Makowiec (Polish Poppy Seed Roll)
Polish poppy seed roll is a sweet strudel-like cake with a nutty and sweet poppy seed filling, traditionally made and served around Christmas. It’s often enjoyed as a dessert after a meal or as a snack with a warm cup of tea or coffee. The slices are a mesmerizing swirl of black-and-white adding a lot of aesthetic appeal to your dinner table as well!
Makowiec (Polish Poppy Seed Roll)
For the filling:
- 17 oz raw poppyseeds
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 cup hot milk
- 4 oz butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tbs honey
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup walnuts
For the dough:
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 ½ tbs dry active yeast
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 egg yolk
- 2 oz butter
- 1 pinch salt
For the glaze:
- 5 tbs powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice or water or milk
- 3-5 tbsp orange peel or sliced almonds
How to Make Poppyseed Cake (Makowiec):
- Start by soaking the raisins in hot water and allowing them to rehydrate for 15 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, prepare the yeast for the dough. Take 3/4 cup of milk and warm it up a little. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the milk and set aside in a warm spot for 10-15 minutes until frothy.
- Melt the butter and allow it to cool slightly.
- Take 2 eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. We'll use the egg yolks in the dough and the egg whites for the filling.
Preparing the dough:
- Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Whisk the egg yolks together and pour them in with the flour.
- Add the milk/yeast mixture, a pinch of salt and melted butter and combine everything together. You can knead using your hands or a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
- If the dough needs more moisture, add some warmed milk, a tablespoon at a time, as required. Ideally you'll want to knead for about 10-15 minutes (if working by hands)/ 5 minutes working with a stand mixer, or until you get a soft and non-sticky consistency.
- Form a ball from the dough, cover and place in a warm place free of any drafts. Leave to double in volume for about 1 hour.
Preparing the filling:
- Pour the poppy seeds into a pot and add three cups of water. Stir the mixture and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a minimum and let it simmer for an additional five minutes. After this interval, pour the contents into a large yet fine strainer, positioned over a wide bowl, and allow the poppy seeds to cool down for 20 minutes. This step serves to eliminate excess water.
- Now it's time to grind the poppyseeds to turn them to a smooth paste. you can do this in various ways depending on what you have available. You can use a meat grinder (pass the seeds through twice), a coffee/spice grinder (best option but you have to work in batches), or a food processor.
- Heat up 1 cup of milk on the stove until almost boiling, then add in the poppy seeds and cook on medium-low for around 10-15 minutes, until softened. Add more milk if the mixture dries up while cooking.
- Take the poppy seed mixture off the heat and leave it to cool and to absorb the remaining milk. You can prepare the dough during this time.
- When the ground poppy seeds have done absorbing the water, melt 4 oz /100 g of butter in a skillet, until melted. Then add the poppy seeds, honey, sugar and rehydrated raisins and stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Throw in the chopped walnuts and stir everything together for another 2-5 minutes.
- Adjust with more sugar if necessary.
- In a mixing bowl, place the 2 egg whites and a dash of salt and whisk with a hand mixer until white and stiff. Incorporate it gently into the poppy seed mix with upward movements until homogenous.
Assembly and baking:
- Once the dough has doubled in size, we can begin forming the makowiec rolls.
- Cut the dough into 2 halves, and work with one at a time. Roll out one of the halves into a 1/2 inch or 2 cm thick rectangle (30 cm x 25 cm or 12 in x 10 in).
- Take half the amount of the poppyseed mixture and spread it out over the rolled out dough. Leave the edges clear, to make it easier for the dough to hold its shape.
- Roll the dough from one of the short edges to the other. It's a good idea to wet the opposite short edge of the dough with some water to ensure it seals better. Position them with the seam beneath them to avoid the filling seeping out.
- Proceed with making the second roll in the same way.
- Place the rolls on a baking tray, cover with a clean kitchen cloth and place the rolls in a warm spot and leave to rise for 30-45 minutes.
- When the rolls are almost ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
- Prepare the egg wash by mixing 1 egg with a dash of water and beating it. Use a silicone brush to apply the egg wash all over the rolls.
- Place the wrapped rolls on a tray or in individual loaf pans and bake the makowiec rolls for 40-50 minutes or until golden-brown.
Preparing the Glaze:
- While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze.
- In a bowl, combine the lemon juice (or milk/water) and powdered sugar until you get a thick paste. If the paste becomes too liquid, add a little more sugar to balance out the consistency.
- Once the rolls have cooled, cover each roll with the glaze and top with sprinklings of orange peel or almond shavings (optional).
- Leave the glaze to set before serving.
- Enjoy your delicious homemade Makowiec!