I’m a gal from New Jersey (in the USA) who met and married a sweet Czech from Prague. With him came some recipes from his Bohemian mama, all of which I’ve made to keep my hubby happy. Me, too! All of the sweets above are a selection of ones he grew up eating frequently. They include (from top left clock-wise):
- Bishop’s Bread (Biskupský Chlebíček) – My mother-in-law generally made this sweet bread around Christmas each year. It combines a sweet light batter made with lots of beaten egg whites and flavored with chunks of dark chocolate, lemon zest, and nuts (usually hazelnuts). It tastes great fresh, but is one of those goodies that even improves as time passes, if it lasts that long.
- Black Cake (Černý) – A single layer cocoa-based cake spread with delicious raspberry preserves, topped with fresh whipped cream and decorated with berries. My mother-in-law often made this cake on “Ladies Night” when she and her female friends got together to play poker and drink whisky.
- Bubble Cake (Bublanina) – A simple sponge cake with loads of sour cherries baked in. It can also be made with other fruit, like strawberries and blueberries. Mmmm!
- Kolache (Koláče) – These sweet pastries look a bit like Danishes. The filling on the top is usually either a poppy seed paste, povidla/lekvar (prune filling), tvaroch (sweetened Farmer’s cheese with lemon zest), or apricot filling, but there are even other flavors. I remember my Czech brother-in-law bringing a huge tray of mini kolache to my wedding. He said it was a tradition in Czech Republic. I don’t have my mother-in-law’s recipe, but check out the one posted by “Tori’s Kitchen” at https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/kolache/
- Buchty – The buchta (singular) above is a sweet roll that usually contains the same fillings as mentioned for the kolache above. Check out the recipe for buchty at https://birdflight.blog/2020/12/15/buchty-czech-filled-sweet-buns/
- Christmas cookies & other goodies (Vánoční cukroví) – There are dozens of varieties of Christmas cookies baked in Czech Republic around the holidays. A few of the most popular are perníčky (ginger bread), vanilkové rohlíčky (vanilla crescents), Linecké koláčky (Linzer tarts), pracny (spicy bear paws), vosí hnízda (Wasp’s Nests). Also popular is a sweet braided bread called Vánočka.
- Strawberry Dumplings (Jahodové knedlíky) – Yum! These are definitely a sweet, but strangely most often eaten as a lunch main course. My mother-in-law’s recipe includes strawberries (or Italian prune plums or small apricots) wrapped with a dough made with Farmer’s cheese. They are boiled then served with even more grated Farmer’s cheese on top along with confectioner’s sugar and a drizzle of melted butter.
Along with bakeries (where you find bread and bread-type baked goods), Czech Republic has little shops called ” Cukrárna” (sort of like a “sugaria”) where you can find a variety of sweets. There you can find sweet confections, ice cream, and even dessert liquor, like rum. Sometimes cukrárna are combined with kavárna (coffee shop). In those cases, you may also find more variety of food, like non-sweet snacks (e.g. fancy open faced sandwiches like obložené chlebíčky). One of the oldest and most famous examples of such a shop can be found at Instagram page of Cukrárna Myšák. I bet your mouth will definitely water if you visit this site.
[Note: My mother-in-law’s recipes can be found by clicking the item name hyperlink. In cases where I do not have my mother-in-law’s recipe, I have included links to other people’s recipes I have used with success, and hubby approval.]