Makowiec is a Polish poppy seed loaf cake that my dear friend Anna challenged me to make, and I am so glad she did! Sweet but not overly so, wonderfully complex flavours, soft crumb. Perfect with a cup of tea. Przepyszny!
This version is a kind of crossbreed between these three recipes. It did turn out to be quite a challenge because the dough wanted to break when I was rolling the loaves up with all that gooey filling inside and they both kind of ruptured a little at the side while they were baking, but they didn’t lose any filling.
Makes 2 loaves
480g (3 1/2 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour (a bit extra, as needed)
150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 x 7g (2 tsp) sachet instant yeast
75g (6 tbsp) granulated (white) sugar
1/2 tsp salt
240ml (1 cup) milk, room temperature
4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g (10 1/2 oz) poppy seeds
475ml (2 cups) milk
100g (1/2 cup, packed) brown sugar
60g (scant 1/2 cup) golden raisins
30g (5 tbsp) ground almonds
30g (1/4 cup) finely chopped walnuts
60ml (4 tbsp) honey
30g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 – 3 tbsp lemon juice
Put poppy seeds in a medium saucepan, cover with 2 cups of milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand until cool. Strain poppy seeds well through a fine strainer – there won’t be much milk but you can reserve it for the dough, if desired.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles soft breadcrumbs.
Add yeast, sugar and salt and combine.
Add milk, egg yolks and vanilla, combine well and knead until smooth and elastic, 8 – 10 minutes.
Transfer dough to a clean, lightly greased bowl and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes.
Transfer poppy seeds to a food processor and grind – you won’t get a paste, but get it as smooth as you can.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, raisins, almonds, walnuts, honey, butter and lemon zest. Cook, over medium-low heat until butter has melted, then add poppy seeds and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form and carefully fold into poppy seed mixture. Set aside.
Cut dough into two equal pieces and roll each out to a rectangle about 30cm x 40cm (12″ x 16″).
Spread each piece of dough with half the filling, leaving a 2.5cm (1″) border on all edges.
Roll the two loaves up from the long edge, sealing the seam and ends as best you can.
Flip loaves on baking sheet, seam-side down, and bake in centre of oven for 40 – 45 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway, until golden brown.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool before glazing.
Mix powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and smear over top of loaves.
Allow glaze to set before slicing.