Monday, 11 February 2013

Vanilla poppy seed cake Mákos Pite

As long as you have a packet of poppy seeds on hand, this is an easy winter store cupboard cake. You need to grind the black poppy seeds with  a spice or coffee grinder before making the creamy poppy seed paste for the filling. A very popular pie-shaped (or square tin shaped) cake all over Eastern Europe, Germany, Austria and a really great afternoon treat with your tea or coffee. This is made with a quick shortcrust pastry and a creamy vanilla and lemon scented sweet poppy filling. Add dried fruit to the filling if you wish, sultanas, prunes, cherries or small pieces of quince jelly are delicious mixed in. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream.

For the pastry:
300g plain or wholemeal flour
150g butter, cut into cubes
pinch of salt
2 tbsp sour cream or creme fraiche

For the filling:
150g ground black poppy seeds
50g sugar
50g semolina
200ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or scraped out seeds of a vanilla pod
grated zest of a lemon
1 egg white
1tbsp sultanas

1 egg yolk for glazing

Make the shortcrust pastry quickly by putting all ingredients into a food processor and mixing until a pastry ball is formed. If you are doing it by hand, crumble the cold butter and the flour together between your fingers until you get a fine crumble texture. Add the salt and sour cream and knead into a firm dough. Make the filling by heating the milk with the sugar and vanilla until almost boiling. Take it off the heat and add the ground poppy seeds, semolina, lemon zest, sultanas, stir until well mixed. Let it cool to room temperature. Beat the egg white until firm peaks form then gently fold into the poppy mix. Preheat the oven to 180C. Divide the pastry into two and roll out the first one to the shape of your greased or lined tart case or baking tin. I used a 24cm loose bottom tart case. Place the pastry in the tin, pour in the filling and roll out the other pastry to cover the filling. Press down along the edges and cut the excess pastry off neatly. Brush the top with the egg yolk and bake for about 40 minutes or until all the pastry and filling is cooked, check this with a wooden skewer. Let it cool and dust with icing sugar.   

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