We Czechs have generally a sweet tooth. Most of us love pastries, cakes and cookies and eat them every day (that´s why we are not that slim as we should be). Lot of Czech housewives still keep up with the tradition of homemade baking. My mother makes every Friday sweet treats for a following weekend. She loves to have a cup of cofee accompanied by piece of cake.
Typical are different fruit tarts for which we use seasonal local fruits such as plums, apples, cherries, bluberries, forest rapsberries, red or black currant (ovocný koláč). Another popular cakes typical not only for Czech but also for Austrian or Bavarian cuisine are marble bundt cake (bábovka) and apple strudel (štrúdl).
Christmas baking has also very long tradition here. A real symbol of Czech Christmas is a special bun called vánočka (Chrismas bread). It is made of yeast dough and it is not that easy to make. Another custom is to prepare various Christmas cookies. We usually start to bake them some three weeks before Chrismas Eve. The first cookies we make are gingerbread cookies because they need some time to soften. Then we bake butter linzer cookies filled with red currant jam, vanilla crescents, so called bear paws (very spicy and crispy cookies), ginger cookies (zázvorky) and many others . Some Czech ladies are able to bake 10 or even more sorts of cookies.
My clients often ask what is the most typical Czech pastry? Well, I would say it´s koláče (kolache). Koláče are little round pastries made of yeast dough which have various fillings in the middle. Typical fillings are made of cooked poppy seeds, farmers cheese (tvaroh), apple jam and plum jam (povidla). Koláče are often baked for festive occasions - weddings, village feasts (posvícení) and family gatherings. To make good kolače is quite a tough work. You must prepare all the fillings, make dough, roll it into small balls which you flaten into circles with holes in the middle, them fill them all and sprinkle over each one a special mixture made of sugar, flour and butter. It takes lot of time and that´s why koláče are not that often offered in restaurants or cafés. But if choose me as you private guide and will be lucky enough, I will bring you some homemade koláče of my mother.