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Feb 7, 2007 09:41 AM

Poppy Seed pastries

I'm trying to find a recipe for poppy seed pastries, that I think are either Swedish or Jewish in origin. You know, the kind that are made into tarts or cookies with a really dense, gooey poppy seed filling. Anyone know what I'm talking about and can guide me? Thanks!

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  1. I think you may be thinking of hamantaschen? They're a triangular cookie with edges folded over a filling which is often poppy seed paste. Try a google search and you'll find plenty of online recipes.

    1. When I think of poppy seed pastries, I think of the more typical danish with poppy seeds rolled in the middle of it. Sweet from honey and filled with poppy seeds, these were my favourite, more so than chocolate.
      Hamantaschen are more traditionally filled with prunes, although you can get them filled with poppy seeds. I've never been a big fan of hamantaschen.

      1 Reply
      1. re: pescatarian

        Yes, or poppyseed bread, which a childhood friend's Polish mom used to make which reminds me so much of MIL's Slovenian potica (pronounced "poh-TEET-suh") which is a nut-filled bread. Here's a recipe that might help you with the poppyseed filling anyway...

      2. Search under "mohn." That's Yiddish for poppy seed filling. Although I don't like mohn hamatashen and won't make them my father thinks they're the only kind worth eating. The danish sounds more to me like what MissG is thinking of but I'm sure the right recipe will turn up.

        1. If hamentaschen with mohn filling is what you are thinking about, you can find the filling premade, canned, in some grocery stores in the jewish foods section. I personally don't care for it so never purchased and have never baked with it. Like rockycat my father loves it though. I'd guess making your own mohn wouldn't be that hard and might be better.

          11 Replies
          1. re: laylag

            It's actually not all that easy to make the filling. You have to grind the poppy seeds - a process which was not unreasonable in the days when everyone had a meat grinder. I think they kept a separate grinder plate just for poppy seeds. When I tried to duplicate the result using a food processor, I didn't find that it works very well. Just spins them around a bit - doesn't really grind them. Maybe a small coffee grinder would work - never tried that.

            1. re: Nyleve

              You can do it with a mortar and pestle in small batches, but it IS a lot of work... A coffee/spice grinder is a good idea. Next time I go back to the US, I have to remember to bring a few cans back with me... When I lived in the US, I used to buy mohn from Jewish bakeries, too.

              In my Jewish family, when I was growing up we made a more yeasty sort of poppy seed filled streudel-like pastry (could be long and streudel shaped or smaller). I've gotten several recipes, but none of them produces exactly what I remember (yeasty and bready, as opposed to buttery and/or flaky). Anyone have any ideas? Our family was from Eastern Europe (Russian then Poland, now the Ukraine).

              1. re: butterfly

                My Hungarian mothers strudel was made with sort of a cookie type dough - not very sweet but definitely a lot thicker than traditional strudel pastry. Might be what you're thinking. I doubt it contained yeast, though.

                1. re: Nyleve

                  Hmm, it's not cookie like, either (not that there's anything wrong with that!). It's definitely yeasty/bready.

                  1. re: butterfly

                    I think that if you made a challah-like dough, with less or no eggs you could use it to make the poppy seed pastries
                    When I make challah for the holidays, I ususally make one sesame, one raisin and one chocolate - the chocolate one kind of tastes like bubka and I can imagine them smaller with poppy seeds being similar to what you are looking for - glazed with a simple sugar.
                    Re grinding the poppy seeds, I don't recall the poppy seed pastries I ate as a child having such fine filling. You could definitely tell they were poppy seeds suspended in the sugary paste.

                    1. re: pescatarian

                      Here's a recipe I found for sesame danishes - I think you could use the dough:


                      1. re: pescatarian

                        Hmm, what you are describing actually sounds better than the ones that I remember from my childhood (ours were denser and less eggy than challah). I'm definitely going to try this. The sesame danish dough that you link to below looks exactly right... But I can't get sour cream where I live... I wonder if a full-fat greek yogurt would work in its place. I don't think our version had sour cream...

                        My mother claims she gave me the family recipe to make these, but it isn't doesn't turn out right and my other family members seem to have unconsciously migrated toward making a flakier kind of dough. The family member who would have known for sure isn't here to set us straight. The moral of this story: get those recipes while you can by watching the person in question make your beloved food. Don't trust what is written down... good bakers are very crafty.

                        1. re: butterfly

                          I think that full fat yogurt would do the trick.

                          I agree about learning from the experts while you can.

                      2. re: butterfly

                        Butterly, I complete agree with you. A family friend used to make "poppy seed rolls", but it was more like an airy bread. The poppy seed filling was in the center and the top had a light glaze on it. Heaven.

                        1. re: krisrishere

                          On the far off chance that butterfly happens to find this revived thread, I'd advise considering beigli (makos beigli, specifically), which is Hungarian, rather than Russian, Polish, or Ukrainian, but seems to match the description. The dough is made with yeast and is typically not terribly sweet. The shape resembles strudel, but beigli is rolled into a log, rather than layered. It's a traditional Christmas treat, but I believe that my mother's Slovak-Jewish family passed down a beigli tradition as well as the Hungarian side (Slovakia was, after all, a part of Hungary from the 10th-20th century).

                          Maybe there were some crypto-Hungarians in your lineage.

                          1. re: Michael Juhasz

                            Thanks, Michael! I think you hit the nail on the head. Beigli look exactly right (though I think we skimped a bit on the poppyseed filling because it was so expensive to make in big quantities). I live in Madrid now and here we have a big Romanian immigrant population and I've also found that they sometimes make a similar pastry at Christmas time, but it's a bit more cake-like (probably made with eggs, which ours wasn't).

              2. I would improvise...Mom used to make poppyseed struedel using a can of poppyseed filling and phyllo dough. Filling is made by Solo. Instead of a strudel log, cut phyllo into small pieces and put into cupcake tin. Slightly butter (melted) in between sheets and line each cupcake hole. Fill with poppyseed filling and bake. Another option is to use a cream cheese based dough instead of phyllo like one used for pecan tassies. I'm sure you could find a recipe on line. Good Luck. :)KQ

                1 Reply
                1. re: Kitchen Queen

                  I am looking for a recipe for a kolache my Grandmother always made at Christmas eve.
                  It was a kolache filled with prunes and then rolled in poppy seed. The poppy seed was sort of moist. Does this sound familiar, or do you know of a recipe like this?