Jess’s Poppy Seed Strudel Recipe and Tom’s Homemade Irish Cream recipe…

We made 5 giant Poppy Seed Strudels today, rolling the dough with a tall bottle of flavored water.

With guests arriving soon for the holidays, it was time to put aside my culinary restrictions and start baking for those that do enjoy high carb, sugary, mouth-watering pastries and baked goods so appropriate this time of year.

One of our favorites is an eastern European recipe for Poppy Seed Strudel, Tom’s favorite, having missed it over the past year and a half on our restricted way of eating. 

I love this delectable pastry beyond words, a slice warmed in the microwave, covered with unsalted butter.  Unfortunately, I consumed very little in the past knowing it could cause a spike in blood sugar.  Now I will have none of it, not a taste.  My health is more important, especially now that we are only 13 days away from leaving the US.

So here is the recipe reminiscent of Tom’s childhood, found online some years ago (no creation of mine, other than pulling it all together).  It’s really not hard to make.  The prep time to make this entire recipe is less than two hours.

We have no rolling pin here.  Stubborn, I won’t buy one and will use a tall skinny bottle of chilled flavored water to roll the dough. It doesn’t have to be rolled very thin, so this will work. There was no small mixing bowl either here, either so I used a soup bowl to mix the yeast and warmed milk. Oh well.
(We also noted the lack of a potato peeler this morning.  My sister Julie is bringing one from LA!).

Poppy Seed Bread (Strudel) Recipe – Makowiec

An Eastern European dessert table would invariably include something sweet made with poppy seeds, either ground or whole. This poppy seed strudel is made with a yeast dough and is known as makowiec (mah-KOH-vyets) in Polish. Canned poppy seed paste is available in the ethnic or the baking aisle of most supermarkets. 

Makes 2 Sweet Polish Poppy Seed Breads
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
      1 package active dry yeast
      2 cups warm milk
     8 cups all-purpose flour
     3/4 cup sugar
     1 teaspoon salt
      5 eggs
     4 ounces (1 stick) butter, melted
     3 (11-ounce) cans poppy seed filling
    4 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup 2% milk, starting with 1/4 cup milk until you have an easy to spread frosting
    1 tablespoon real vanilla


1.   In a small heatproof bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of the warm milk.
2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and eggs. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups warm milk, butter, and yeast mixture. With the paddle attachment, or by hand, beat until smooth. The dough will be sticky at this point.
3.  Scrape dough into a clean, greased bowl. Sprinkle the top with a little flour and cover. Let stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size.
4.  Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a rectangle.
5.  Spread 1 can or half of the filling you made on each rectangle of dough and roll up like a jelly roll. Turn the ends under so the filling will not leak out.
6. Place on a parchment-lined or greased pan, cover, and let rise again until double in size.

 7.  Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush tops with additional melted butter. Bake 45 to 60        minutes or until strudels are golden brown.  Don’t let them get too brown.

8.  Remove from oven and cool. When totally cooled, neatly frost with the above frosting recipe, or use canned white frosting if preferred.

Over the years, Tom made dozens of bottles (over 150 wine sized bottles, one year) of this fabulous holiday treat. We’ve given them as gifts to family, friends, and co-workers nicely bottled, corked, and imprinted with a custom made Christmas labels.

Due to time constraints, we won’t be making it this year and wanted to share the recipe with our readers, many of whom have enjoyed this in the past. Here you go! Enjoy!

Tom Lyman’s Irish Cream (Equivalent to Bailey’s)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1-pint ½ and ½ or real whipping cream

3 pasteurized eggs (important for safety)

1/8 teaspoon coconut extract

1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

1 cup Irish Whiskey or other bourbon or whiskey

Blend all ingredients in a blender for 2 minutes, then add 1 cup whiskey, measuring into the empty can of sweetened condensed milk in order to remove every last drop of the creamy sweetened condensed milk.

Blend for another 30 seconds. Pour in a glass bottle with a tight-fitting cork.

Keeps for 30 days in the refrigerator.

Should you decide to try either of these recipes or any other recipes we’ve posted, please don’t hesitate to email me with questions.  I check my inbox frequently and will get back to you quickly.

Ah, the holidays.  We love this time of year.  So much gratitude.  So much love. And of course, so much food!