Variations of these popular buns abound in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. They can also be filled with jam or cottage cheese and crowned with a crumb topping. FOR DOUGH: 1 packet of dry yeast 1 tablespoon sugar 2 tablespoons flour 2 tablespoons lukewarm milk 4 cups flour 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup lukewarm milk 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 1 teaspoon vanilla FOR FILLING: 2 cups ground poppy seeds 3/4 cup milk 2/3 cup sugar 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 2 tablespoons honey FOR ASSEMBLY: 2/3 cup butter, melted Confectioners sugar

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water according to package directions. Sprinkle with tablespoon of sugar, and stir until mixture liquifies. Add 2 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons milk; blend. Cover, let rise in warm place, 5 to 10 minutes. Add all other dough ingredients; mix well with wooden spoon. On floured pastry board, knead dough until smooth and does not stick. Return to bowl, sprinkle with flour, cover with cloth. Let rise in warm place for 30 to 60 minutes or until almost doubled. Pun ch down.

For the filling: Simmer poppy seeds in milk, stirring for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, lemon peel; simmer 5 minutes. Blend in honey. Makes 2 cups. Leftover filling can be refrigerated.

Assembly: On a floured surface, form into large, biscuit-sized dough portions. To insert filling, smooth dough piece into a square and place spoonful of filling in the center. Bring corners together and pinch to enclose filling.

Place buns, pinched-side-down, in well-buttered oblong baking pan. Brush well with butter. Let rise for 30 minutes.

Bake in preheated, 350-degree F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Separate buns. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serve.

Makes about 24 buns.

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