Iâve never really âgottenâ kolaches in all my years of living in Dallas. They always seemed doughy and devoid of life, with tired, overly sweet commercial filling â" not at all worth the calorie splurge. (Right now, I apologize if you or your bakery makes good kolaches â" maybe Iâve only had them in tourist traps.)
I felt this way, that is, until I tried those of pastry chef Lauren Leoneâs at Bolsa Mercado. I could taste the yeasty freshness of the light, ever-so-slightly sweet pastry that popped with bright, house-made fillings.
So when author Ellise Pierce was in town and we âPiercesâ vowed to meet (no blood relation, but sisters under the skin), I suggested sharing some kolaches and coffee at Oak Cliffâs little market. The Cowgirl Chef (Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking With a French Accent) was also dubious, having had the same experience with dead-tasting kolaches when she was growing up in Denton. (Now she lives in Paris, France, and brings a bit of Texas to that part of the world.) But, she agreed to give them a try, based on my recommendation. (No pressure there: What if she hated them?)
I had nothing to worry about. She loved them! She loved them so much that she âwrangledâ owner Chris Zeilke and Leone for the recipe, which she ran in a blog post about our visit. She returned every morning for a week.
Iâve already been corrected about the folded over ham-and-apple-butter kolache, which we devoured. Itâs not technically a kolache unless itâs round and filled with sweet jam at the center. But whatever you call it, itâs worth the indulgence. We also loved the cherry-basil filled traditional kolache. You can see Ellise sampled some additional flavors.
I canât wait till Ellise returns in November. Iâve promised to share with her my significant otherâs rustic Calabrian eggplant parmesan from a family recipe (which is in the upcoming Edible Dallas & Fort Worth: The Cookbook). With grilled eggplant, hard-cooked eggs, cheeses and tomato sauce, it will make an excellent fall supper â" and hopefully provide one more reason for her to return to the bosom of her native Texas.
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