Lemon Poppy Seed Kolaches

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  • Total Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
  • Hands-on Time: 0 hrs 30 mins
  • Makes: 24 servings

Having a song in your head that you can’t get rid of is as frustrating as getting a taste of something so delicious that you can’t get enough of it. A great example of the former is the unshakeable Czech polka, "Vino Kolache", while the kolache (ko-LAH-chay) pastries that are the inspiration for the tune are a delicious example of the latter. This lemon poppy seed version was shared by a Frontier employee of Czech heritage whose family has been making kolaches for at least three generations.



    Note: This recipe requires four separate rises, so the yeast is mostly spent before baking. Without these rises, the kolaches will puff up into buns that spill the filling while baking.

    To Make the Pastry:

    1. In a large bowl, whisk yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and lukewarm water. Let stand in a warm location for 30 minutes.

    2. Add warm milk and 1 cup flour. Mix to make a cake-like batter. Cover and let rise in a warm location until doubled, about 1 hour.

    3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter or coconut oil, 2 tablespoons sugar, egg yolks and salt.

    4. Add creamed mixture to batter, mix to combine. Add 1 to 1 3/4 cups remaining flour a little at a time to make a smooth dough. You may not need all of the flour, or you may need a bit more; add just enough to create a smooth, workable, relaxed dough that's not too dry, not too wet.

    5. Cover and let rise until doubled, at least 1 hour. While waiting, make poppy seed filling (recipe below), as it needs to cool completely before use.

    6. Punch down risen dough. With oiled fingers, pinch off ping-pong-ball-sized pieces of dough, roll into spheres and place about 1 inch apart in a 9x13-inch ungreased baking pan. Let rise for 30 minutes.

    7. Brush tops with melted butter. Using tips of index and middle fingers of both hands, press a 2- to 3-inch diameter depression in the top of each dough ball. Fill indentation with 1 to 2 tablespoons filling (below).

    8. Sprinkle with topping (below) and bake at 425 degrees for about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove finished kolaches from pan and allow them to cool on a baking rack.

    To Make the Filling:

    1. In a medium saucepan, combine all filling ingredients. Bring to a boil over low heat.

    2. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

    3. Cool completely before using. Can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

    To Make the Topping:

    1. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar, butter and vanilla extract.

    2. Rub mixture together with fingers to make moist crumbs, and sprinkle over filling of kolaches.

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