Traditional Fruit-Filled Kolaches (Sweet Pastries) From Grandma

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What are kolaches?

Kolaches are a sweet, fruit-filled pastry originating from the Czech Republic. They became especially popular in Texas and other states with heavy Czech immigrant populations. The name comes from the Czech word “kola,” which means “wheels,” and references the round shape of the delicious pastries.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound of margarine/butter
  • 1 ⅓ cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups flour
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Filling (our favorites are apricot, cherry, and apple pie fillings but you can also use jam, jelly, and Nutella!)
handwritten recipe card for traditional kolaches
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

Cookware:

  • 6 or 8 qt mixing bowl with lid (or plastic wrap)
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Cooling rack
  • Serrated knife 
  • Sifter for powdered sugar
  • Baking sheet (18×26)(15×21)
  • Baking mat

Instructions:

1. Mix margarine, cottage cheese, flour, salt, and sugar in a larger mixing bowl. 

kolaches dough mixing together in stand mixer bowl
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

2. Let dough sit covered overnight in the refrigerator to chill.

kolaches dough in sealed mixing bowl container
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

3. Roll out dough as thinly as possible with a rolling pin. Sprinkle flour on the rolling surface and rolling pin so the dough does not stick to them.

young boy using rolling pin to roll out kolaches dough
Courtesy of Shelley Kress
kolaches dough rolled thin on cutting board with flour
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

4. Score into squares (about 3 inch squares).

kolaches dough cut into 4 squares
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

5. Place a “blob” of filling in the middle of each square (about a ½ tablespoon).

kolaches dough squares on baking sheet next to cherry filling
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

6. Fold the diagonal corners of the square inwards toward one another – slightly overlapping the edge.

7. Using lightly beaten egg whites as a “glue,” dip your fingers in the egg whites and press/pinch the overlapping corners together.

kolaches folded with filling on parchment baking sheet
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

8. Place on baking sheets (use parchment paper if not non-stick).

9. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min, until the tops are golden brown.

kolaches on baking sheet cooking in the oven
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

10. Remove from the oven, and move from cookie sheets to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

baked kolaches with powdered sugar on cooling rack
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

11. Store in an airtight container.

kolaches stored on counter in an airtight container
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

About this Recipe

Baking has an obviously positive connotation for most people. I’m not a baker – beyond what I do with my children – but every time I do bake, whether it’s something as simple as a cookie mix or something more detailed like a decorated cake, I find comfort. I find youthful joy and I reconnect with the memories embedded in my recollections from baking with my mom and my two grandmas. I was blessed to be surrounded by strong, loving, generous women who recognized the importance of spending time baking, reading, and playing with me.

young girl in kitchen baking with a big smile on face
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

My paternal grandma would make kolaches, a sweet pastry that holds a dollop of fruit, with my brothers and I as we were growing up. She would make the dough the night before, and it would be ready for us to “bake” the next morning. It was a very time consuming process; both the prep and the actual baking! There was always a lot of flour involved – and then powdered sugar at the end as well, so we would end our baking sessions a big mess!

grandma in the kitchen with two grandsons baking
Courtesy of Shelley Kress

Kolaches were a special occasion dessert, and they never lasted long! When I moved out of state after my college graduation, my grandma would prepare a care package for me full of kolaches each time I made my way home for a visit. Or she would send a batch of kolaches with whomever was traveling out my way. It brought a little piece of home and comfort to me.

My brothers and I are about half a generation older than our cousins. Therefore, my grandma was “younger” during our childhood than my cousins – but making the kolaches from scratch is a memory all of us share. And, while the kolaches were delicious, the memories, as always, are most important. 

family standing together in kitchen while baking cookies
Courtesy of Shelley Kress
young girl using a measuring cup to mix ingredients in bowl
Courtesy of Shelley Kress
plate of kolaches with powdered sugar on top

Fruit-Filled Kolaches (Sweet Pastries)

A delicious little pastry filled with a dollop of goodness and sprinkled with a layer of powdered sugar.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Refrigerate 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Czech

Equipment

  • 6 or 8 qt. mixing bowl with lid (or plastic wrap)
  • Rolling Pin
  • parchment paper
  • Cooling rack
  • serrated knife 
  • sifter for powdered sugar
  • Baking sheet (18x26 or 15x21)
  • baking mat

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 lb. margarine or butter
  • 1 1/3 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups flour
  • salt to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • filling (our favorites are apricot, cherry, and apple pie fillings but you can also use jam, jelly, and Nutella)

Instructions
 

  • Mix margarine, cottage cheese, flour, salt, and sugar in a larger mixing bowl. 
  • Let dough sit covered overnight in the refrigerator to chill.
  • Roll out dough as thinly as possible with a rolling pin. Sprinkle flour on the rolling surface and rolling pin so the dough does not stick to them.
  • Score into squares (about 3 inch squares).
  • Place a “blob” of filling in the middle of each square (about a ½ tablespoon).
  • Fold the diagonal corners of the square inwards toward one another - slightly overlapping the edge.
  • Using lightly beaten egg whites as a “glue,” dip your fingers in the egg whites and press/pinch the overlapping corners together.
  • Place on baking sheets (use parchment paper if not non-stick).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min, until the tops are golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven, and move from cookie sheets to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • Store in an airtight container.
Keyword fruit filling, pastry

This recipe was submitted to Love What Matters by Shelley Kress. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

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