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.