I have never made kolaches that I could call my own. I've helped other people, watched demonstrators, read a hundred recipes, and eaten countless pastries. Since my partner is a well-known pastry chef, you think I would have taken advantage of his knowledge and skill some time in the last four years of our relationship, but I hadn't... until yesterday. I'm not even sure how the topic came up, but when it did he declared that making kolaches was what he wanted to do with his Father's Day, God bless him.
We approached the project from polar opposite viewpoints, but both wanted the same thing... a beautiful, delicious kolach. I brought decades of baggage as a Texas-Czech that thought she knew how it must be done (but had never done it). He brought decades of baggage as a professional pastry chef who thought he knew how it must be done (but had never done it.) I made the traditional fillings - cream cheese and apricot - but the apricot wasn't sweet enough. He made the non-traditional filling - blueberry compote with orange juice, sugar and a vanilla bean - but it was too sweet. I'm surprised we made it through the whole project without throwing pots, pans, beer bottles and the two-year-old, but we did and they turned out pretty darn fantastic.
We used my cousin Rose (Morkovsky) Hauger's dough recipe, which had been published in the online edition of the Austin Chronicle some time in 1998. There are a few women whose recipes I've collected because their kolaches seemed "right" to me. A good kolach is a subjective thing and what I like is not what everyone likes. (How else could places like Lone Star Kolaches not only exist, but open four locations?)
I read the recipe and watched the 2-year-old, while Mark put the dough together,
commenting "This recipes is crappy" at one point until we got on the same page. He knew when the yeast had proofed, knew when enough flour had been added, knew when the dough had doubled in size. I knew how to make the indentations for the filling (sort of), knew how to wrap a klobasnek (sort of), knew how the posipka (crumble topping) was supposed to look. Somehow when we were actually working, we complimented each other's knowledge and the finished kolaches smelled and tasted exactly like they were supposed to. We have a learning curve as far as actually shaping and filling them and know we could improve, but all in all we were so pleased.
I called my Dad to wish him happy Father's Day and tell him that we were making kolaches for the first time. Weirdly, he reportedthat a family friend my youngest brother's age, Chad, had called him to say the exact same thing and that my blog had inspired him. Chad and I compared notes today and he indeed also had trouble shaping and working with the dough/filling combo, though he resorted to just making klobasneks. He wrote to me "I