Greetings from Austria: Topfengolatschen

Kolatschen or Golatschen are filled yeasted pastries of Czech orign (from Czech koláč). When I first saw them in Austrian bakeries, I thought they were the same as what we Germans call Plunder (Danish pastries).  But of course this would be too easy. Golatschen (or kolaches in English) do not only come in different shapes but can also be made using different preparation methods. Czech koláče are usually round, while the Austrian version is square shaped. Many recipes call for Danish pastry or even puff pastry dough, others call for a plain enriched yeast dough.  A very popular version of the Austrian variety is made with Topfen (Quark).

Being a total newbie when it comes to Austrian Mehlspeisen (general term for cakes and pastries), first thing I did when we came home from our trip from Vienna was to order this tiny but very helpful book, which is available in English, too.

In this book I found a recipe for Powidl-Kolatschen. Powidl is an Austrian term for plum purée, which by the way is one of my favourite Austrian terms. Just like Kolatsche/Golatsche it is derived from a Czech word (povidla). But I disgress…I didn’t have any Powidl around, so I decided to choose a different filling. The result was a not so traditional Topfengolatsche with cherries. For this version an enriched yeast dough is used. For a shortcut version you could use premade Danish pastry dough, if you can find it.

Topfengolatschen with cherries (makes 9)

To make the Topfen:

250 g (1 cup) plain soy yoghurt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a strainer or plastic coffee filter with paper towels. Pour the soy yoghurt into the strainer and let sit for about 4-5 hours to drain it. The final weight of your Topfen should be about 150 g (5.3 oz.) (Sorry, I didn’t measure this in cups.) Now whisk in flour and extract and set aside.

For the filling:

80 g (1/2 cup) thawed tart cherries, drained very well. (Thaw the cherries, squeeze out as much water as possible and then measure out 1/2 cup.)

For the dough (recipe only slightly adapted from the Powidl-Kolatschen dough recipe in Österreichische Mehlspeisen by Maria Wiesmüller, see above):

250 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
50 g (1/4 cup) sugar
120 ml (1/2 cup) soy milk or more, if the dough is too dry
15 g fresh baker’s yeast, crumbled or 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
55 g (1/4 cup) margarine, softened
1 pinch salt

Place flour and sugar in a bowl and mix. Add milk and yeast. If using fresh yeast, let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until the yeast starts to bubble. Add margarine and salt and knead dough until soft and elastic, about 6-10 minutes. Cover with a damp kitchen towel or a greased piece of plastic and let rest until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.

Sprinkle your working surface with flour. Roll dough into a 36 x 36 cm (14 x 14 inch) rectangle and cut into 9 12 x 12 cm (4.5 x 4.5 inch) pieces. Roll out each dough square again, until it measures 15 x 15 cm (6 x 6 inch). Place one tablespoon of Topfen in the middle and add about 4 cherries.

Brush the edges with water and fold over like this:

Fold again and press the edges together a bit.

Cover again and let rise for 20-30 minutes, while you preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Also line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix 1/2 cup of cold water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and brush each pastry with the mixture. Place on the baking sheets. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature or enjoy while still warm.

Notes: These pastries are not very sweet. For a sweeter version you could mix the cherries with 1 or 2 tablespoons of sugar. For more authentic Topfengolatschen, double the amount of Topfen and fill the pastries with 2 tablespoons of this instead of using the Topfen and cherry mixture.

19 thoughts on “Greetings from Austria: Topfengolatschen

  1. My sister in law introduced me to (americanized) kolaches and the debate in her hometown about fruit-filled vs. meat-filled. I have to say, I was not interested in them at all until I see your pretty square-wrapped pastries. The topfen sounds really interesting, I never would have thought to bake soy yogurt.

  2. Beautiful! I’ve been really interested in pastry making lately but living in Canada I don’t have much access to many different European pastries. I may have to invest in a few new books. These ones are now on my to-make list.

  3. Yay, vegan Austrian pastries rock! They look amazing!!
    I guess there are a lot of different varieties… my favorite dessert as a child was a Topf’n Golatschn with raisins in a buttery puff pastry dough. Which reminds me, I should really try veganizing that….

  4. Hey, you came up with a vegan quark recipe! That will serve me well when I try to make quarkbellchen… :)
    Glad you had fun in Austria!

  5. My teeth are kind of tingling from looking at your gorgeous pastries. I can just imagine the luxury of slowly biting into the soft dough and encountering the creamy yogurt filling and tart cherries. Not too sweet is just the way I like baked goods.

  6. being czech I must try them as soon as possible (but I’ve just made a second batch of your tiramisu, so maybe on friday? ;) As you said czech kolace come mainly in round shape so we would call these šáteček – meaning a (small) scarf (probably because it folds in a similar way)…although some people may call it koláč as well (what an interesting information, isn’t it ;)))
    Well thanks for yet another great recipe, can’t wait to try it out.

  7. as an austrian i need to say – topfengolatschen rock!
    a traditional filling is topfen with a hint of lemon and raisins – soaked in rum ;-))
    pictures are great!

    1. Thank you for the info! The filling sounds similar to the cheesecake filling most people over here are used to. I must try a traditional version soon.

  8. The Topfengolatsche looks wonderful. I once tried one with apple filling, which was a nice variation. I like that you use a yeast dough here; I tend to prefer bread-like items over flaky pastries.

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