Three Bites: Texas Turnover – PHOENIX magazine

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Topped with fruit or stuffed with meat, kolache deliciously blends Eastern European pastry traditions with the flavors of Lone Star.

Cafe Kolache

4302 E. Ray Rd., Phoenix
480-706-7007, thekolachecafe.com
Unless you’ve lived in Texas or have Eastern European roots, you’re probably unfamiliar with kolache, a chewy pastry topped with fruit or filled with meat. When Czech immigrants settled in rural Texas in the late 1880s, they took kolaches with them. Texas varieties are more salty than sweet, but Ahwatukee’s Kolache Café does both ($ 1.98- $ 2.98, pictured). Handmade delicacies are the perfect meal, according to owner Joe Leal, who smuggled the dish into the valley when he moved here from Houston. “It’s affordable, you can eat it on the go, and it’s a good breakfast and lunch alternative.” The chewy dough – a cross between sweet Hawaiian bread and a Parker house bun – provides the perfect home for apples, apricots, and a host of other fruit fillings, and a spongy delivery system for smoked sausages; potato, cheese and egg without meat; and other savory delicacies. The most popular? Smoked sausage and cheese, with or without jalapeño. “People buy them by the dozen. “

The local donut

3213 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale
480-500-5236, thelocaldonutshop.com
Logic tells you that a donut shop would specialize in sweet kolaches, but Scottsdale’s The Local Donut only makes savory varieties. It offers four types, including sausage and pepper jack cheese with jalapeños, each wrapped in a chewy dough that resembles a slightly sweet bun ($ 2.29 to $ 3.29). “We had to increase the production of kolache because customers are discovering them,” says owner Daniel Sam. In fact, Sam recently hired a dedicated kolache baker who experimented with both salty and sweet kolaches, including cherries and blueberries. Past flavors include a Monte Cristo with a poached egg, turkey and cheese with local jam from Carolyn’s Classics, and a special “420” kolache which was “a big hit”. We have never been so high on the kolaches.

Hotko Bread Co.

480-808-1059, hotkobreadco.com
Using her bohemian great-grandmother’s recipe, Alexhandra Hotko makes traditional prunes and poppy seeds kolacky (Czech spelling), as well as American-style versions topped with blueberries and cinnamon or jammy apricots (three for $ 5). Hotko’s mace infused dough has a slightly floral note and a little more body than its Texan counterpart. Kolaches require a long fermentation dough that Hotko starts early in the morning and lets sit for six to seven hours throughout the day. After rolling out the dough, she cuts it into circular shapes. “My great-grandmother used a particular mug, but it didn’t survive, so I use a mason jar lid,” Hotko explains. After shaping the dough, she lets it rise again, makes fingerprint dimples, dabs a delicate egg wash on top, and then fills the dough Czech style before baking. Find Hotko Bread Co. at the Uptown Farmers Market.


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