Mrs. Jerabek’s Kolache Recipe

Featured in the “The Ranch,” November 1998.

Published often in The West News of West, Texas, this recipe comes courtesy of Nita and Freddy Gerik, longtime residents of West who answer the Westfest information line in their home. According to them, Mrs. Jerabek’s recipe is very reliable.

Dough

2 yeast cakes or 2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup shortening or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons salt
1 large can evaporated milk plus hot water to equal 2 cups milk
6 cups flour (measure by lightly spooning into cup and leveling off)
melted butter for brushing

Dissolve yeast in water and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. In large bowl or mixer, cream sugar and shortening or margarine together. Add yolks and salt and mix well. Add the dissolved yeast and about á cup of the flour. Mix slowly with mixer. Add all the milk and continue adding the remaining flour, using mixer or stirring with a wooden spoon until dough becomes glossy. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about one hour.

After the dough has risen, cut off small portions of dough about the size of an egg. Using a tablespoon, shape into balls and place on a greased pan about 1 inch apart. Brush with melted butter to improve flavor, cover loosely and let rise until light. Make a small indentation in each piece and place filling there. Sprinkle with topping and bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Brush the kolaches with melted butter when they come out of the oven and cool on wire racks. Kolaches are best the day they are made. Yield: 3-4 dozen kolaches, depending on size.

Topping (Posypka)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3/4 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix together until it resembles coarse meal. Store in refrigerator.

Fillings

Prune filling: Cook 1 pound of prunes slowly in water to cover until soft and tender. Remove stones from the cooled prunes and add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and mix well. Do not overmix or prunes will lose their color. Filling for about 2 dozen kolaches.

Apricot filling: Cook a 10-oz package of dried apricots slowly in enough water to cover until fruit is soft and water is cooked out. Do not cover or fruit turns dark. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar or more to taste and mash with a potato masher until well blended. Filling for about 2 dozen kolaches.

Cottage Cheese filling: If using cottage cheese as a filling, be sure to enclose cheese in the dough. Spread dough balls out, place cheese in the middle and pinch all sides together to seal completely. Place sealed side down on the greased pan and butter the pastry. Let rise until light, sprinkle with topping and bake. If commercial cottage cheese is used:

1 pint dry curd cottage cheese
1 8-oz package cream cheese
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
grated zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix together until blended. If cheese is too moist, add very finely rolled crackers, about 10 or 12 to absorb liquid. If using country-style cottage cheese, cream cheese can be omitted or used for added flavor, according to taste.

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