Koláče (read “kolache”) is a traditional Czech sweet pastry baked for celebrations such as kermesse or the Czech Mardi Gras called Fašank.
What are koláče?
The term koláč or in plural koláče is a general one and can refer to any pie, crumble or baked cake. It can also refer to the specific traditional pastry. However, the maze through the cake “taxonomy” doesn’t end with the word “traditional”. There are traditional koláče baked for annual events, then those made for weddings and then those regional ones like Valašský Frgál and the best cake ever – Hanácký koláč. This post is about the first mentiones, the smaller kind of this delicious pastry without which no folcloric event would be quite the same.
What it’s made of…
As any Czech grandma or babička would tell you the reason koláče are so yummy is the time and patience they put in them. Sure they do but we are also pretty sure you’d like to know a little more about what you can expect before you take a bite. So the base of this pastry is a yeast dough. And not just any kind of yeast, it has to ve the active “alive” one which gives the baked result its unmistakable sweet scent.
The filling – which is actually on the top of the cake – is one or more of the following: quark (tvaroh), poppy seeds, special kind of plum marmelade called povidla, less commonly other marmelades. You’ll often see the different fillings arranged geometrically and sometimes with and almond in the center.
When are koláče made?
Historically, this was a pastry for the days of festivities which included the Sunday lunch table as well. Koláče are always made for the kermesse (in Czech hody) – the procession stops at certain houses and everyone is hosted by the landlady. You’ll also be able to indulge in them at the carnival or fašank, or the harvest celebrations called dožínky.
You can find the traditional recipe on the blog of Creative Mom with whose permission we also used some of the photos.
Did you try koláče? What was the occassion and what’s your favorite kind? Be sure to check our Food & Recipes cathegory for more ideas on how not to lose any weight!