Every time I make these poppy seed pastries, it takes me back to my childhood. They are super soft and fluffy, filled with nutty poppy seeds and sugar, creating beautiful texture and flavor. Perfect for breakfast with a cup of hot beverage, a snack, or on the go. Besides, they are fun to make and super delicious!
I basically grew up with these poppy seed pastries. They were a staple at my home. I remember my mom and grandmother kneading the dough by hand and making a big batch of it, letting it rise, and kneading it again, repeating this three times. They also used only fresh yeast; dry yeast was not available back then. And of course, I was helping and eating the dough, as any kid does. But when the pastries were baking, the whole house would smell like a bakery, and I couldn’t wait to eat them!
However, at present time is much faster to make Plushki. Now that we have dough mixers and dry yeast, there is no need to knead the dough three times. Therefore, I can make them much more often without spending hours in the kitchen.
What are Plushki?
Plushki (plural, Plushka-singular) are traditional Russian pastries made with enriched yeasted dough. They can vary in shape and type of filling, like poppy seeds, cinnamon, or jam.
What are Poppy seeds?
Poppy seeds are seeds from a poppy plant. They areblack/gray, tiny-shaped seeds used in cooking and producing oil used in paint, varnish, soap, and more.
The flavor is nutty and a bit sweet which makes them perfect for baking.
Although they are known for their opium properties, you have to consume a very large amount of them to actually get high. Therefore, don’t be afraid to use them in your cooking. After all, if they weren’t safe, they wouldn’t have been sold and used for centuries.
Poppy seeds benefits
Manganese – it’s a trace mineral that can improve bone health, reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar, and much more.
Fiber – as we all know, fiber helps with digestion and prevents constipation, but it can also lower blood sugar and help manage diabetes. You can read more about it here.
Omega-6 – just like Omega-3s, these are essential fatty acids that the body doesn’t produce. It’s important to eat foods containing omegas, like poppy seed oil, grapeseed oil, sesame oil, and others. Check draxe.com for more info.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc – are important minerals for the body. They can help with bone health, the immune system, blood sugar regulation, and more.
Good for the skin and alleviating stress – who wouldn’t want beautiful skin and less stress?!
How to use Poppy seeds in cooking?
Poppy seeds are widely used in a variety of dishes, particularly baking.
They are a great addition to muffins, sweet loaves, pancakes, crepes, and oatmeal, but also in bread, bagels, and savory foods. You can soak them in water or just sprinkle them on top.
Other seeds, like sesame, chia, sunflower, and more, can be used together with poppy seeds. You can even mix them into jams, butter, or other types of spreads.
How to store poppy seeds?
Poppy seeds, like many other seeds, are rich in oils, and oils can go bad. Fresh poppy seeds should taste nutty; if they taste bitter, this means they are bad. Keep them in an airtight container in your pantry, away from sunlight and heat. In fact, if you don’t use them very often, you can keep them in the freezer for a longer shelf life.
Also, make sure the poppy seeds you are buying are fresh. Very often, stores will sell seeds that have been sitting on the shelf way too long and have already lost their flavor.
How to make poppy seed pastries?
Making this recipe is not hard. As with any other enriched dough, having all the ingredients at room temperature will help in creating a smooth and homogeneous dough. You just need a little bit of time and patience. Remember, the dough doesn’t like to be rushed.
- First, start by warming up the milk just enough to activate the yeast. Don’t make it too hot or it will kill the yeast. The ideal temperature is 105-150F(40-46C). Next, mix the yeast with the milk and a tablespoon of sugar. Let it sit for a few minutes till the yeast is foamy.
- To the activated yeast add the melted butter (make sure it’s not hot), eggs, vanilla, salt, and sugar. Next, mix with the whisk attachment till everything is nice and smooth. Then switch to the dough hook and add the flour, a little at a time, while mixing at low speed. This can take between 7-10min. The dough is ready when it doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl or your hands.
- Transfer the dough to a flat surface sprinkled with flour and shape it into a boll. Place it inside an oiled bowl and cover it with a towel or plastic. Let it rest till double the size, about an hour or longer, depending on the room temperature.
