Apricot Kolache

By Kevin Revolinski
Kevin Revolinski
Kevin Revolinski
Kevin Revolinski is an avid traveler, craft beer enthusiast, and home-cooking fan. He is the author of 15 books, including “The Yogurt Man Cometh: Tales of an American Teacher in Turkey” and his new collection of short stories, “Stealing Away.” He’s based in Madison, Wis., and his website is TheMadTraveler.com
September 24, 2021 Updated: September 26, 2021

Kolache recipes are often taken from forebears rather than cookbooks, so you can expect many variations. In fact, author Dorothy Tepera Palmer brought together a whole book of them, “Kolaches: Recipes From the Texas Czech Belt,” which also includes recipes for (gasp!) klobasniky and a treat to make with leftover dough. The following recipe is taken from her book. Palmer recommends these fillings for first-timers.

Makes 4 dozen

For the Dough

  • 3 packages active dry yeast (3/4 ounces or 21 grams total)
  • 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2/3 cup warm water (100 to 115 degrees F)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup butter, melted, plus more for brushing containers, pans, and dough
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 9 cups flour, plus more for dusting

For the Apricot Filling

  • 12 ounces packaged dried apricots
  • 2 cups sugar

For the Posýpka (Streusel Topping)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Make the Dough

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar, and warm water. Stir and set aside until the mixture is foamy.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add 1 cup sugar slowly, beating well. Add the evaporated and whole milks, melted butter, and salt and mix well, then add the yeast mixture. Add half the flour and mix well with a mixer on low. Continue adding the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. As the dough thickens, mix the last bits of flour by hand or use a dough hook.

Scrape the dough into a large, buttered, sealable container. Lightly butter the top of the dough, cover with a clean dishtowel, and let it rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Don’t seal it while it’s rising. Then, continue the baking procedure or butter the cover and seal the dough to keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 5 days. Return to room temperature before working with it.

For the Fillings

As the dough rises, prepare your fillings.

Place the apricots in a saucepan and add water to cover. Cook slowly until the fruit is soft, about 30 to 45 minutes. Mash with a potato masher or electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the 2 cups sugar and cook slowly, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool and set aside.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the posýpka together and set aside.

Shape the Dough and Bake

Lightly flour your work surface and brush a baking sheet with melted butter.

Working in batches, scrape some dough from the container onto your work surface. Lightly flour the dough and roll out to about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in thickness. Use the flat side of a scraper to cut the dough into squares (or simply use a spoon to scoop dough balls the size of a medium egg, about 1 3/4 ounces).

Flour your hands and roll the dough firmly into smooth balls (the most common mistake is not using enough pressure at the beginning of the balling process). Place the dough balls on the buttered baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Butter the tops and sides of each. Set in a warm area and let rise until doubled in size.

You can watch Palmer make kolache balls on YouTube.

Keep your index fingers floured and press the center of each ball slightly, spreading it out to create a “well” in the center. Allow the dough to rest and rise again, 15 to 20 minutes.

Fill the “well” in the dough with plenty of apricot filling. Place a pinch (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) of posypka in the center of each. Set pans aside again to let rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake the kolache for 15 to 19 minutes. The bottoms and tops should be lightly browned, so use the bottom rack for 9 minutes then the top rack for the remainder of the time, depending on your oven. When the tops are browned, remove the pans and butter the kolache. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove and separate kolache to cooling racks until completely cool. Store in sealable containers or even freeze them.

Kevin Revolinski is an avid traveler, craft beer enthusiast, and home-cooking fan. He is the author of 15 books, including “The Yogurt Man Cometh: Tales of an American Teacher in Turkey” and his new collection of short stories, “Stealing Away.” He’s based in Madison, Wis., and his website is TheMadTraveler.com