Before we get to today’s recipe I’d like to say something off subject. By now many of you would have heard that Mr. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple computers, lost his long battle with pancreatic cancer. I of course did not know him personally but he did change my life. He changed everyone’s life, he changed the world. Wether you own or do not own any Apple products your life was affected by his vision. There have been many copycats and products inspired by Apple products, things you come across in your technological world. Mr. Jobs was a visionary, he was a genius of a man. His passion changed the world and all or our lives. May you rest in peace Mr. Steve Jobs and to his loved ones I express my most sincerest condolences.
For a very long time I would not touch poppy seeds. I don’t really know what my problem with poppy seeds was, they don’t taste or smell bad. Sorry poppy seeds for discriminating against you, shame on me. Those discriminating days are long gone and now I quite like them. These little blueish black seeds, which also come in a white variety, are commonly used by many people around the world. But if you’ve ever traveled to slavic countries you will notice that poppy seeds are very popular in the local cuisines, particularly sweet pastries.
One day after hearing a friend go on about how delicious a plum pastry she had eaten the day before I finally decided to give poppy seeds a try. It was the same little round yeasted bread with a sweet center filling of plum and poppy seed that my friend spoke about. I couldn’t believe how great it tasted, boy had I really been missing out. The filling was sweet like jam and a little texture came from the ground up poppy seeds. There was also a taste and texture of nuts. From that day forward I was hooked and will dive into those pastries any chance that arises.
This recipe was inspired by those Czech plum pastries but it is not a traditional recipe. I have been pushing myself to become as comfortable with baking as I am with cooking savory dishes so to me that calls for experimentation. While these do not taste exactly like the pastries which got me hooked they aren’t too bad, if I do say so myself. These little pastries were really a combination of two different tarts that I remember tasting. Next attempt I will either hunt down a Babicka to give me her secret family recipe or there’s always the internet. Please feel free to play around or suggest modifications to the recipe.
15 grams or 1 Tbs. fresh yeast
1 tsp. white sugar
2 Tbs. warm milk
1. Proof the yeast – warm the milk and mix in the yeast and sugar and allow to bubble or froth.
2/3 cup or 125 ml warm milk
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup or 60 grams white sugar
pinch of salt
3 Tbs. Sunflower oil, *adjust if you like to melted butter and also amounts
1/2 tsp. Almond extract
2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour,sugar and salt until well mixed. Make a well in the center and add the milk, eggs, oil, almond extract, and yeast proof. Stir and knead the dough until a smooth elastic dough. Set aside allowing to rise.
Poppy Plum Filling:
100 grams whole Poppy seeds
1 Tbs. ground Cinammon
3 cloves or pinch ground
300 grams dark plums,(weight is whole fruit)
4 tbs. Sugar
1/4 cup or 10 grams ground almonds (mine were left overs from Almond Milk)
1 Tbs. Rum
2 Tbs. Whole Milk
2 Tbs. Butter
3. Place the poppy seeds, cinnamon and cloves in a blender and process until the poppy seeds are broken up. Pour the poppy seeds onto a separate bowl. Rinse the plums, cut in quarters and discard the pit, then place inside the blender. Add the rum and process for a couple of seconds, only to break up a bit, pour the poppy seed mixture back into the blender. Blend for a couple of minutes.
4. Melt the butter in a pan then pour in the milk, sugar and poppy plum mix stirring until well combined. Next add the finely ground almonds to the pan, again mixing well. Leave the sauce to simmer and thicken under low heat, stirring now and then.
5. In the mean time, divide the dough into equal sized balls and roll out into flat circles about 1/4 inch or just over 1/2 centimeter thick. Press a jar or glass in the center of each rolled out circle to form a small well in the center of each circle. Place on baking sheet and fill the center well with poppy plum filling. Brush the edges with egg wash and bake.
Bake for 15-20 , depending on size of the tarts, or until the edges are golden brown.
As you can see the tarts are a yeasty bread with a sweet fruity center. They are great as a dessert with a cup of tea or coffee but they also taste great as a breakfast pastry. If you prefer a more buttery texture feel free to add more oil or butter to the dough mix.
What is your favorite ways to use poppy seeds? Do you have any savory recipes in which you use poppy seeds?