Virtually all of the most popular pastries in America originally came from somewhere else (the donut is the exception, as fried dough is a concept many cultures developed independently). This isn't a surprise if you're talking about something like an eclair (France), a croissant (Austria), strudel (Germany), or even a hamentaschen (Jewish communities across Europe). Still, there are plenty of countries that have produced great pastries that we don't often think of.
Enter the cream cheese kolacky. These little bite-sized pastries are easy to make but difficult to stop eating, filled with delicious flavors like raspberry or apricot inside rich, creamy dough. So what country do we have to thank for the origins of the kolacky? Not one you're used to hearing in conjunction with cuisine: the Czech Republic. Since its arrival on American shores, though, it has attained significant popularity in what feels like the most unlikely of locales: Texas.
Cream Cheese Kolacky's Are An Offshoot Of The Kolache
The kolacky's origin starts with the kolache, a filled cake-like dessert brought by Czech immigrants to the region that would come to be known as the Czech Belt. During the mid-19th century, Central Texas became a haven for Czech immigrants to America, to the point where the region wound up with the heaviest concentration of Czech diaspora in America. As immigrants always do, they brought their own foods -- the most popular of which would become the kolache.
The modern kolacky descends from the kolache but differs from it in some fundamental ways. It's much smaller, for instance, and has open ends, while the kolache is more of a filled dessert dinner roll. But what truly sets the cream cheese kolacky apart is the unique way its dough comes together, thanks to the signature ingredient in its name.
Cream Cheese Forms The Base Of Kolacky Dough
You might hear the name "cream cheese kolacky" and think we must be talking about a pastry filled with cream cheese. And they can be prepared that way -- kolaches certainly often are -- but a cream cheese kolacky doesn't have to involve cream cheese filling. Instead, there's a much more novel approach at play: The dough itself is actually made with cream cheese. The mixture of cream cheese, flour, and butter forms a base for the dessert that's both incredibly soft and extremely rich, two qualities you want in a pastry. From there, the tiny pastries get rolled out, filled with whatever filling you're going for (raspberry, apricot, poppy seed, etc.), then baked and dusted with confectioner's sugar.
Next time you want to bake something new, consider the kolacky. There's a reason these things are so popular in Texas; they're just really, really good.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.