Russian Poppyseed Pinwheels (Булочки с маком)
When I lived in Russia, my favorite pastry was bulochki s makom (булочки с маком), or poppyseed pinwheel rolls. They look similar to cinnamon rolls, and are assembled with the same technique, but are filled with a paste made by boiling poppyseeds in honey and milk. While I’ve been to some good Russian bakeries in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, bulochki s makom don’t seem to be a common item. Piroshky in Pike Place Market, Seattle, does offer delicious poppyseed rolls, but they include raisins, which I found intruded on my culinary nostalgia. I haven’t discovered any Russian bakeries here in Iowa, so once again I’ve turned to my own kitchen with a spirit of experimentation. None of my Russian cookbooks contained a recipe for these pastries specifically, so I modified my dough recipe for cinnamon rolls, and based the filling on a recipe in Medovaya kulinariia by Lidia Lagutina.
Russian Poppyseed Pinwheels
2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp honey
3 1/2 cups flour, divided
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
The dough is best made with all ingredients at room temperature. Melt the butter and let it cool. Whisk together the eggs, butter, buttermilk, sugar, and honey until well blended. Whisk in 2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt until smooth.
Using a wooden spoon, stiff spatula, or your hand, work in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft, smooth, and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball, roll it in an oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Leave to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and gently shape it into a rough rectangle. Gently roll the dough into a rectangle about 18″ x 12″. Spread the filling out evenly on the dough, leaving about 1/2 an inch along one short edge bare.
Starting at the other end, roll the dough up tightly enough to hold its shape but not so tightly that the filling squeezes out. Pinch the bare strip of dough at the end along the roll to seal the seam. Position the roll seam-downward on the board, and cut into a dozen 1″ wide rolls. Lay the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes. Brush the tops with honey, and continue to bake another 10-15 minutes, until deep golden brown.
3/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk, which is what I had on hand)
Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and boil over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour out into a bowl to cool slightly, and then grind in a food processor until the seeds form a thick paste.