I’ve made an amazing sweet for Easter, namely the poppy seed horseschoes which is a popular pastry in parts of Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Israel. It is commonly eaten at Easter time (and Xmas time as well). It is traditional in several cuisines, including Austria, Hungary, Bosnia etc.
The dough is made of flour, sugar, egg yolk, milk or sour cream and butter, and yeast. The dough may be flavored with lemon or orange zest or rum. The poppy seed filling may contain ground poppy seeds, raisins, butter or milk, sugar or honey, rum and vanilla. Sometimes a tablespoon of apricot jam, which is one of the most popular jams used in the Hungarian cuisine, is substituted for sugar. The walnut roll filling contains raisins, rum, butter or milk, lemon rind and chopped walnuts. This filling may be spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove or vanilla.
The dough is at first quite heavy, stiff and dry, but with kneading and resting becomes very elastic and strong. It is rolled out into a large sheet, thick or thin depending on taste. One aesthetic principle is that the dough and filling layers should be of equal thickness. Another is that more layers are better. The filling is spread over the dough, which is then rolled into a long cylinder or log. Traditional recipes usually involve brushing the log with the egg white left over from the yolk used in the dough. Other recipes use different washes, or an icing added after baking. The unbaked log is gently transferred to a sheet pan, left to rise, then baked until golden brown.
The poppy seed filling is a paste of ground poppy seeds, milk, butter, sugar, often with additional flavorings such as lemon zest and juice. It may have raisins in it. The walnut filling is a paste of ground walnuts, milk, butter, sugar, and raisins, often with additional flavorings such as coffee or orange zest.
A very long roll may be bent so that it fits on a baking sheet; the result is called a patkó (Hungarian: horseshoe). Before baking, the roll may be given a wash of milk. The roll can be finished with an icing after baking, made of powdered sugar and lemon juice (or a glaze during baking). Usually it is brought from the kitchen already sliced.
In Hungarian cuisine the rolls, one with each filling, are served together. The combination is known as poppy seed and walnut horseschoes. However, in some English language cookbooks there may be no mention of the walnut filling, as if poppy seed were the only filling used. Some other non-Hungarian food writers combine the poppy seeds and walnuts together in one filling. Because Polish and Czech culture have intermingled, immigrants to America sometimes use the term “Kolache” to describe it but it is wrong.
As a new trend, a chestnut-filled variant (bejgli) is emerging, mainly among younger urban families.
I decided to make a much softer dough deviated from the original recipe and it was a big hit!
Here it is:
Ingredients for the dough: 350 g flour, 100 g butter, 10 g yeast, 1 tbsp of sugar, pinch of salt
for the filling: 100 ml milk, 150 g poppy seeds, 100 g sugar, 1 pack of vanilla sugar, zest of 1 lemon, 1 jar of peach jam, 100 g raisins
for the marble top: 1 egg white and 1 egg yolk
You can prepare the poppy seed filling first: Cook the poppy seeds in 100 ml milk adding 100 grams of sugar and the vanilla aroma, and the lemon zest as well. You can add raisins if you like them.
Crumble the yeast in 100 ml luke warm milk, add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Wait until it leaven. Mix all the other ingredients together then add the leavened yeast to dough. Form 24 small oval loaves and roll with the perch into thin sheets. Fill each loave with 1 tablespoon of poppy seed filling and add also half tablespoon of jam. Roll the filled oval forms and pinch the two edges into nice horseshoes form. Let the filled horseschoes stand for 10 minutes, then brush them first with the egg white. Let them stand again for ten more minutes. Then brush the top of the dough with the egg yolk but at this time reverse direction. Arrange horseschoes onto parchment place into the preheated oven (at 220 degrees) and bake for 25 minutes.