in my soul.Nowadays you can get your kolache fix all over the state of Texas and in many other places including Brooklyn, New York, and yet here I am kneading up sour cream dough and simmering fillings late at night and cutting pastries in the morning. Why? Because nothing—nothing—beats the smell of fresh kolaches baking in your own kitchen.Oh, and the flavor! Soft, rich, buttery pastry with a warm puddle of filling right in the middle—they’re heaven. This Strawberry Rhubarb situation is particularly good. Tangy with hits of lime and ginger, it’s the perfect foil to the sweet pastry and posypka (crumble).
They won’t solve all your problems, but they may very well cure what ails you. You know, if what ails you is a a little homesickness for Texas or a late-spring kolache deficiency.
Strawberry Rhubarb Kolaches
makes about 16-18 pastries
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 teaspoon lime zest (from 1 medium lime)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling:
1 cup 1/2-inch diced fresh strawberries (about 8 ounces)
1 cup 1/2-inch diced rhubarb (about 1 1/2-2 trimmed stalks)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
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, the lime zest, 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 strawberry rhubarb filling. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 12-15 minutes, or until rhubarb softens. Cool and transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate 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 2 teaspoons of strawberry rhubarb 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 barely-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.