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An earlier version of these Austrian Apricot Kolaches was called Topfengolatschen and made with cherries. If you came here looking for that recipe, use about four sour cherries per pocket instead of apricots.
I am so happy it’s finally apricot season. I love these orange fruits with their sweet and sour taste, their juicy and soft texture. To me they are like the better version of a plum, because when you roast or bake them, they have a similar flavour profile but are not as bitter as plums. (I am talking about Italian plums, a kind of plum that is the most common plum in Germany.)
This year I am celebrating the start of apricot season with these fluffy and sweet Austrian apricot kolaches also known as topfengolatschen mit marillen. (Topfen = quark = fresh curd cheese, golatsche = kolach = wheel, marille (Austrian German) = aprikose (German German) = apricot). As you can see I couldn’t decide on the name. In Germany we’d call these apricot pockets. But they are definitely not typically German. (What is anyway?)
Topfengolatsche is an Austrian pastry. You probably never have heard of it although you will know danishes and may have heard of kolach, kolache, or kolac. (Koláč is the correct Czech spelling, while Golatsche or Kolatsche is used in Austrian German.)
These delicious yeasted pastries are all a bit different.
While Czech koláč is a round yeast pastry that has a topping made from dried stone fruits (plums and apricots are popular) and sometimes cream cheese, Austrian golatschen are square and you always fold the dough over the filling. They look like cute little letters. That is why they are also called topfentaschen or topfentascherl (Tasche means pocket, tascherl little pocket.) Topfen on the other hand means curd cheese. (It’s a tart fresh cheese similar in texture to cream cheese.)
The main ingredient for the filling of an Austrian golatsche is curd cheese, also you throw some raisins and lemon in there. (Here you can find a traditional recipe.) The pastry itself can be either made with puff pastry (Danish pastry to be exact) or with an enriched yeast dough. That second version is what I opted for. I simply love yeast dough and it’s easier to make at home than puff pastry. If you are in a hurry, you can buy some premade danish dough and have your kolaches ready in no time. You could call them Danishes, too.
At this point you are probably asking yourself where this weird post is going. Well, we have so many different pastries in Europe. And they are all related. It’s difficult to keep them separated and to find out what’s what. Danishes come from Austria while kolaches come from Eastern Europe. I think this recipe for apricot kolaches is a wonderful example of an European pastry, mixing all kinds of traits from all kinds of cultures.
We would not have all these pastries if it wasn’t for the influence of other cultures. People move all over the country, all over Europe and they take their food with them. They teach their kids how to make these recipes. These kids grow up in a different environment than their parents. They might change the food into something new, adapt the name, change ingredients to what they have on hand locally, etc. It’s always so fascinating to find out about the history of foods, don’t you think?
But lets talk about this recipe. If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know I love yeast pastries. To me their fluffy texture makes the best comfort food. If you combine them with things like fruits and cream or curd cheese, not only do they taste even better. They also keep fresh longer. Curd cheese can easily be made vegan and there are different methods to do this. I chose to simply blend some yoghurt with cashews. If you have access to vegan cream cheese, you could substitute that.
I roasted the apricots to bring out their special flavour profile and to remove some of the excess water stored in the fruits. Roasted apricots taste similar to plums, but they are less bitter. That’s what I love about them and why I will always choose apricots instead of plums.
These apricot kolaches are not very sweet. If you would like a sweeter pastry, you could add about 50 grams of sugar to the filling. Or you can dust the pockets with powdered sugar.
Austrian Apricot Kolaches
For the curd cheese (topfen)
- 250 g soy yoghurt
- 100 g cashews (¾ plus 2 tbsp), raw
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the roasted apricots
- 250 g apricots, quartered and pitted
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
For the yeast dough
- 300 g all-purpose flour (2½ cups)
- 50 g sugar (¼ cup)
- 150 ml soy milk (⅔ cup)
- 20 g fresh yeast (or 1 tsp instant yeast)
- 50 g neutral flavoured oil (¼ cup)
- 1 pinch salt
- 120 ml water (½ cup)
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp apricot jam or agave nectar
To make the curd cheese (topfen):
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a bowl and store in the fridge.
To make the roasted apricots:
- Place apricot quarters, cut side up, in a baking dish and sprinke with sugar.
- Set aside.
To make the yeast dough:
- Place flour in a bowl and make a little well.
- Crumble yeast into the well and pour soy milk on top.
- Let sit for 10 minutes, until the yeast starts to bubble.
- Add remaining ingredients and knead into a smooth dough.
- This usually takes 10 minutes. I knead by hand, but you could use a kitchen machine or hand-held mixer.
- Cover with a damp kitchen towel or a greased piece of plastic and let rest until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.
- Meanwhile preheat oven to 200°C and bake apricots for 20 minutes until soft and juicy. (Don't turn off the oven after removing the apricots.)
- Let the apricots cool down.
- Sprinkle your working surface with flour.
- Roll dough into a 39 x 39 cm (15.4 x 15.4inch) rectangle and cut into 9 13 x 13 cm (5.1 x 5.1 inch) pieces.
- Place one tablespoon of Topfen in the middle and add 2-3 apricot halves.
- Fold two opposite corners over the dough.
- Repeat with the other two corners, so that your pockets look like little envelopes.
- Mix water with corn starch and brush over pastries.
- Cover the pastries and let them rest for about 20 minutes.
- Bake at 200°C for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Mix water and apricot jam or agave nectar and brush pockets with the mixture.
- Let cool before serving or serve warm.
More apricot recipes: