When I asked my ‘Chefski what Polish delight I should learn to make after I mastered pierogi, he sweetly suggested I consider the traditional pastry his mama makes just for him whenever he’s home for the holidays: Makowiec.
More like a cinnamon roll in form than a “cake,” makowiec (mah-KO-vietz) almost seems like the Polish equivalent to flan in its ability to garner the “hellz yeah!” reaction from the natives. When I told my dear friend ‘Chiñski (can you tell he’s Polish, too?) I was going to make it he immediately gave me his seal of approval (as did Papa ‘Chefski after tasting a piece!) This is definitely one of those things you’ve gotta know how to make if you want to make a Pole happy 🙂
A quick note(-to-self): this is a time-consuming recipe involving three dough risings. Well worth it, but you gotta have a whole day to make it.
Thanks again to Ania and her mum for the recipe and the priceless woman-power (pictured below).
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 cup of warm milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, beaten
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 can of poppy seed paste
optional: raisons, almonds, nuts, cinnamon, vanilla etc add to poppy seed paste (you can even add brandy or rum)
Find these cans of heaven at your local Polish deli. I got these in Greenpoint, a.k.a. Poland-in-BK.
1. Dissolve yeast in 1 Tb warm water in a small bowl. Set aside while the yeast is activated 2. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer (or your preferred method) cream butter and sugar. 3. Add beaten egg yolks to the creamed butter n sugar mix and mix with a wooden spoon. 4. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cardamom, and any other spices you are using.
5. Add the flour and milk, alternately, to the creamed butter-sugar-egg mix until well incorporated and dough is no longer sticky.
6. Cover bowl and let dough rise for about 2 hours or has doubled in size.
7. Punch down the dough and let rise again for 1 hour.
8. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangular shape with a rolling pin to 1/2-inch thickness.
9. Spread poppy seed pasta (masa makova) onto the dough. Then, starting at a short end, roll the dough length-wise to form a log.
Ania’s rollin’ the log.
10. Place on a baking pan/ cookie sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour.
11. Brush the top with an egg wash (for a glossy finish post-bake), and bake for 45 minutes in 350 degree F oven.
12. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!