What Is Makowiec?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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Makowiec is a Polish poppy seed roll often served as a dessert or with tea. It is very similar to other poppy seed rolls popular in Hungary, Russia, and other countries. Recipes in different countries may vary, but the roll is typically constructed with thick dough and a poppy seed paste rolled together. Some people add icing to these rolls, but they are also served plain. Many families make makowiec as a holiday tradition, but it can be found year-round in Poland.

There are many different makowiec recipes, but all involve both dough and filling paste. The dough is made, allowed to rise, and then spread out into a sheet. Once the sheet has reached a desirable thickness, prepared poppy seed filling is spread on top. In some traditions, these layers are quite thin, but thick layers are favored in many Polish recipes. These two layers are rolled together, and the dessert is baked in an oven until it is finished.


Poppy seed filling is the most unique feature of this dessert, and although it is possible to purchase the filling in a can, it is fairly straightforward to make at home. Often, the filling for the dessert includes honey, butter, and milk. In some recipes, walnut paste is added to the filling as well. Depending on the specific recipe, other fruits or coffee may be added to the paste, but these items must usually be in a smooth pulp for the consistency of the roll to be appropriate.

The particular construction of makowiec creates a specific and unique appearance when the roll is cut. Bands of poppy seed filling and dough wind around each other in a spiral with a brown baked crust. Rolls can be cut in slices of variable thickness. In some cases, makowiec is presented in its uncut form and then cut as it is served during the course of dessert.

Decoration of the finished roll is also important. The addition of a drizzled sugar icing is popular, as is a dusting of powdered sugar. It is usually not necessary to coat the roll like a cake, but some people prefer more frosting than others.

Traditionally, makowiec is served as a dessert or with tea, but it is sometimes associated with Christmas or other winter holidays. It is possible to find makowiec in stores all year, but making this dish at home is often a holiday tradition. This dessert is very popular at Polish festivals and at Polish restaurants abroad.


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