I can’t remember the first time I heard about kolaches, but I do remember first making them myself maybe 5 or 6 years ago off an archived newspaper recipe. A kolache is a beautiful little baked pastry with choose-your-own filling. They’re labor-intensive and taste best hot out of the oven, which puts them in the same category as donuts and cinnamon buns: learn to make them, appreciate them, and then pay a professional baker to make them for you.
When I was first making kolaches no one in town sold them. No one. And it blew my mind; who wouldn’t want a sweet dough full of cream cheese filling? Or a savory dough stuffed with cheddar and bacon and egg?
The old-timey fillings are always the best. Cottage cheese. Poppyseed. But literally any filling is delicious and this whole concept emerged first out of necessity. If you had cherry jam in the fridge you used that. If the apricots had been plentiful then you used those.
Lemon is always a popular filling, and it didn’t matter whether you used lemon curd or lemon pudding or lemon pie filling. Just a little homemade drizzle of powdered sugar, lemon juice and water icing on top.
And I’m pleased to say, kolache joints are FINALLY starting to crop up.
No, it’s not the same as what your Czech grandmother could whip up (but let’s be honest, nothing will ever be that good again). But they are lovely and plentiful and in some cases, offer drive-through convenience. It’s been far too long since I ate at Dottie’s, but if you live anywhere near Heber you ought to drive over and take a look at what they have to offer.
Be sure and order a cream cheese kolache for me.