Poppy Seed Pastries

Before I go into the recipe, I just wanted to say that I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and listening to guidance from their respective health officials!!! These days, hand sanitizer is worth its weight in gold, and I don’t think anyone has seen yeast on a grocery store shelf in weeks (why has that been such a hot ticket item along with TP)?

That means there’s 0 chance of makowiec for for Easter this year, as the dough requires yeast. Makowiec is a traditional Polish poppy seed roll cake that is served on holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Poppy seeds are admittedly always hard to find in regular grocery stores, but I had a bag in the back of my kitchen cabinet that I picked up at a Russian store…you’ll find the most luck in any Polish or Russian or other eastern European deli/shop. I also had a package of puff pastry in my freezer. So, with no yeast available in the greater metro area, I decided to make poppy seed puff pastries for Easter this year instead of makowiec. They aren’t the real thing, but they have a lot of the familiar flavors and are faster to put together.

DO NOT EAT THESE (OR MAKOWIEC) IF YOU ARE EXPECTING A DRUG TEST ANYTIME SOON. These desserts use a lot of poppy seeds, and I’m just sayin’ you might test positive for opiates. Yes, it can happen.

Poppy Seed Filling Ingredients:

  • 500g blue poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or almonds
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract (optional)

Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets store bought puff pastry dough

Lemon Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

To make filling: Add poppy seeds to a bowl and add enough boiling water to cover seeds by at least an inch. Let stand covered for at least 30 minutes. Then pour through a strainer until all liquid has drained. Add the poppy seeds to a food processor with half of the raisins, half of the nuts, and all remaining filling ingredients. Blitz in the processor on high for about 30 second, then scrape the sides down, and mix again for about 30 seconds.

Take the remaining raisins and nuts and chop into coarse pieces with a knife. Mix in together with the blended poppy mixture. You can use immediately or store in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.

Assembly: Thaw frozen puff pastry according to packaging instructions. Preheat oven to 400F unless puff pastry packaging suggests other temperature.

Lightly grease two baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Unfold pastry sheets onto a non-stick surface (or very lightly flour surface), and place half of the mixture in an even layer over the entire sheet, leaving about half an inch along the edges. Do the same with the other half on the other sheet.

Beginning at the short side, begin rolling up. As you reach the end, wet your finger with water and run it across the bottom edge so you create a seal. Cut each roll into about 3/4-inch slices (you should end up with about 11 per roll). Try to use a sawing motion as you cut instead or pressing down to avoid squishing the roll too much.

Bake for about 15-18 minutes, or until dough is lightly golden. Allow pastries to cool slightly.

Mix powdered sugar with lemon juice (you can also add some zest for extra flavor) to make icing. Pour evenly over cooled pastries.

Bonus round: If you have candied orange peels laying around (you never know) chop those up and add on top of pastries.

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