Meet Rita, Eat Kolache

I’m so thankful to Rachel Held Evans for including my story about my mom, Rita Brdicka, in her Women of Valor series today. Please click here to go to Rachel’s blog and meet Mom, and then come back to see her in action in her kitchen.

Mom at 80 celebrating.
photo by Jessi Lueck

If you’ve known my mom any length of time, say a week or so, you’ve likely tasted her sweet, flaky fruit- and nut-filled yeast horns. She’s been making them for 60 years and is asked to bring them to almost every lunch, dinner, party, picnic, quilting bee, baby shower and neighborhood meeting she’s invited to. She’s also mailed dozens of batches to me, my siblings and our kids who aren’t fortunate to live nearby and eat them straight from the oven. She and the recipe were even featured in the Chicago Tribune a few years ago. They’re that good, and she mixes, rolls, fills and bakes them with ease.

The recipe came from her good friend and neighbor Rose Kolenich, who got it from her Czech neighbor. Our whole family calls them kolache, but that’s not technically what they are. Kolache are made from a sweet bread dough cut the size of a dinner roll, flattened out with a dollop of fruit or poppy-seed filling in the center, like a puffy Danish. Mom’s kolache have a similar filling, but the dough is flaky like pie crust and rolled up like a crescent roll.

But why am I trying to explain them when Mom can show you herself how it’s done? Craig captured her in action during a visit we had with her and Dad at the beginning of the month. Click here for the recipe, as featured in the Chicago Tribune (scroll past the herb and cake tips). The recipe calls for 2 cups of butter, but Mom uses half butter and half margarine.