Everything is just a little bit different in Texas. Almost every style of cuisine has a little spin on it when you encounter it in the lone star state. And, Kolaches are no different.
the traditional kolache
The traditionally round Czech sweet pastry, that usually has a nice dollop of something sweet on top, like apples, peaches or cream cheese, has sort of changed a bit in Texas to being little dough balls stuffed with something savory, like sausages and cheese.
Texas kolaches, pork tenderloin (left) and scrambled eggs (right)
They’ve become quite popular, with stores, much like donut shops, scattered all over the state. And, the varieties go on and on. Here’s my take on a smoked pork tenderloin kolache with red peppers, pepper jack cheese and fresh basil. I also have the ingredient list for another of my favorites, scrambled eggs with chives, oregano and mozzarella cheese, listed after this recipe.
I start off with a yeast dough and that includes milk warmed to about 110 degrees F.
I make a nice sponge to get the dough started by combining yeast, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, and the milk. I give it about 15 minutes before making the rest of the dough.
After that, I combine the sponge with more flour, salt, eggs and melted butter and then roll it onto my board to work the ingredients together. You may need to add about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of more flour if the dough is too sticky…but add it sparingly…you still want a soft and pliable dough (slightly sticky is ok).
Knead it for about 10 minutes and then put it in a bowl to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
You can use just about anything for a kolache, but I’m using smoked pork tenderloin (fresh from my smoker), chopped red pepper, fresh basil and pepper jack cheese.
Roll each ball out to about a 5″ circle in the palm of your hand and layer the ingredients on top. Pull up and pinch the sides around the filling and then shape into a ball. Roll the ball in your had a bit to smooth it out and make it a uniform size.
Take a little egg wash and brush it over the filled balls and then place them in a 350 degrees F oven for about 20 minutes. Afterwards, get a fresh brush and some melted butter and brush the tops again.
You can make the dough for these the night before and then do the finish in the morning.
Texas Kolaches with Smoked Pork Tenderloin
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast, not rapid rise
1 cu Whole Milk, warmed to 110 degrees
1/4 cu Granulated Sugar
3 1/2 cu All Purpose Flour
1/2 cu Butter (8 tablespoons), melted and cooled slightly
2 lg Eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp Salt
1 lg Egg, slightly beaten, for egg wash
2 tel Butter, melted to brush on finished kolaches
1/2 lb Smoked Pork Tenderloin (substitute roasted pork, chicken or beef), chopped
5 oz Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded or finely chopped
1 sm Red Pepper, seeeded and diced
1/3 cu Fresh Basil Leves (loosely packed), then stacked, rolled together and chopped or thinly sliced (a chiffonade).
Pour yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of flour into a large bowl. Gradually stir in warm milk and combine thoroughly. Set aside for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, add 2 1/2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix with a fork and gradually add in beaten eggs and melted butter. Add yeast mixture and stir to combine. Pour onto a lightly floured surface and work dough together. You may need to add in as much as an additional 1/4 – 1/2 cup of flour so that the dough is not too sticky. But, don’t add too much as you want the dough to be elastic and pliable…slightly sticky is ok. Knead for about 1o minutes and then transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Turn the dough in the bowl so that all sides have been coated and then cover with a towel and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours.
After dough has risen, cut it into 16 equal portions. Roll each portion into ball and then flatten it into about a 5″ circle in the palm of your had. Place cheese, basil, red pepper and pork on the the dough and then pull up the sides and stretch them around the filling. Pinch the edges to seal in the filling and then shape the dough into a nice round ball. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Please filled kolaches on a baking sheet and cover for about 30 minutes. Preheat your over to 350 degrees F.
After 30 minutes, brush beaten egg over the surface of the kolaches and then bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove kolaches from the oven and then brush them with melted butter.
Try a variety of different fillings depending on your taste. One of my favorites, though, is scrambled eggs. Here are the ingredients:
Scrambled Egg Filling
10 lg Eggs, beaten
4 tsp Fresh Oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 cu fresh Chives, finely chopped
1 1/3 cu Shredded Mozzarella
Mix together the eggs, oregano, salt and pepper. Heat a nonstick saucepan on medium heat. Spray with cooking spray and add eggs. Stir with a spatula until eggs are fully cooked. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Once cool, fill kolaches like the recipe above, using eggs, chives and mozzarella. You can also add chicken sausage or bacon as well.