I've always had a bit of thing for Eastern European poppy seed cakes with their dark, rich fillings. This one is based on the Romanian cake cozonac, which is traditionally made on Christmas Eve. Rich, buttery doughs like this should be proved in a really warm place, such as the airing cupboard.
Chocolate and Poppy Seed Pastry
- Preparation time: 40 minutes
- Cooking time: 35 minutes to 50 minutes
- Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes
For the dough:
500g strong white flour
7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
125g caster sugar
100g butter, softened
2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
100g poppy seeds
25g unsalted butter
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water
- Mix the flour with the yeast, sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the butter, eggs, vanilla extract and about 2/3 of the milk and work together, gradually adding enough of the remaining milk to form a soft dough. Knead for 5–10 minutes until beautifully smooth and silky. Return to the bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place until doubled in bulk. This may take 2–3 hours.
- For the filling, grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder. Bring milk and sugar gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the poppy seeds and cook for about 3 minutes until very thick. Cool for a few minutes then stir in the butter and chocolate.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease a baking tray. Knock back and knead the dough for a few minutes. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 22cm x 30cm rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving 1cm bare along each edge. Roll up tightly, place on the baking tray, cover loosely with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for half an hour to rise.
- Brush lightly with the egg yolk and water glaze and scatter over the flaked almonds. Bake for 40–45 minutes until firm and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack, then cut into slices to eat.