Makivnyk (Poppyseed Roll)
Poppyseeds are a symbol of success in Ukrainian culture, which partly explains the love of this national cake.
Usually an Easter and Christmas dessert, Ukrainian Makivnyk is also baked for no special occasion at all. The soft, tender yeast bread filled with moist poppyseeds is just the thing with your morning tea or coffee.
Ukrainians adore poppyseeds and know their way around them. So, if you see this ingredient in a recipe, it is bound for success. Don’t be put off by the seemingly complicated instructions.
This roll bakes well and tastes even better. It also looks fantastic when sliced – the contrast of black seeds and pale-yellow dough rolled like a snail makes up for the simplicity of the ingredients.
Makivnyk (Poppyseed Roll)
For the dough:
- ½ cup (4 oz) warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 3 cups (1.2 lb) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (2 oz) sugar
- 6 tbsp soft butter
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 lemon
- cup (5 1/3 oz) warm milk
For the poppyseed filling
- 3 cups (3/4 lb) ground poppyseeds
- 1 cup (8 oz) boiling hot milk
- 6 tbs butter
- 2/3 cup (3 oz) sugar
- 5 tbsp honey
- ½ tbsp vanilla
- ¾ cup (3.4 oz) finely chopped prunes or raisins
- 2/3 cup (3.7 oz) finely chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
- 1 egg
- 1,5 oz bread crumbs
Preparations (the day before):
- Scald 2 1/3 cups of poppyseeds and drain off the water. Repeat 3 times.
- Leave the poppyseeds in hot water for 1 hour, then drain them through a cheesecloth. Let the poppy seeds dry, preferably overnight. They should be a bit damp the next day.
- Grind the poppyseeds in a coffee grinder.
How to Make the Dough:
- Mix together ½ cup of warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1 tablespoon yeast. Leave for 5-10 minutes.
- Sift the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour and add the dissolved yeast. Add the sugar, butter, egg, lemon peel, and milk.
- Mix the dough and remove it from the bowl.
- Knead the dough on a floured surface for approx. 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary. Do not make it too stiff.
- Let the dough rise in a covered greased bowl (approx. 45-60 minutes) until doubled in bulk.
- Punch the dough and divide into two parts. Roll each into a rectangle on a floured board – approx. 16-17 inches by 11-12 inches.
- Spread each rectangle with half the poppy seed filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Roll up each rectangle from the long side like a jelly roll.
- Pinch the seams to make the edges secure. Pinch the ends and place them under the roll.
- Place the sealed side down on a greased baking sheet.
- Cover and let rise until doubled (approx. 45 minutes).
- Brush with egg wash or cream.
- Slash the top lightly about ¼-inch deep and 2-inches apart all the way along the roll.
How to Make the Filling:
- Stir the hot milk into the ground poppyseeds. Add the other ingredients. Stir until cool.
- Add the melted honey.
- Add the finely chopped prunes or raisins.
- Make sure you scald the poppyseeds several times to remove their bitterness.
- Spread evenly on the rolls.