Dec 23, 2013

Poppy seed strudel w/whole spelt

There is no Christmas without a poppy seed strudel in my home.

Recipe adapted from Pascal kontra Okrasa
time: 30 min preparation + about 90 min inactive + 50 min baking

for filling
400 g (14 oz) ground poppy seeds
200 g (7 oz) marzipan paste, diced
180 g (6 oz) raisins
50 ml (4 Tablespoons) rum
100 g (3.5 oz) whole almonds
grated zest from 1 orange and juice from 1/2
500 ml (2 cups) boiling milk (almond OK)
for dough
500 g (3 1/3 cups) flour OR: 240 g (2 cups) whole spelt flour and 200 g (1 1/3 cup) regular flour
50 g (2 oz) fresh yeast, finely crumbled
200 ml (4/5 cup) milk (almond OK)
7 egg yolks
120 g (2/3 cup) sugar
120 g (1 stick) butter, melted
for glaze
150 g (15 Tablespoons) powder sugar
2 - 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 - 3 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup candied orange zest, chopped

prepare filling
Macerate raisins in a bowl with enough rum and water to cover all the fruit for at least 30 min. Drain. On a skillet, toast almonds on medium/high for 5 min, stirring often. Let them cool and chop rather finely. Place seeds and marzipan pieces in medium pot. Quickly, stir in boiling milk. Cover the pot with a lid for 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, mix till all marzipan dissolved. Add raisins, nuts, orange zest and juice. Cover the pot with a lid till ready to use.

prepare dough
Mix flours together (flour mix). In a small pot, slowly bring milk to boil on medium heat. Using a bubble whisk, gradually mix in 8 Tablespoons flour (65 g flour mix/80 g regular flour). Take it off the heat and, using a wooden spoon, keep mixing vigorously for 1-2 minutes, till smooth consistency. Let it cool to warm (about 30C/86F), stir in yeast (OK if not all dissolved). Transfer the yeast mix into a small bowl, cover it with a cotton cloth and place it next to a heater for 40 minutes till you see (and feel) a spongy texture. Using a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, on medium/high speed, start beating yolks, gradually adding sugar, till pale and creamy. Switch attachment to needle. Add yeast mix, mix till somewhat combined, about 5 minutes, on low speed. Gradually add the rest of flour. When flour absorbed, slowly add liquid butter. Keep the mixer running for about 8 minutes till dough is elastic, smooth and not sticky. Cover the bowl with a cotton cloth, set it next to a heater for at least 1 hour.

Prepare a baking sheet with two pieces of parchment paper (one piece cut in half, lengthwise). Divide dough in two. On a rolling board, with a rolling pin, roll each half into a 30x36cm (11x14 inch) rectangle. With your hands, spread filing on each rectangle, leaving about 1inch (2.5cm) boarders on both shorter sides and one longer side. Using both of your hands, start rolling dough from the no-boarder longer side, slowly, without pressing. Finish rolling, seem side down. Fold both ends under to seal the filling. Before lifting the strudel, make sure the bottom seal is secure. Lift cakes and place on parchment papers, spaced 20cm/8inch apart. Sit the sheet next to a heater, covered with a cotton cloth for 20 minutes. Meanwhile...

Preheat oven to 170C/340F (fan forced function). Place the strudels in the hot oven for about 50 minutes, perpendicularly to the oven door for more even baking. Take them out. Let cool completely.

prepare glaze: In a medium bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix powder sugar with lemon juice and water, if necessary, to reach the constancy of icing (I added a little too much liquid). Pour icing on cooled strudels, top with candied orange peels.

  • my poppy seed strudels  -  so full of seeds, they often crack; a little scary but even more delicious; 
  • my Mom has always stuffed them to the max and so do I; 
  • I don't have a favorite recipe, every year is an experiment; 
  • last year was a little disaster; this year - a winner!
  • this formula is by a Mr. Okrasa, a very cool (and cute) Polish chef;
  • my dough needed about twice the time to rise than the chef recommended;
  • if my dough didn't double (he didn't say it should), I gave it enough time to see a change in volume and/or texture; most of the rising action happens the last 15-30 minutes;
  • the filling is my idea;  Mr. Okrasa suggested ready-to-use seeds from a can; orange juice was his touch  - beautiful;
  • the chef made one big strudel; it looked like a lot of dough for me, so I decided to make too cakes;
  • a poppy seed strudel should be eaten not long after it's made, because the fresher it is, the better;
  • and it is usually the first one to disappear...
  • all the cakes (fruit cakeStollen, gingerbreadpanettone) are going with us to my sister's today where they will be judged by a demanding crowd over the next couple of days.
  • I made the strudels again a week later, lowered the oven temperature from 180C/350F to 170C/340F - no cracks.

The kitchen won't be operating till the end of December.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 


  1. I adore poppy seed strudels; your looks fantastic!

  2. Wow!! This seriously looks so amazing!! Not only does it look delicious... but it also looks beautiful!! Thanks for sharing and I hope that you have a lovely Christmas!!

  3. Oh man, this looks so so good! I love using poppy seeds in my kitchen and this is so different from what I normally do with them! Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  4. That is so beautiful! I know it's a lot of work to make, but I'm seriously tempted to try. Hope you have a merry Christmas!

  5. I have never had a poppy seed strudel before but it just might need to become a holiday tradition! This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing. I hope you and yours have beautiful Christmas!

  6. I've never had a poppy seed strudel but I love poppy seeds and this looks absolutely stunning!

  7. This is just stunning! I wish I could have a slice for the breakfast now :-)
    Happy Holidays!

  8. Oh I love this! I had one for the first time in Lviv, in Ukraine and I've been a fan ever since.

    Merry Christmas!

  9. What a lovely strudel, just perfect for the Holidays.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Elzbieta , have a wonderful time!

  10. I love poppy sedes and this look wonderful!!!xxx
    Merry Christmas Ela:)

    I love your site!!! xxx

  11. Wow, Ela, this looks amazing! I love how you stuff it to the max. So pretty too! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  12. Love poppy seeds, this strudel looks amazing. Happy Holidays!

  13. O mine, Ela, how do I crave this for Christmas morning! What a wonderful treat you made for the loved ones! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

  14. How tempting!!!
    Merry Christmas,dear!All the best to you and your family!

  15. My mother always baked kalacs with poppyseeds at Christmas. Merry Christmas Ela xo

  16. This is really beautiful, Ela! I'm jealous of your Christmas as you get to eat this without exception. :) Happy Holidays!

  17. Anonymous12/26/2013

    Wow, finger liking good Ella,
    i guess it's a perfect breakfast on chrstmas morning.....
    Merry christmas and happy holidays!!!
    God blessed you all the way my friend......

  18. Wow this is beautiful and sounds fantastic too! I wish I could have a huge slice of it right now. May your holidays be blessed with love from family and friends while enjoying wonderful food too! Hugs :)

  19. Poppy seed strudel is my favorite! then apple....

  20. I adore streudel...and your poppyseed filling makes a gorgeous presentation. And I'm certain it's as delicious as it is beautiful. Merry Christmas, Ela!

  21. I love poppy seeds and marzipan so I know I would love your recipe :) I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year to come!

  22. Wow, so much going on and very intricate. It definitely makes me think Christmas because it's special.

  23. This bread looks delicious! Poppy seeds are very healthy and I'm sure they are delicious in this recipe!

  24. This looks delicious, and I love the poppy seed touch you gave it. Just going to continue to stare at these pictures now...

  25. This looks so delicious! And being hungry, it's making my worth water even more than normal.. :). I love poppy seeds!

  26. Love poppy seeds and this strudel looks amazing! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!