A quick tip: Place a bowl with hot water underneath the bowl with the dough. The steam from the water will help the dough rise faster.
- Once the dough has risen punch it to deflate and fold it a few times. Then transfer to a floured surface and divide into eight equal pieces, about 120g each. I like to use a kitchen scale for more precise measurements. However, you can also just eyeball it. If you would like you can make them smaller in size.
- Using a rolling pin roll one ball at a time into a flat oval shape about 1/4 inch thick(5cm). Then brush with melted butter, sprinkle sugar and poppy seeds, and roll from the narrow side into a tube. Pinch both ends together and cut through the center while holding the ends. Split open and place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Leave about 2″(5cm) between each pastry. Cover the tray with a towel and let it rest for 1 hour.
- Finally, bake at 350F(180C) for about 17-25min, depending on your oven. They should be golden brown on top. After that, you can take them out of the oven and let them cool off a bit before eating.
How to store poppy seed pastries?
You can store these poppy seed pastries in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days. If you would like, you can freeze them for up to three months and defrost them in the oven till soft.
More delicious recipes
STRAWBERRY AND RHUBARB BRAIDED ROLLS – If you have some fresh or frozen rhubarb and strawberries, or even jam I highly recommend you try these amazing rolls.
PUMPKIN BUNS FILLED WITH HOMEMADE PUMPKIN JAM – These Pumpkin Buns filled with pumpkin jam are fluffy, soft, and super delicious, you just have to try them!
HOW TO MAKE CHALLAH BREAD – Wonderful Challah bread that is light as a feather and perfect for french toast.
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POPPY SEED PASTRIES PLUSHKI – RUSSIAN SWEET BUNS RECIPE
- 1 Rolling Pin
- 1 Stand Mixer
- 7 g Active yeast, 2¼ tsp
- 1 t Sugar
- 135 ml Milk, warm, 1/2 cup
- 80 ml Butter, melted, 1/3 cup
- 2 Eggs, room temp
- 2 t Vanilla extract
- 1/2 t Salt
- 100 g Granulated sugar or Raw cane sugar, 1/2 cup
- 500 g AP Flour
- 3 tbsp Butter melted
- 50 g Granulated sugar or Raw cane sugar, 1/4 cup
- 35 g Poppy seeds, 1/4 cup
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Water
- First, warm the milk. Don't make it too hot. Warm enough for the yeast to bloom, if it's too hot it will kill it. Usually, the best water/milk temperature for dry yeast should be 105-115F(40-46C).
- In a bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, 1tsp sugar, and warm milk. Let the yeast activate for a few minutes.
- While the yeast is activating, melt the butter.
- Once the yeast is foamy (meaning it's alive and good to use) add the flour, salt, melted butter, vanilla, and sugar. Mix on low using the dough hook.
- While the mixer is running add the eggs one at a time. When the dough becomes smooth and doesn't stick to the sides, it's ready. If it's still steaky add more flour.
- Shape the dough on the counter and transfer it to an oiled bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic whrap and let it rest till double the size. This can take an hour or more depanding on the room temperature. You can also place the bowl on top of another bowl filled with hot water, the steam from which will warm up the dough.
- When the dough has doubled its size, punch it and fold a few times, then transfer to a clean floured counter. Divide the dough into equal size bolls, I like to use a kitchen scale, but you can also just eyeball it. It makes 8 balls at about 120g each.
- Using a rolling pin, roll one ball at a time into a flat oval shape about 1/4inch (5cm) thick, (see photos). Brush some melted butter on top using a pastry brush and sprinkle sugar and poppy seeds on top.Roll the dough into a tube (like a cinnamon roll) and pinch both ends together. Using a knife cut through the center holding the ends together (see photos). Split open and place on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Repeat the same with the rest of the dough.Once all the pastries are ready cover them with a towel and let them rest for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350F(180C) before baking. Make the egg wash by whisking one egg with a tablespoon of water. Using a pastry brush, brush each pastry with the egg wash. Bake on the middle rack till golden for 17-25 minutes, depending on your oven.
- When ready, take them out of the oven and let them cool a bit.Enjoy!
- Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.