Poppy Seed Filling
4 ounces poppy seeds, ground finely (I used a coffee grinder for this)
4 ounces raisins
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
2 1/4 ounce packet active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (about 100 degrees)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 to 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 egg yolks (save the whites)
1/2 cup sour cream
- For the filling: Place all the ingredients for the filling in a heavy bottomed saucepan, and heat to a boil over medium-low heat. You must stir the mixture constantly until the boil is achieved, this should take about 20 minutes. The mixture will thicken as you stir. Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl and place it in the oven to cool. I cooled mine overnight.
- For the Dough: In a small bowl, mix together the yeast, water and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside and allow the yeast to proof. This should take about 5 minutes and you will know it is complete when the mixture looks frothy.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and once the oven comes up to temp, turn it off. This creates the perfect place to rise any dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer(the bowl is off the mixer at this point) combine the flour, salt, and sugar with a whisk. Add the cold butter and combine with a pasty cutter, two forks or your fingers. Return the bowl to the stand mixer, to the flour mixture add the eggs, the sour cream and the yeast mixture. On low speed knead the dough until it forms a nice smooth ball.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly greased metal bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the dough in the warmed, yet turned off oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The dough should double in size.
- Once the dough as risen, separate it into four discs, and allow them to rest for 20 minutes.
- On a floured surface, roll out each disc into a circle, fold the circle into a square. With the dough now in a square shape, roll it out into a 12x12 inch square. To this add some of poppy seed filling leaving an inch clearance on one side and roll up the dough and filling like a cake roll. Pinch the ends shut and place the roll seem side down on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Repeat until all four rolls are done with two rolls each on a baking sheet. Allow the rolls to rise again for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degree while this second rising is occurring.
- Brush the tops of the rolls with the left over beaten egg whites. Bake each cookie sheet for 20-35 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the rolls to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to completely cool. Do not cut the rolls until they are completely cooled.