Thursday, October 21, 2010

Czech It Out

My great grandmother immigrated to the United States from Czechoslovakia to escape Nazi persecution.   My Baba had a wonderful flower garden in her yard with winding paths to explore.  She always spoke loudly and had a heavy accent and, as a little girl, I often couldn’t understand her.  I have many memories of her pulling coins from her apron pocket and stuffing them into my little hand.   Her home was always welcoming and filled with yummy smells. 

One of the things she always had for us was Kolache.

Kolache is a traditional Slovak pastry that I grew up eating during holidays and family visits.  A Czech dictionary defines Kolache as "the national sweet bread."  It is simply a bread made with sweet yeast dough that is rolled out very thin, spread with a nut paste, then rolled up into a log, baked, and sliced crosswise.

Traditionally, Kolache recipes are handed down from generation to generation within families.  It took me a long time to find a recipe that resembled my Great Grandmother’s Kolache.  I found a good one . . . but not AS good.

Old-Fashioned Kolache Dough

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 package dry yeast
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
5-6 cups of flour

Dissolve yeast in sour cream, set aside. Mix flour, sugar, salt and butter (as in a pie crust). Add yeast/sour cream mixture and eggs. Knead until smooth, adding more flour as necessary (dough should not be sticky).

Place in bowl and cover. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.

 Nut Filling

1 pound ground walnuts
1 stick margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 cup warm milk

Mix together until well blended. Set aside and let cool.

Divide dough into 5 parts. Roll each into a rectangle shape, using 1/4 cup flour and 1 cup sugar (for all 5) so that the dough won't stick.

Spread each rectangle with 1/5 of the nut filling, almost to the edges.

Roll width-wise and seal with your fingers.

Sprinkle the tops lightly with sugar and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Wait until cool before cutting into slices.


  1. It is like a sticky bun...without all the sticky!

  2. It's great i have it every Eater.

  3. Would love to try making this, thank you for sharing, My Romanian Grandparents used to make this every year. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  4. P.S. My Baba had jars of pennies for me, and a huge Garden in her backyard :)

  5. Not sure what you mean when it says roll out dough with flour and sugar I have never heard that could you explain a little more

    1. Just throw down a little flour and I use 10x sugar so your dough doesn’t stick to your surface

  6. Beautiful! Just like my Grandmothers.