HOMEMADE CZECH SWEET PASTRY FRGALE (KOLAC)
written by @juliarecipes
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Today I am bringing you very special recipe for sweet pastry, which will bring me back to my recent trip to Europe. As you know, my roots touches Eastern European cuisine and I am always influenced by this, when it comes to cooking or baking.
On my recent trip to Europe, we have visited many countries, including my homelands Czech & Slovak republic. And this is where I have had the chance to taste this delicious sweet pastry specialty FRGALE ,which is typical pastry for region called Valassko (north-east of Czech Republic).
What is FRGALE or FRGAL
To be grammatically clear: frgal is a singular name for one piece of this round cake pastry and frgale means many of them. Frgal has been first found in region Valassko (north-east of Czech Republic) nearly beginning of 19th century. Frgal is a round piece of sweet pastry rolled in very thin flat cake and filled with the most delicious filling. It can be filled with many kinds of fillings; such as pressed cottage cheese, plum jam, blueberry jam, pear jam, appricot jam, nut filling or poppy seed filling. On the top it’s sprinkled with mixture of crumbled butter, flour and sugar, and baked in the oven. It might remind you bit of a pizza making, but it’s not a pizza, it’s a sweet frgal.
How to make sweet pastry dough
To achieve fluffy and soft sweet pastry dough is one of the most common question I get from my family and friends. There is many factors and rules, that needs to be followed. First we need make the dough with lots of love and patience. I have learned that patience and time will make the best sweet dough. Do not rush the process, take your time, it will pay off. So I am going to break the news, this sweet pastry dough needs 2-3 hours to rise in warm place. If you are making it in warmer climate country or during summer time, then 2 hours will be enough. But if you decide making this sweet pastry dough during winter time, count on 3 hours rise.
Second important thing is milk. You might say, what does she has with the milk, but in my own experience, milk needs to be slightly warmed up before added to the flour, respectively in summery room temperature; around 26 – 28 C (78 F). This will make the best rise of the dough. If you would use milk too hot, it would kill the yeast and too cold would not help to rise the dough.
Is your yeast active? Fresh yeast or dry yeast?
Third important thing to remember, when making sweet pastry dough; if you decide to use fresh yeast (which might make your dough even more fluffier) , make sure you let the fresh yeast to rise well before adding it to the flour. I always crumble the fresh yeast in small cup, add 1 tsp of sugar, 1 tsp flour and 2 Tbs of room temperature milk. Stir it gently with teaspoon and let rise for 5-10 minutes. It has to triple it’s size to be ready to use it. If you decide to use dry yeast, make sure, they are active. Add small teaspoon of dry active yeast and add 1 tsp of warm water or milk; if the yeast starts to bubble after 5 minutes, it means your yeasts are active and alive, you are ready to make the dough. For this recipe I used dry active yeast to facilitate the process.
So once you are ready with your active yeast, we can start preparing the dough. Make sure you have a standing mixer with flat beater ready (dough hook will be used later) . In a large mixing bowl combine room temperature butter, sugar and egg yolks and mix until creamy & fluffy (about 2 minutes).
In another bowl combine all purpose flour, dry active yeast, salt and zest from one lemon. Change the flat beater standing mixer attachment for dough hook and alternatively add mixture of flour and warm milk into the batter. Go slowly, add it spoon by spoon, do not rush, every time the flour gets incorporated, add the milk; once the milk is well incorporated add the flour and vice versa, until you add all the flour and milk.
At the end the batter will become lightly sticky inside, but do not stick on the surface to the bowl . If the dough is too sticky (you can’t remove it in one piece from the bowl), add little bit flour and if it’s too hard, add little bit of warm milk or melted butter. The dough has to be soft and pliable. Remove the dough hook attachment and sprinkle the dough with little bit of flour. Cover with clean cloth and let rise in warm place (no draft) for 2-3 hours.
Fillings: pressed cottage cheese, plum jam & poppy seed mixture (optional)
This recipe will make 3 round frgale about 35 cm (14 ” inch) in diameter, so I am going to use three different fillings. And as a filling I used these three kinds; pressed cottage cheese, plum jam & poppy seed mixture. With poppy seed mixture, it might be harder to find this one in your local grocery store, but I have find a great mixture from Amazon and it’s delicious . I have been using it in many of my sweet pastries. If you can’t find one, then you can either make the third frgal with different filling, such as bluberry jam or pear jam or any other jam you have on hand.
Just a little note for the plum jam I used in this recipe. They call it in North America as prune butter which is more solid plum jam, then usual one. I have tried several plum jams available here in Canada & they were all perfect consistency, not to solid and not too liquid. But if your plum jam is too liquid, you can add a teaspoon of corn starch to it and cook it on the stove for few minutes to make it more solid. You do not want to use runny jams on the frgal. With the temperature in the oven it will become even more liquid, and it might run all over the baking sheet to destroy the whole appearance of frgal. So keep in mind using solid consistency jams.
In the meanwhile the dough is rising and we can prepare our fillings for frgal. Cottage cheese one will require extra work and you need to mix together cottage cheese with sugar, egg yolks, melted butter and rum. I am using specific Czech rum Bozkov (it has beautiful caramel aroma), but you can use any dark rum you will find in your liqueur store. Optional: you can add dry raisins, if you’d like in the cottage cheese filling. Once the cottage cheese filling is ready, cover it with plastic foil and reserve it in refrigerator for later.
