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When Czech immigrants arrived in Dakota Territory in 1869, they brought a delicious dessert called the kolache, a small pastry usually filled with fruit, though today's cooks enjoy many filling variations.
When Czech immigrants arrived in Dakota Territory in 1869, they brought a delicious dessert called the kolache, a small pastry usually filled with fruit, though today's cooks enjoy many filling variations.

What’s Your Favorite?

Jan 27, 2015

Until I wrote “Quest for the Czech Kolache” (Jan/Feb ’15), I’d always thought that the best Czech pastries were filled with poppy seed sludge. Our office bookkeeper, Ruth Steil, swears that prune kolaches are the way to go. Others crave apricot or cherry.

But Czech South Dakotans’ favorite dessert is much more versatile than I realized. Kelsey Thomas, part-owner and kolache maker at Czeckers Sports Bar & Grill of Yankton, told me that anything that’d make a good pie would make a good filling. She’s tried making chocolate kolaches, peanut butter and jelly kolaches  — and the fresh-from-the-oven pumpkin pie kolache she let me sample was out of this world.

If you’d like to branch out from the ordinary, here are three filling ideas from the demonstrators at Tabor Czech Days. Maybe tropical pineapple-coconut kolaches are just the thing to combat cold, bleak winter weather. Wake up your taste buds for spring with a tart rhubarb kolache. And Kelsey Thomas describes cottage cheese kolaches as “strangely good.” “Just don’t think of it as cottage cheese,” she says.


 

Tropical Filling

1 cup half and half

1/4 cup coconut

1 1/2 tablespoons pineapple Jell-O

1 cup crushed pineapple

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons coconut extract

Mix sugar and cornstarch together and set aside. Combine half and half, coconut, pineapple Jell-O, crushed pineapple, juice, salt and butter. Bring to a boil in double boiler or microwave until heated through. Add cornstarch and sugar mixture and cook until thickened. Stir in coconut extract and cool.


 

Rhubarb Filling 

3 cups rhubarb, cut up

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons Jell-O

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix sugar and cornstarch together. Add other ingredients and cook until thick. Add red food coloring if desired.


 

Cottage Cheese Filling

24 oz. low-fat cottage cheese

1 egg yolk                                         

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Few drops of lemon extract

Sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg

2 tablespoons instant tapioca

Mix together and refrigerate overnight.

Comments

02:23 pm - Thu, January 29 2015
Darla Drew said:
My Grandmother always made them with prunes and raisins. To this day, that is my definition of a Kolache.
02:50 pm - Sun, February 1 2015
Peg Cacek said:
What are your fillings for kolache?
01:41 pm - Mon, February 2 2015
Laura Andrews said:
Darla — Prunes AND raisins? My husband would go for that. Me, I'll stick with poppyseed.

Peg — Our Jan/Feb issue includes recipes for kolache dough, poppyseed filling and prune filling. Honestly, though, it's hard to go wrong with any flavor, especially if you're lucky enough to be getting your kolache straight out of the oven.
05:45 am - Thu, January 28 2016
carol Enright said:
I would love to get the recipe for the prune raisin filling.

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