This past week my father asked my mother to make him some koloches. These are a Czech pastry that my father's mother taught my mother how to make. This is one talent of scratch baking that my mother has. However, I am a fan of just one type: poppyseed. My mother brought a few down for hubby and me, but they were apricot. It's sort of like running a hot bath only to find the water is cold. Wholly disappointing.
So, I explained to my mother that it was time to teach me how to make them. This would be Week 21 dessert. And it would give my mother the opportunity to make up for the box carrot cake she made for our birthdays last fall!
As noted, this was a gramma Harris recipe. Gramma Harris was the second oldest of 13 siblings. She was born in Czechoslovakia in the 1890s. She came to the U.S. with her parents and eventually settled in Iowa. My father, an only child, would road trip our family to his parents home in eastern Iowa fairly regularly. And no matter what, gramma always had fresh koloches made...and tons of them. I will explain later why this is significant. Mainly she would have three kinds: apricot, prune, and my favorite...poppyseed. I would devour them. They were always just the right fluffy, chewy, sweet, gooey, deliciousness.
My mother soon was taught how to make these for when we were not able to go to gramma's house, and has carried on since she died. Making them is truly an art. Mostly, mama makes them for holidays. And 9 of 10 batches are perfect. But no matter the practice she has had, sometimes the dough can get a tad tough. Not bagel tough, but think wheat versus white bread.
I had some sort of idea that making koloches was simple. Frankly, it is dough, you raise it, you roll it, you cut it out, fill, bake and done. How hard could that be. Ha. Little did I know. Five hours later and all we had to show for effort was 18 koloches. One batch. 18. Let me just say...not planning to make this a habit!
But for those wanting to endeavor, enjoy. They are so worth it!
Gramma Harris' Koloches
Eggs are separated, while yeast is developing on the stove.
Make a well and add your tempered eggs and yeast mixture.
Do not overmix or the dough will become tough.
Let rise covered with a clean towel in a warm place. Gramma would put her bowl under the blankets at the foot of her bed!
After about an hour, the dough should be double in size.
Turn it out on a lightly floured surface and knead just a handful of times and then roll out to about 1/4".
Using a coffee mug with a floured rim, cut out rounds of dough and make an indention with the bottom of a smaller glass.
Fill with poppyseed filling and top with an almond sliver.
Do not reuse scraps for koloches. Instead roll out and fill and wrap up like a package. For these, I filled with almond paste.
Brush with milk and bake until lightly golden brown. About 9 minutes, but this will vary with each oven so watch them.