Mak Pirog (Poppy Seed Strudel)

Poppyseed Strudel (Mak Pirog)
Poppyseed Strudel (Mak Pirog)
Filled with a moist, sweet poppy seed paste, this rustic yeast-dough roulade is a comfort food eaten throughout Eastern and Central Europe.Maxime Iattoni

Filled with a moist, sweet poppy seed paste, this rustic yeast-dough roulade is a comfort food eaten throughout Eastern and Central Europe. This recipe first appeared in our April 2012 issue along with Gabriella Gershenson's story Flower Power.

Mak Pirog (Poppy Seed Strudel)
Filled with a moist, sweet poppy seed paste, this rustic yeast-dough roulade is a comfort food eaten throughout Eastern and Central Europe.
Yield: makes 2 LOAVES

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp. milk, heated to 115°, plus 1/3 cup
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) package active dry yeast
  • 34 cup sugar
  • 14 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing
  • 1 14 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 34 cup ground poppy seeds (available at Kalustyan's)
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 14 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp. heavy cream, for egg wash
  • Whole poppy seeds, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Whisk together 6 tbsp. heated milk and yeast in a bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Whisk in 14 cup sugar, the oil, 1 tsp. salt, and the egg and yolk; add flour, and stir until dough forms. Transfer to a floured work surface; knead until smooth, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let sit until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch down dough; cover, and let sit until puffed, about 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the filling: Heat remaining milk, sugar, and salt, and ground poppy seeds, butter, and zest in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; cook, stirring, until thickened and smooth, about 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla, and let cool.
  3. Heat oven to 350°. Punch down the dough, and halve it; transfer each half to a work surface and, using a rolling pin, flatten each into a 10″ x 14″ rectangle. Spread half the poppy seed filling over each rectangle and fold the longer sides 1″ toward the center; starting from one short side, fold up rectangles into 3″-4″-wide flat loaves. Transfer loaves, seam side down, to a parchment paper—lined baking sheet, and brush tops with egg wash; sprinkle with whole poppy seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.