Poppy Seed Question - Not for Hamantaschen
I'm going to try making mohnlach (poppy seed candy) tonight for the first time. Most of the recipes I've seen are minor variations on the same thing, but I'm left with a few questions...
Do I soak them overnight or not? (Moot, since I put them up to soak last night, but I'd still like to know what people think.)
Do they need to be boiled in milk first? I don't have a pareve/milchig issue.
Do they need to be ground before use or can they be used whole? If ground, I don't have a poppy seed grinder. Will the food processor work? How about a food mill or meat grinder?
The seeds cost $9/lb and were very difficult to find. I really don't want to screw this up. Any suggestions are welcome.
I tried it last night. Used the blender but had to go in much smaller batches than I would have expected. Tedious, but it worked. Unfortunately, the recipe tanked. It was one of those old-style imprecise ones. I'm guessing I should have cooked to hard-ball stage but the recipe said to drip a little mixture on a wet plate and if it doesn't run it's done. Well, it didn't move even when I turned the plate sideways so I spread it out to set. This morning it's still a gummy, yet tasty, mess. I'm trying to figure out how to salvage it. I'm thinking of rolling it in balls or patties and coating with a some brightly colored non-pareils.
I've never made the candy, but I make poppyseed pastries with seeds I brought back from Austria. I have had good success grinding them in a blender, NOT a processor. Spice mill may also work. Grinding them helps them release their nutty flavor. Then, cook them with milk, sugar or honey, cinnamon til thick. One thing: I have two sons in the military and I couldn't cook poppyseed pastries for Xmas, because consumption of poppyseeds gives a positive test for narcotics. If you have friends who undergo random drug tests, caution them before they indulge!
There was some recent discussion of this subject in the following thread:
A food processor won't grind the seeds. I've tried it. So far when I've used poppy seeds to make pastry filling, I've used them whole without grinding. But I've been wanting to find out if grinding them would result in an improvement. Someone said it can be done with a mortar and pestle but that's a LOT of effort. Using a coffee grinder was also suggested. You might try a small sampling with a food mill or meat grinder and see how it turns out.
$9/lb. ! Wow! That's an awful lot to pay for poppy seeds.