Poppy Seed and Nut Roll (Makovník a Orechovník)

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Ingredients: leavened dough, ground poppy seeds or walnuts, sugar, bit of milk
Prep Time: 30 minutes (if you already have the dough ready)

Once you have your dough ready, it’s quite easy to turn it onto the Slovak delicacies, the poppy and walnut rolls, makovník and orechovník. Or at least my grandma made it look really easy. These two pastries are identical to each other, except that they have different filling.

poppy seed grinder poppy seeds and sugar
Start off by making the filling. For the poppy seed roll, you will need ground poppies (mletý mak). For this, you will need a poppy seed grinder (mlynček na mak). These work by pushing the poppies between a housing a spinning plate. You can find these online, so that’s probably the best place to start. Or, you can skip all these steps, and use the poppy seed cake filling found in the baking section. I personally don’t like it much, because I think it tastes more like corn syrup than poppies. We used 100g of poppies. This was not quiet sufficient, as you will see in the final product below. So err on the liberal side. You can never have too much of the good thing, right?

poppy seeds with milk
Add sugar (cukor) to taste and also few drops of milk (mlieko). You want the filling to have the consistency of thick sauce. My grandma also put it on the stove for few minutes to warm up.

ground nuts nut paste
The nut filling is made exactly the same way, except that you use ground walnuts (mleté orechy). Again, add sugar to taste and a bit of milk. Heat up the mixture on the stove.

making orechovnik brush orechovnik with oil
Run over the dough few times with a rolling pin, and then use your hands to flatten it out some more. See the recipe for tvaroznik for photos of this step. Then top it with the filling. My grandma started off with the nut roll, orechovník. Lightly grease the top with oil.

roll nut roll orechovnik on greased pan
Then grab one end of the dough “pancake” and roll it into a tube. Place it onto a greased baking pan, the rolled part to the bottom (the opposite of what is shown in the right photo, we flipped it before baking). I am using my finger here to give you an idea of scale.

filling poppy seed roll
Makovník (the poppy seed roll) is the made the same way, except you use the poppy seed filling.

grease top nut and poppy seed roll ready for baking
Then lightly grease the top of each roll with a baking brush. Then set aside for few minutes to let rise.

ujo putting wood in the stove baked nut and poppy seed rolls
My grandma’s cottage has only a wood burning stove. I found this really neat – cooking doesn’t get whole lot more traditional than this! Here is my grandma’s friend Paľo putting bit more wood in the stove. But for more modern kitchens, you want to heat up your stove pretty high, 400-425F. Bake the rolls for not even 30 minutes, turning around halfway. They are ready when the outside turns golden brown. You can reduce the heat once they start turning yellow. After you take them out, brush the tops with oil. This will soften the crust.

traditional Slovak poppy and nut roll
And there you have it. My grandma made it look so easy. As you can tell, the poppy seed roll is little skimpy on the filling. As I mentioned above, we didn’t make enough of it. These rolls are delicious with a cup of tea or coffee.