I’m going to Europe in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!
I’m going to Paris and Poland with my mum, to be exact. Paris is a stopover, just for a couple of days for some pastry eating and because I love the city. Poland for a month, to visit all of our family.
I’m so excited, and I thought I’d make a traditional Polish cake to celebrate!
After going to Poland a few times and even living there for a while after I finished high school, I have come to understand how she misses the culture, the language, the people and the food.
I love a lot of Polish food, but not Makowiec. I don’t care for poppy seed cake one single bit. My mum, on the other hand, loves it, so I thought I’d make it for her.
Makowiec is a yeasty dough that’s rolled up with a poppy seed filling like a roulade. The filling can be made by hand by simmering the poppy seeds in milk, soaking them overnight and then finely grinding them in a food processor. Traditionally, things like sultanas, chopped nuts, orange zest, lemon zest and vanilla sugar are added. I took the easy way out and bought a can of something called Masa Makowa, or poppy seed filling, at my local market.
I had issues with this recipe. My dough, even though it had 5 1/2 packages of dry yeast in it (crazy!!! I know!!!), didn’t want to rise. I had to put it into a warm oven (that was turned off) to even get it to budge. Then I didn’t wrap the cake up tightly, or well enough, in baking paper when I put it in the oven, so the baking paper opened up and the cake rose and cracked and grew and kind of
But Mum made me feel better about it by telling me her mum’s (my grandma’s) Makowiec used to crack all the time.
And it tastes just like the Makowiec I remember having in Poland, so it’s all good.
POPPY SEED CAKE (MAKOWIEC)
Adapted from Rose Petal Jam by Beata Zatorska.
110g unsalted butter, softened (1/2 cup)
150g caster sugar (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp)
2 egg yolks
250ml milk (1 cup)
500g plain flour (2 cups)
40g dry yeast (1 1/2 ounces, 5 1/2 sachets)
pinch of salt
700g can of Masa Makowa, or poppy seed filling
1 whole egg
1/2 cup icing sugar
3-4 tsp water or lemon juice
Beat together the butter, caster sugar and egg yolks till creamy. Mix in the milk (mine didn’t want to combine. Try adding it in a very slow stream with your mixer on a low speed).
Add the plain flour, dry yeast and salt, and mix well to combine.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place in a warm place to rise. It is supposed to double (mine didn’t double, and took about 2 1/2 hours to rise just a little. So don’t stress if yours doesn’t rise much either, because it will likely do most of its growing while its baking).
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
On a well floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle until it is 1cm (1/2 inch) thick.
Spread the poppy seed filling evenly over the rectangle, leaving a 2-3cm (1 inch) border of bare dough around the edge.
Now, get a big (BIG!) piece of baking paper and roll the cake up in it, TIGHTLY. Place on a baking tray and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Take the cake out of the oven and make your glaze by combining the icing sugar with enough water to make a slightly runny mixture. Brush it over the cake while its still hot.
Allow to cool before cutting. Serves 10.