From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I was a bit taken aback when I read a claim that kolachkes were a regional pastry found mostly in Texas. Now, I don't have the culinary chops to wage a frontal assault against that claim, but I can tell you that these pastries were made in the German, Czech and Polish kitchens that I knew as a child, and the last time I looked, the south side of Chicago was a long way from west Texas. Hannie, a German neighbor, regularly made these pastries for her family. Her version was like a jewel encrusted sweet roll and she liberally dolloped spoonfuls of her summer fruits preserves in the center of perfectly formed pastry rounds that she cut with an inverted glass tumbler. I loved them all, save for the ones she made with a drab-looking filling she called prune lekvar. Now, I would agree that time, assimilation and the demise of the grandmother's who made them, have caused these pastries to begin a slow fade into memory in areas outside of Texas, but at one time they were popular wherever Eastern European immigrants settled and raised their families. I found the kolachkes I'm featuring tonight on Martha Stewart's website. The recipe, developed by Karen Mederich, won first place in a cookie of the week contest that was hosted by Martha over a decade ago. Her version is more like a crisp Danish than a soft sweet roll. The buns are buttery and delicious and surprisingly easy to make. I have made one small change to the recipe as it was originally published. I felt they needed salt, so I added a 1/2 teaspoon of it to the ingredient list. These are small, 2-1/2 to 3-inch, pastries that would make a perfect addition to a morning coffee or afternoon tea. I do hope you will try them. They are delicious and well-worth your time. Here's how they are made.
Kolachkes - Glazed Polish Pastries...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Martha Stewart Living
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 (2 1/4 teaspoons) package active dry yeast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup fruit preserves
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
1) Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine sour cream and yeast in a small bowl. Set aside until slightly bubbly, about 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in egg and salt until smooth. Set aside.
2) Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in sour-cream mixture until dough comes together.
3) On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 2 1/2-inch rounds. Transfer to ungreased cookie sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let sit for 15 minutes.
4) Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie. Fill each thumbprint with 1 teaspoon preserves. Bake until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
5) While cookies bake make glaze: Combine sugar and butter. Add corn syrup, stirring to combine. Drizzle in milk a little at a time until the glaze has a runny consistency.
6) Transfer pans to rack to cool. Let cookies cool on pans for 5 minutes. Remove cookies to rack. While cookies are still warm, drizzle with sugar glaze. Yield: 4 dozen.
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