During the Easter holidays I always make desserts with poppy seeds. I couldn't imagine my Easter table without poppy seed rolls, filled buns, swirl breads, cakes and so on. These rolls are soft and pillowy and there's a sweet poppy seed filling in every bite thanks to the heart shape. I have made similar rolls before, only with ground poppy seeds which I didn't have to cook with milk. Even though I was quite sceptical about this method, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The filling was moist and poppy seeds were soft, but I wonder if the filling worked with ground poppy seeds. That would be faster. So I think I'm gonna try it soon. However, these are not very difficult to make and all the work is definitely worth the effort. Do make these and enjoy warm, soft rolls during the holidays. Happy Easter!
Recipe found here.
300ml/1 1/4 cups milk
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar
28g/1/4 cup butter, room temperature
440-500g/3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
1 egg yolk (for brushing the tops)
Poppy Seed filling
1 cup poppy seeds
1 qt. milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the dough:
1) Heat milk until lukewarm and add yeast. Mix. Leave to rise, about 15 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, in a bowl of an electric mixer combine egg, salt and sugar. Sift the flour in and add the risen milk mixture. With a hook attachment on low speed combine flour and milk mixture, then increase the speed and continue kneading the dough until it completely stops sticking to the bowl, looks very smooth and gluey, about 15 minutes (I kneaded the dough with my hands so it took more time for me. I also added some more flour because my dough was a little bit too sticky).
3) Add room temperature butter and kneed the dough some more, until butter is fully incorporated into the dough and no traces of it are left on the bowl, about 5 minutes.
4) Shape the dough into a ball. Place into a well greased bowl and oil the outside of the dough. Cover the bowl with clean kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm place (I preheated my oven to 40 degrees and left the dough inside). Allow the dough to double in size, about 1.5 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
1) Place the poppy seeds into a medium size pot, pour in the milk and bring to a boil, watching the milk so that it does not run over. Once at a boil, lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes. You can let it sit covered off the heat, for another 30 minutes.
2) Drain through a fine mesh sieve. Put the poppy seeds through grinder twice. Then mix with sugar and vanilla extract.
1) Punch down the dough. Shape a round ball and then a log. With a rolling pin, roll out the log to about 76cm (30 inches) long and 30cm (12 inches) wide.
2) Spread the filling all over the dough, leaving about 5cm (2 inches) at the other end. Roll roulade. With a sharp knife, cut the roulade about every 4-5cm (1.5-2 inches).
3) Cut in the middle of each piece, leaving the two pieces attached by about 1cm (1/2 inch) of dough. Take the two ends, separate them and lay them inside part out facing up, side by side, making it look like a heart.
4) Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Continue with the rest of the dough, placing each piece about 7cm (3 inches) apart. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm place, allowing the pastries double in size, about 40 minutes.
5) Preheat the oven on to 180C.
6) Whisk the egg yolk and using a pastry brush, brush pastries with egg yolk mixture right before placing them in the oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. (Do check the rolls earlier - mine were done after 10 minutes.)
Best eaten still warm!