Hanácký koláč is the best thing among koláče (kolache) typical of the region of its origin, Hanácko (Hanakia).
If you know anything about the Czech cuisine, you probably know koláče. There are many types of these pastries and there’s one that’s better than the others. Why is Hanácký koláč (kolach of Hanakia) better than any other?
First, you have to understand where it comes from. Hanakia has always been one of the most fertile lands. People usually had abundance of milk, wheat and other ingredients which reflected in their cooking – delicious sauces, soups and pastries which were an indispensable part of every Hody, Masopust and other celebrations.
What makes Hanácký koláč different from the other koláče is that not only does the pastry have a generous portion of the filling on top of it (not just a “spit” of it in the middle of a huge pastry mass like you can see especially on some of the kolache made abroad) but it also has a layer of tvaroh (depending on the region it could be translated as cottage cheese, farmer’s cheese, curd or quark) inside of the pastry. This makes the Hanácký koláč more difficult to make and it requires some experience but it’s definitely worth it.
There’s something about the combination of povidla and tvaroh, two ingredients that are often combined in Czech pastry such as koláče or buchty. The strong flavor of povidla and the creamy taste of tvaroh is like symphony in your mouth. All this in delicious pastry and complemented by the perfect topping – streusel made from flour, butter and sugar.
Although Hanácký koláč could have different fillings, especially depending on the season, the most common type is the one with povidla and always with streusel (in Czech posypka, posýpka, drobenka or žmolenka). They are made as regular-sized koláče and also in large sizes. The latter is cut into triangular shapes like cakes. And today, I’d like to show you the Hanácký koláč that is commonly made in our family – with povidla and as big as fits in the oven.
Mouthwatering, right? So let’s get baking!
For one large cake:
- 200 ml/7.1 oz of warm milk
- 100 ml/3.5 oz of oil or melted butter
- 1/2 cube of fresh yeast (approx. 20 g)
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp of granulated or caster sugar
- 0,5 kg/17.6 oz of hladká mouka or all-purpose flour (see Czech Flour Guide)
- 250 g/8.8 oz of quark (curd, tvaroh, farmers cheese) – it has to be the dry kind
- sugar to taste
- 1 tbsp of lemon zest
- 250 g/8.8 oz of povidla
- for the streusel: about 20 g of butter hand-mixed with approx. 4 tbsp of granulated/caster sugar and 1 tbsp of coarse flour (hrubá mouka)
Hanácký koláč – Recipe
Put the yeast in warm milk, add 1 tsp of sugar and let it activate in a warm place for about 15 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt, add the dough starter and butter. Mix until smooth – you can start with a wooden spoon but you’ll have to continue kneading with your hands.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough double in volume. Then knead it again, sprinkle some flour on top and let the dough rise again. Some people repeat this also for a third rising.
While you wait for the dough to rise, prepare the streusel by mixing all the ingredients with your hands. Set aside.
Prepare also the quark filling, just mix the ingredients. I highly recommend using the dry and crumbly quark, not the modern kind that looks more and more like yoghurt.
Sprinkle your table with flour and slowly stretch the dough with your hands.
Put the quark filling on the stretched dough.
And close it up.
Very carefully, roll out the dough to a circle. I recommend doing this directly on the baking tray or a sheet of baking paper (you’ll need two sets of hands to transfer it to the tray).
Spread povidla on the top.
And sprinkle the cake with a lot of streusel.