Grandma Irene’s Koláče

To Make Poppy Seed Topping: In a nut grinder, coffee grinder, food processor, or blender, grind 2 cups
poppy seeds. In a medium saucepan, combine the poppy seeds with 1 cup milk, 1 ½ cups sugar, 1
tablespoon lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and one teaspoon lemon zest. Simmer over a medium-low heat,
stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Let cool.

To Make Cherry Topping: In a medium saucepan, combine ½ cup sugar and ¼ cup cornstarch. Stir in 1 ¼
cups cherry juice. Cook, stirring, over medium heat, until the mixture boils and thickens. Remove from
the heat and stir in 28 oz pitted sour cherries. Let cool.

To make dough: In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve one packet yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons) in ¼ cup
milk. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with ¾ cup milk, ½ cup butter, 2 large eggs, 6
tablespoons sugar, one teaspoon table salt, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and ½ teaspoon nutmeg. Blend in
1½ cups flour. Gradually add 2 ½ cups flour to make a dough. On a lightly floured surface or in a mixer
with a dough hook, knead the dough until smooth and springy, about 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 a warm, draft-
free place until nearly doubled in bulk, 2 to 3 hours, or in the refrigerator overnight. Punch down the
dough, cover, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours. Line
a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 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 or plastic wrap spritzed with cooking spray, and let rise at
room temperature until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (350°F for a convection oven). Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, press
1 large or 2 smaller deep indentations into the center of each round, leaving a ½-inch wide-rim. Brush
the edges with an egg wash of 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon cream. Spoon about 1 tablespoon topping
(cherry, poppy, or whatever you like) into the indentation. Bake until golden brown or the center of the
dough registers about 180°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack
and let cool.