Sweet Buns with Poppy Seeds are delicious pastries that are light and fluffy with lightly sweetened filling and a beautiful sugar glaze.
Makes 16 medium sized pastries.
Click the link for Sweet Yeast Bread recipe and prepare 1 batch of dough according to those instructions, cover and allow it to proof until doubled in size (~2 hrs).
Prepare the filling while the dough is proofing.
Alternatively, you can use 2 cups of store-bought canned poppy seed filling. You'll need a little less than two 12 oz cans. Skip to "Shape the Sweet Buns" section if using store-bought (Note 2).
Rinse: Place the poppy seeds into a fine mesh sieve and rinse with running water until the water runs clear.
Cook: add the rinsed poppy seeds to a pot with 4 cups of water. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for about 30-40 minutes. Drain the water and rinse the poppy seeds in a fine-mesh sieve again. Shake off excess water as much as possible.
Mix the softened poppy seeds and the rest of the ingredients (Note 3) until a smooth filling forms.
Using the grinder: Put the poppy seeds through a meat grinder, then repeat the process one more time. This will break up the poppy seeds making the poppy seeds softer and more pleasant to eat. Then add the condensed milk, egg whites, and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.
Using a blender: add the cooked and drained poppy seeds to a high-powered blender, then add the egg whites and the condensed milk. Grind on medium speed using a pusher to push the poppy seeds down, or stop as needed to scrape down the sides.
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Once the dough has proofed until doubled in size punch it down by pressing with a closed fist downward in the middle of the dough.
Turn out the sweet bun dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll the dough into a 24"x24" square using a floured rolling pin. Keep lifting the dough and checking that it does not stick underneath as you roll it. If at any time the yeast dough sticks to the surface use a bench scraper to free it from the surface and add a light dusting of flour as you continue rolling. Adding too much flour will toughen the pastries, keep that in mind.
Spread the poppy seed filling all over the dough staying away from about 1-2 inch edge closest to yourself.
Fold the dough: visually divide the dough into thirds. Fold 1/3 of the dough furthest away from yourself over the middle third. Next, fold the last third over the middle and pinch the end sealed.
Shape the pastries:
Cut the folded dough into 16 strips widthwise using a long, sharp knife.
Shape: Working with one strip at a time, hold the opposite ends of the strip and pull slightly to make the strip a bit longer. Then, twist it twice. Overlap the ends and press them together by pushing down with a floured tip of the wooden spoon handle. Use a bench scraper to swiftly pick up the pastry and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with the rest of the strips and transfer to the prepared baking sheet spacing the sweet buns with poppy seed filling evenly (~about 8 per baking sheet).
Proof: Cover the shaped poppy seed sweet buns with a tea towel and allow them rise until doubled in size. A better way to determine if the pastires are proofed enough and ready to go in the oven is described in Note 4.
While the pastries are proofing preheat oven to 350F with the baking rack centered.
Once the pastries have risen, bake them for about 20 minutes or until nice, golden and baked through. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle should read 200F°.
Prepare while the oven is preheating and the buns are proofing.
In a bowl stir 2 cups of powdered sugar, 3-4 tablespoons of milk, and 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract together until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Once the sweet buns have cooled slightly, they should still be warm, but not hot (~5 minutes), dip the top into the powdered sugar glaze, then lift it up and allow excess to drip off. Then turn over and set back on the baking sheet or cooling rack.
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