Have any of my fellow Texas Germans heard of a pastry called "Kuhländler Huxtkichlen" or just "Huxtkichlen" for short?
Huxtkichlen are a special pastry that comes from the Kuhländchen region of northern Moravia and Austrian-Silesia. In the Kuhländchen dialect, Huxtkichle means “kleine Hochzeitskuchen” or “small wedding cake” in English. It is also known as “Kolatschen” in German. However, you probably know it by the Czech name “kolache”.
I was thrilled to find a German recipe for "Kuhländler Huxtkichlen" on the Alte Heimat Kuhländchen web site, because its existence there confirms a long held belief of mine that my German-speaking ancestors knew this pastry in the old country and didn’t just learn it from the Czech immigrants. Most of my German-speaking ancestors immigrated to Texas from the Kuhländchen region in the 1880s. They settled in communities around Schulenburg, Weimar, High Hill, Swiss Alp and Ammannsville where there were large German and Czech populations. We always knew this pastry by the Czech name “kolache”, but it was just as common to be baked in a German-speaking household as a Czech-speaking household.
The German recipe I found is only slightly different from my own kolache recipe. I translated the German recipe into English using American measurements and readily available ingredients so that I could try it out. The main differences are that it called for adding grated lemon peel and raisins to the dough. Another difference is that the cottage cheese filling was folded inside the pastry instead of being on top.
Another traditional filling for the Kuhländchen Huxtkichlen is “powidl”, also known as “Pflaumenschmiere”, which in English literally means "plum smear". This filling is made by taking pitted plums and no other ingredients, and cooking them very slowly at low heat (under the boiling point), stirring occasionally, until all of the liquid is gone. I understand that this can take two or more hours to be done correctly. It can then be sealed in canning jars. I haven't seen this filling before in Texas, but that must be why prunes are a common filling for kolaches in Texas.
Updated with recipe below:
Kuhländchen Huxtkichlen, also know as kolaches:
Ingredients for the yeast dough:
4 cups flour
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks (or can substitute 1 egg)
1 package of dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp.)
1 cup (8 oz.) lukewarm milk
pinch of salt
lemon peel (I used 1 Tbsp. fresh)
vanilla sugar (I use 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
1/2 cup water
Cottage Cheese filling:
2 cups (16 ounces) cottage cheese
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks (egg whites make it too wet!)
2 Tbsp Cream of Wheat or all purpose flour to thicken
Cinnamon, vanilla or lemon peel (if desired)
rum raisins (optional – I do not use)
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) soft butter
Stir the butter with sugar and egg yolk.
Add flour, milk and remaining ingredients and beat well to form a smooth dough.
The dough shouldn't be too firm. It should be sticky! (Note: The original recipe came out too firm when I made it. Since the original recipe did not have water in it, I added ½ cup water to the recipe.)
Let the dough rise well (1 ½ hours – or overnight in the refrigerator).
Pull off portions about the size of a table tennis or golf ball. Dip the dough ball in melted butter and then press onto the baking pan lined with parchment paper. I like to have the raw dough pieces touch slightly in the pan so that they will rise higher.
Use a tablespoon to press an indention into each dough ball. Fill with 1 tablespoon of desired filling, such as cottage cheese, sweetened poppy seeds, sweetened nut mixture or fruit preserves.
Sprinkle Streusel over the Kichlen.
Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes. Adjust temperature and time for your oven.