This Russian classic is a sweet yeasted dough encasing a filling of poppy seeds, honey, raisins and nuts.
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250ml warm milk
14g dried active baking yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
100g granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
750g plain flour
100g butter, melted
1 egg, for brushing
For the filling
280g poppy seeds
milk for soaking
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons nuts, chopped
50g butter, softened
2 egg whites
Method Prep:2hr › Cook:30min › Ready in:2hr30min
Combine milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a large mixing bowl; stir well. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes to let the yeast activate and get bubbly.
Add 100g sugar and lemon zest. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks one by one, then add salt. Gradually add flour. Add melted butter and blend.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it becomes elastic and glossy. If it's too sticky, you can add a little more flour. Form a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with cling film or kitchen towel. Let it rise for about 1 hour. Find a warm spot in your house. For example, by the stove or by the heating vent.
Make filling while the dough is rising. Soak poppy seeds in a small pot with just enough milk to cover. Bring to a simmer let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain milk. At this point you can pulse the seeds in a food processor, or leave them as is. Add sugar, honey, raisins, nuts, butter and egg whites. Blend.
Punch the dough down and knead a little. Place on a floured board, divide in half and roll out to a sheet about 25cm wide. Cover with half the filling, leaving a 1cm edge. Roll up into a log. Repeat with the second half.
Arrange both rolls on a greased baking tray. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
When the rolls have risen, brush the tops with the final egg whisked with 1 tablespoon of water. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden.
You can use 50g fresh yeast instead of the dried yeast, if liked.