Poppy seed recipes for Purim

Below, you can try these tried-and-true recipes that are sure to make your holiday happy and sweet.

How to bake hamantaschen with Pascale Perez-Rubin, Erica Schachne and Esther Schachne (For more information: www.pascalpr.co.il)
Dganit Amichai and Rona Pardis first became friends 20 years ago when their children were in kindergarten together. After a number of friendly conversations between the two about how they wished there was a nice cozy café in their neighborhood where people could sit and enjoy a cup of coffee, they realized they could combine their talents and training (Amichai was a TV producer and Pardis had a degree in interior design), and together they opened the Lechem Yayin (Pane & Vino) bakery.
Slowly, they began building up their business. They started in a 60-meter space in Yehud and did everything themselves, including washing the dishes. Soon enough, they were able to quit their day jobs and expand the café to sell pastries, alongside cheeses and wine. Amichai is in charge of finances, suppliers and budgets; Pardis is responsible for design and the staff.
Everything else they do together. Nowadays, they are running a popular restaurant, in addition to their bakery and café. The space is surrounded by green plants and the atmosphere is reminiscent of an outdoor Parisian café.
I asked the two of them to treat us to three famous recipes with poppy seeds, which are featured heavily in Purim desserts.
Below, you can try these tried-and-true recipes that are sure to make your holiday happy and sweet.

POPPY SEED SQUARES

Use a 25-cm. x 30-cm pan.
Makes 24 squares.
Poppy filling:
200 gr. (1 cup) white sugar
200 ml. (1 cup) 3% milk
55 gr. butter
½ tsp. lemon zest
Pinch of cinnamon
200 gr. (2 cups) ground poppy seeds
80 gr. (1 cup) ground walnuts
Dough and crumble:
100 gr. (½ cup) sugar
150 gr. butter
Pinch of salt
1 egg
250 gr. (1½ cups) white flour, sifted
To prepare the poppy filling, add the sugar, milk, butter, lemon zest and cinnamon to a pot and heat over a medium flame. Bring to a boil while mixing every once in a while.
Once the mixture boils, turn off the burner, add the poppy seeds and mix. Turn the flame back on low, and then after a minute, turn it off again. Add the walnuts and stir. Let cool.
To the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook, add the butter, sugar and salt. Mix well. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and mix until crumbly. Keep mixing until dough forms a ball.
Take a quarter of the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. Roll out the other three-quarters on a work surface and then cover it with plastic wrap, too. Put them both in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes.
Roll out the ¾-flat piece of dough so that it’s the size and shape of the pan and about 1 cm. thick. Place it in your pan.
Spread the poppy filling on the flattened dough. Use a vegetable grater with large holes to grate the remaining dough on top of the poppy filling. Bake for 40 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180° until cake has turned golden brown. After it has cooled down, cut into squares.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 90 minutes.
Status: Dairy.
POPPY SEED CRESCENT COOKIES
Makes 10 cookies.
Poppy filling:
1 cup white sugar
200 ml (1 cup) 3% milk
55 gr. butter
Pinch of lemon zest
Pinch of cinnamon
2 cups ground poppy seeds
80 gr. (1 cup) ground walnuts
Dough:
2¼ cups flour
1 egg
5 Tbsp. powdered sugar
40 ml. milk
120 gr. softened butter
1 Tbsp. dry yeast
Pinch of salt
To seal edges:
1 beaten egg
Toppings:
½ cup whole poppy seeds
3 Tbsp. syrup (made from ratio of 1:1 hot water and sugar)
Add the sugar, milk, butter, lemon zest and cinnamon to a pot and stir. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring every occasionally.
Lower the heat and add the poppy seeds. Turn off the burner and mix in the poppy seeds. Turn the flame back on low for one more minute then turn off again. Add the walnuts and stir. Let the mixture cool down and then transfer to a pastry bag without a tip.
Add all of the dough ingredients, except for the salt, to an electric mixer bowl fit with a dough hook and mix for 2 minutes. Add the salt and mix for another 5 minutes until all ingredients are well mixed. Separate the dough into sections weighing 60 gr. each and roll each one into a ball. Place dough balls on a pan, cover and place in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
Roll out each ball into an oval shape that is 12 cm. long and 9 cm. wide.
Add a dollop of filling to each oval and then brush the ends with egg. Roll the oval from one tip to the other and seal openings.
Place cookies on a pan covered with baking paper with the opening facing down. Bend the ends of the cookies until they form a crescent shape.
Brush all the cookies with egg and let them dry for 20 minutes at room temperature.
Brush with egg again and then sprinkle with whole poppy seeds. Let cookies dry for another 20 minutes.
Heat your oven to 170° and bake for 15 minutes.
Brush with syrup after they come out of the oven and then let cool.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 90 minutes.
Status: Dairy.

BASBOUSA (SEMOLINA AND POPPY SEED CAKE)
Use a 30 cm. X 33 cm. pan.
1 Tbsp. raw tahini
Syrup:
2½ cups sugar
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. citrus-infused water
Dough:
200 gr. melted butter that has cooled to room temperature
3½ cups semolina
½ cup poppy seeds
½ cup flour, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. coconut flakes
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 container yogurt, 1.5% fat
1 Tbsp. honey
Topping:
Whole pistachios or almonds
Spread the tahini on the bottom of the pan. Add all the syrup ingredients to a pot and heat over a medium flame for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the burner and let cool. Add the citrus water and set aside.
To prepare the dough, add the semolina, poppy seeds, flour, baking powder, sugar and coconut to a bowl and mix well.
Gradually add the butter and knead with your hands gently so that the butter gets mixed in well. The texture should be crumbly like couscous.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the egg yolk, yogurt and honey. Mix well and then fold the wet mixtures into the dry mixture. Spread the mixture in the pan. Flatten until it spreads to all the edges.
Mark gently with a knife 5-cm. squares on the surface. Add a pistachio or almond to the middle of each square.
Bake for 20-25 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 190° until it turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before pouring syrup on top.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 45 minutes.
Status: Dairy
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