Happy Sunday Dear Reader! I hope that you had a good night's sleep and that you got to sleep in. I did although Mr NQN left in the wee hours for his usual cycling ride. You see he is a cycling enthusiast and I encouraged him to join a cycling club for safety.
Several times a week they get up at the crack of dawn and ride as a peleton going as far south as Waterfall or all through the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. His fellow riders seem nice enough-he even met a gentleman who is the accountant for all of the nuns in Australia. Well who knew that nuns needed accounting work!
As for me, well I rolled over some time during that ride and kept sleeping.
Please allow me to offer a gentler, less active but no less interesting way to spend your Sunday morning. Making Koláče or Kolaches. These delicious little pastries are Central or Eastern European in origin. They can be filled with fruit, cheese or savoury version called a Klobasnek is filled with sausage. The yeast based dough is slightly sweet and there are several shapes and flavours.
This month's Daring Bakers had us select one from a range of kolaches. There were Pražský koláč (Prague Kolach) a pastry filled kolache, Chodské koláče (Kolache from Chodsko) made with poppyseeds and plum jam giving it a striking pattern but the one I went for was the Dvojctihodné / Moravské koláče (Moravian Kolaches) with two fillings. On top is a thumbprint of plum jam and a sprinkling of streusel but inside was a surprise creamy cheese filling.
It was pretty straightforward dough and I loved learning a new way to make streusel which was the hostesses's mum's trick where it is made quickly in a saucepan on the stovetop (see below). I loved how the sweet jam and the creamy cheese filling baked right into the bread and the streusel? Well that was just a delicious bonus. I only made a half batch of these which was enough for Mr NQN and I and then some but they're great for gatherings with a cup of tea or coffee as they're easy to eat. Either that or you can just keep handing them to a hungry husband after he has just gone for a long ride like I did. It's amazing how many one can down!
So tell me Dear Reader, how are you spending your Sunday?
The September Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Lucie from ChezLucie. She challenged us to make a true Czech treat –Kolaches!
Buyer's tip: you can buy quark at European delis or at David Jones. If there is none available, you can also use mascarpone or soft cream cheese
Step 1 - In a bowl of your electric mixer (or in a large bowl) mix flour, sugar, milk, melted butter, yeast and egg yolks. Knead with dough hook (or with wooden spoon) on low speed for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place and allow to rise for about one hour to double its volume.
Step 2 - Meanwhile prepare quark filling – just mix all ingredients together. Make the plum filling by mixing plum jam with rum or water to soften it. Set aside.
Step 3 - Prepare streusel topping. For a quick streusel in a saucepan melt the butter, add flour and sugar at once and mix with fork until crumbly (add a teaspoon or more flour if needed). Set aside.
Step 4 - Preheat the oven to 170C/340F and line two large baking trays with parchment. After the dough has risen, roll it out onto a lightly floured surface to about 2cm of 3/4 of an inch. Cut circles using a 10cm or 4 inch cookie cutter. Place a teaspoon of the quark filling inside and gather and gently pinch the sides to form a small pouch.
Step 5 - Place seam side down on the lined baking trays and gently press a hole in the centre as shown with your finger. Brush with beaten egg and fill in the hole with the jam. Sprinkle with the streusel topping and bake for 20 minutes.