Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sourdough Cherry Cheese Kolaches

I was so happy when I saw we would be doing kolaches for Sourdough Surprises this month.  I had suggested it to Jenni and Shelley after reading about the Czech pastry that's found a new home in Texas. Kolaches sounded like the perfect candidate for a sourdough make over. 

While they can be found in every imaginable flavor in sweet and savory variates,  I knew right from the bat I wanted to try a sweet version.  Sweet filling that is, because from all the recipes I looked over it seemed that the kolache dough is not very sweet.  Not as sweet as a Danish at least, which is the closest thing you can compare it to.

I doubled down and I went with a cherry cheese filling- sweetened ricotta cheese topped with dark cherries. I made some with just cheese, some just cherry and some with cherry and cheese. They were all incredibly delectable!   I was very patient this go-round and made a sponge so my starter could ferment.  I don't have to tell you this was a first for me, and yes, it was very exciting!!  (Yep, that's right, I don't get out much!)

Kolache recipes can be a bit confusing because there are so many pieces to the puzzle, but taken one at a time they aren't complicated at all.  I found that if I had all my fillings and toppings ready before starting the dough, everything flowed nicely.  Of course, it's all worth it when you smell them cooking and even better after that first bite.

While they are best eaten fresh, and believe me when I say we tried to eat them all right out of the oven, I found that even a couple of days out if wrapped, refrigerated and warmed up in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, they were still pretty dang awesome!

sourdough cherry cheese kolaches
(adapted from this, and this)

sourdough sponge:
1 cup fed starter
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl; cover and let sit from 2 to six hours.

1 package yeast (1/4 ounce)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
4 tablespoons soft butter
4 tablespoons raw cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk (save the white for egg wash)
1/2 cup milk
sourdough sponge (see above)
2 & 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing after baking

Whisk yeast, sugar and water in a small bowl and proof for 5 minutes.  In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or a paddle), on low combine yeast mixture, butter, sugar, salt, yolk and milk.  Add sourdough sponge and flour and beat on medium speed until dough pulls away from the side.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form a ball.  Place dough in a buttered bowl, cover and let sit in a warm spot for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.  (Or let it rise in the fridge overnight.)

Punch down dough and divide into 12 equal portions.  Roll each into a ball and place on a parchment lined cookie tray leaving at least 2 inches between each, flatten slightly.  Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Make a large indent in each kolache and spread the dough out a bit to create a cavity for the fillings (recipes below).  Brush the outsides with egg wash.  Fill each kolache, and sprinkle with posypka (recipe below).  

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.  Brush warm kolache with butter and serve warm.

cheese filling:
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1 egg
pinch nutmeg

Whisk everything together and chill until ready to use.

cherry filling:
2 cups pitted dark cherries (fresh, canned or frozen)
1 teaspoon potato starch
1/4 cup raw cane sugar

In a small heavy bottomed pot whisk together sugar and potato starch.  Stir in cherries and simmer on low until mixture thickens.  Chill until ready to use. Makes enough for 12 kolache.

posypka (crumble topping):
4 tablespoons white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons raw cane sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir all ingredients together until crumbly and chill until ready to use.  Makes enough for 12 kolache.

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  1. Oh those cherries look amazing! Mmmmmm.

    1. Thanks darlin', I was very pleased with the results!

  2. You've inspired me to try this version of kolache - yours look and sound amazing!! (I might have to rename them when I serve one to Mom.)

    1. Thanks Dee! It's great to see all these different recipes for kolache, but I agree, there is something almost sacred about a family recipe!

  3. Thanks for bringing the kolache to the table, Robyn! Yours look delicious - I love the cherry and ricotta filling, with that little hint of nutmeg. So many new ideas to try...

    1. Thank you Korena! You're right about all the new ideas, I think the group is writing the book on sourdough kolache this month!

  4. Thanks so much for this awesome suggestion, Robyn! All the kolaches that were made this month look awesome! :) And yours definitely look amazing and tasty! Great job! :)

    1. Thanks Jenni, and thanks for taking the suggestion! So true about all the kolaches. I feel the group has really contributed to the further advancement of this pastry and sourdough kolaches in particular!

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for suggesting these this month! I had never heard of kolaches before, and now I can't wait to make them again. Your cherry and cheese (and cherry/cheese!) fillings look and sound mouthwateringly delicious. I dedicate my kolaches to you and can't wait to bake with you again this month!

    1. Sweet Shelley, thanks so much! And thanks to you and Jenni for starting this great group in the first place. I certainly look forward to the fun and challenge of baking with you guys every month. I've learned a tremendous amount from each surprise and even more from reading about other members experiences.

  6. I love this pastry. Thanks for suggesting it! I also love how your filling oozes so deliciously!

  7. Definitely got to use this filling for my next try. Thanks for posting -btw great idea!