Sprinkle/Crumble (mixture of flour, butter & sugar)
If anybody know the name, how to call the sprinkle/crumble mixture on top of the cakes, which is made basically from flour, butter and sugar, please let me know, because I have no idea how to call this 🙂 But we will need it, to top the frgal before it will go to the oven. So make sure you have this crumble mixture ready, before baking the frgal.
The dough has risen,let’s make frgale
So when your alarm starts to beep after 2 hours waiting time for your dough, you must have a wow smile on your face seeing the big bowl tripled in size. Yes when your dough had tripled it’s size, then we are ready to roll. On a clean surface sprinkle bit of a flour and place the dough on it. Cut it in 3 equal pieces. Reserve 2 pieces on a side and take a large piece of parchment paper. It should be enough large to cover regular baking sheet for cookies. Take the parchment paper and place 1 piece of dough on it. Sprinkle the dough with flour, so it doesn’t stick to the roller pin and roll very thin round shape cake, in diameter of 35 cm (14″ inches).
Fill the round cake with cottage cheese filling, and leave about 1-2 cm space on the edges. The edges must me lightly rolled inside, toward the filling, to secure the filling. Imagine it like making pizza and the edges needs to be higher then the center of the pizza. Usually the filling has to be higher then the dough itself. Meaning we should achieve 45% of the dough and 55% of the filling. Let’s not forget the cherry on the cake! After the filling, we need to get the crumble topping on our frgal. Generously sprinkle the frgal with crumbles of flour,butter, sugar mixture, we made earlier.
Second round of rising
I always take my time to preheat the oven, because once you fill your frgale cakes, you need to wait another 20 minutes or so, it needs to rise again. And this is crucial, because here is the whole secret of soft sweet pastry dough. Here is the second chance for your dough to prove itself. So take this as a time to preheat your oven to 180 C / 356 F. Place the rack in middle position.
Once your 20 minutes proving period is over, your oven should be ready, but wait, before you place the frgal into the oven, brush the edges with whisked whole egg. This will make your edges so shiny and golden brown. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges turns golden brown. Remove carefully from the oven and leave it on the baking sheet for another 10 minutes to cool down the frgal. Now you are ready to cut your frgal in pizza shape triangles and enjoy it with cup of your hot coffee, tea or milk. Enjoy it, because this frgal will take you bit of time to make, but it’s worth all the sweat you will have to give!
HOMEMADE CZECH SWEET PASTRY FRGALE (KOLAC)
Preparation time: 4 hours ⭐cooking time: 12-15 minutes⭐ servings: 3 cakes (8 pieces each)
- 2 cups (500 g) all purpose flour
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup (125 g) butter (room temperature)
- 2/3 cup (75 g) sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) warm milk
- 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- zest from one lemon
Pressed cottage cheese filling
- 2 cups (500 g) pressed cottage cheese
- 5 Tbsp fine sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 1/2 Tbsp (50 g) soft butter (room temperature)
- 1 tbsp rum
Plum jam filling
Poppy seed filling
- 1 cup (250 g) all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 1/2 tbsp (50 g) soft butter (room temperature)
- In a large mixing bowl of standing mixer, combine room temperature butter, sugar and egg yolks and mix with flat beater attachment, until creamy & fluffy (about 2 minutes).
- In another bowl combine all purpose flour, dry active yeast, salt and zest from one lemon. Change the flat beater attachment for dough hook attachment and alternatively add mixture of flour and warm milk into the batter. Add it slowly; spoon by spoon, do not rush and make sure every time the flour & milk gets well incorporated.
- At the end the batter will become lightly sticky inside, but do not stick on the surface to the bowl . If the dough is too sticky, add more flour and if it’s too hard, add little bit of warm milk or melted butter. The dough has to be soft and pliable. Remove the dough hook attachment and sprinkle the dough with little bit of flour. Cover with clean cloth and let rise in warm place (no draft) for 2-3 hours.
- Cottage cheese filling preparation: Mix together pressed cottage cheese with sugar, egg yolks, melted butter and rum. Once the cottage cheese filling is ready, cover it with plastic foil and reserve it in refrigerator for later.
- Crumble topping: crumble in between your hands flour, sugar and butter in room temperature to prepare crumble topping. Cover it with plastic foil and reserve it for later.
- When the dough had tripled it’s size, prepare clean working surface. On a clean surface sprinkle bit of a flour and place the dough on it. Cut it in 3 equal pieces. Reserve those 2 pieces on a side.
- Take a large piece of parchment paper to cover regular baking cookie sheet. Take the parchment paper (not the baking sheet) and place 1 piece of dough on it. Sprinkle the dough with flour and roll very thin round shape cake (like pizza looking shape) in diameter of 35 cm (14″ inches).
- Fill the round cake with cottage cheese filling, we reserved earlier and leave about 1-2 cm space on the edges. Roll the edges lightly inside, toward the filling, to secure the filling. Repeat the same process with the other 2 pieces of dough and fill them with plum jam and poppy seed mixture. (if you do not have any above fillings, you can use other sort of jams or make more of cottage cheese filling)
- Generously sprinkle the frgal cake with crumbles of flour,butter, sugar mixture, we made earlier. And move the the whole frgal with parchment paper onto the baking sheet and let it proove again for another 20 minutes.
- In the meanwhile your frgal is in its second proving time. Place the oven rack in middle position and preheat the oven to 180 C / 356 F.
- Before you place the frgal into the oven, brush the edges with whisked whole egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges turns golden brown.
- Remove carefully from the oven and leave it on the baking sheet for another 10 minutes to cool down the frgal.
- Now you are ready to cut your frgal in pizza shape triangles and enjoy it with cup of your hot coffee, tea or milk. Enjoy it generously!
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