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What exactly is a Kolache?

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A staple of Lidgerwood’s Heritage Days is the Kolache, a traditional Czechoslovakian pastry that takes a full day to make — and less than two hours to sell out.

The yeasty dough is cut into a circle, then topped with an assortment of fruit fillings. The dough is brushed with an egg wash, then dusted with streusel before cooking. The fillings on Wednesday were poppy seed, prune, apricot, raspberry and cherry.

Tanya Bohnenstingl participated in the Lidgerwood Community Club fundraiser — Kolache making. She has been here for 15 years and Wednesday was the first time she ate a Kolache. She tried the poppy seed pastry. She said it looked like ... something best not mentioned with food. It may not have been pretty with its dark color, but she said it was “delicious.”

Diana Marohl shifted between the finished pastries and stuffed them into a clear bag for sale. She left the careful measurements to someone else, she said. While Kolaches were not part of her families traditions, many people in Lidgerwood did and still do make them during holidays.

“It’s neat they brought these back to Heritage Days. It’s fun to bring back some of these traditions,” she said, then settled back into the routine of bagging pastries.

It was a smaller group that made Kolaches Wednesday when compared to last year’s group. The group didn’t have a firm number of Kolaches to make for the weekend’s festivities. Organizer Nola Smykowski said they would make the pastries that day until running out of ingredients or help.

There were 191 dozen Kolaches made last year, which sold out in 90 minutes. That is a typical occurrence as people line the street waiting for a chance to buy this traditional delicacy, enough that organizers have capped the number of Kolaches any one person can purchase.

On Wednesday acting like a well-oiled machine, people were at different stations — batter, filling, rolling, baking and crumble.

Kolaches traditionally have been part of Heritage Days, but fell away in recent years until the Community Club revived the treat as a fundraiser. It’s a long process to make the pastries. Even with 15 people working Wednesday, it still took more than seven hours from start to finish.

Heritage Days kicked off Friday and wrapped up Sunday. Everything from a parade, free games and music brought thousands to southeastern North Dakota this past weekend to celebrate Lidgerwood’s heritage, especially considering the All School Reunion was held in conjunction with celebrating Lidgerwood’s roots.

Food was part of the means of celebrating this history. Kolaches were brought to Lidgerwood from the old country of Bohemia, which later became Czechoslovakia. The city was founded in 1886 by Bohemians and Germans, so Lidgerwood today honors its ancestors with a nod to the past.

Karen Speidel is the News-Monitor Media Managing Editor

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