Ukrainian poppy seed buns
Rustle up these moreish sweet poppy seeds buns, filling them with pecans, walnuts or pistachios. Poppy seeds are one of the most-loved ingredients in Ukrainian cuisine
- Serves: 18 persons
- 250ml kefir
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast, or 15g fresh yeast
- 1tbsp caster sugar or honey
- 360-400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100g poppy seeds
- 100g shelled nuts of your choice (pecans, walnuts or pistachios)
- 400ml whole milk
- 80g unsalted butter, softened
- 50g dark muscovado sugar
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 1egg, beaten with a splash of milk or kefir
Step 1Whisk together the kefir, yeast, sugar or honey and 2 eggs in a stand mixer or large bowl. Tip in the flour along with 1 tsp salt and mix well until there are no pockets of flour. The dough will be a bit wet and shaggy (loose and formless) at this stage. Can be covered and left to chill overnight. Prove for 1 hr in a warm place until puffed up. Knead, using the dough hook attachment of your mixer or with your hands on a lightly dusted surface, for 10 mins until smooth.
Step 2Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the poppy seeds, nuts and milk in a small pan over a low heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30-45 mins until all the milk has evaporated. Keep an eye on it so that the milk doesn’t catch. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. Will keep chilled in an airtight container for up to three days, or frozen for up to three months.
Step 3Transfer the poppy seed mixture to a food processor. Add the butter, both sugars, a pinch of salt and vanilla. Blitz until you have a thick paste.
Step 4Line a deep 30 x 20cm baking tray with baking parchment, allowing some overhang. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead gently, using floured hands, incorporating the flour from the worktop. The sticky dough will soon begin to feel soft and velvety.
Step 5Re-flour the surface generously and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 40 x 30cm rectangle. You can use your fingers to stretch the edges, if needed. Dot the poppy seed filling all over the surface – it’s fine if there are a few little gaps – gently spreading it with your hands without tearing the dough.
Step 6Roll the dough into a log, along one of the longer edges, being careful not to roll it too tightly. Cut the log into 16-18 buns along its length using a sharp knife. Arrange the rolls close to each other on the prepared baking tray. Leave to prove in a warm place for 30 mins until they’re puffed up and nestling into each other.
Step 7Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Brush with the beaten egg mixture and bake for 40 mins, turning halfway through, until golden. If the filling starts to catch, cover with foil. Leave to cool completely in the tray, then tear apart and serve. Will keep frozen for up to a month. Warm in a low oven before serving.