|Population||10,693,939 (86th largest)|
|Land mass||78,866 km2 (155th largest)|
|Religions||45% undeclared religion|
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The final C (-ountdown): we’ve made it! The Czech Republic is a land-locked country in Central Europe, which formerly was part of Czechoslovakia until 1993. It ranks as the 11th safest and most peaceful country in the world, enjoys a democratic government and a social welfare state model.
Classic Czech cuisine heavily features meat, potatoes and grains. Czech beer is also world renowned, with the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. However, we went for a sweet treat and Mwara made the tasty pastry Kolaches. These did take a while to make, what with the several rising periods, but were well worth it in the end and went down lovely with a nice cup of coffee! Mwara made two flavours: blueberry and apricot.
- 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- 1 cup warm milk (105 to 115°F for dry yeast) *we used oat milk
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (traditionally use unsalted butter)
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp table salt
- 4 cups plain all-purpose flour
- 2 cups dried apricots
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice or dark rum
METHOD (for filling)
- In a medium saucepan, simmer the apricots and orange juice over medium heat until tender, for about 30 minutes. Then drain.
- Blend the fruit in a food processor with the sugar and lemon juice until it’s smooth.
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- Pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
- 2 cups blueberries
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
METHOD (for filling)
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and, cinnamon. Add the blueberries and lemon juice.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened (for about 10 minutes).
*both fillings can be kept in the fridge for 5 days (+ use for other yummy stuff!).
- MAKE THE DOUGH: Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup warm-ish milk.
- In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the rest of the milk, coconut oil, eggs, sugar + salt. Blend in 1½ cups flour.
- Then gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a workable dough and on a lightly floured surface (or in a mixer with a dough hook), knead the dough until its smooth and springy (5 minutes).
- Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a kitchen towel or loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until nearly doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours.
- Punch down the dough, knead briefly, cover, and let rise in a warm spot until nearly doubled in size, for about 1.5 hours.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease the sheet. Punch down the dough, knead briefly, divide in half, form into balls, and let stand for 10 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough ½ inch thick. Cut into 2½-inch rounds. Reroll and cut out the scraps.
- Place on parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheets about 1 inch apart, cover with a towel and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size (about 1 hour).
- Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 180 ‘C. Using your thumb press 1 large indentations into the center of each dough round, leaving a ½-inch wide-rim. Brush the edges with the egg wash. (see photos)
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon topping into the indent.
- Bake until golden brown for about 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
- Kolache are best eaten fresh out of the oven! YUMMY
Děkuji and see you in Denmark (on Xmas Eve)! M + B x