by Anke Perez
(San Antonio, TX)
This is a Silesian recipe, that is traditionally served only on Christmas and maybe New Year. I think it is sometimes also called Mohnklöße, or Mohnkließla, but I know these as something alltogether different, a dumpling. The word "pielen" is a dialect word for "rounded", the form the individual serving has when scooped out of the dish.
My Great-grandmother, Emilie Steiner or Steiner-mila as she was called, was from Kotzenau, Silesia and this is her grandmother's recipe, with some variation in the bread, for taste and availability.
She eyeballed the measures but I figured out measures...more or less.
This is a layered bread pudding type dessert and the poppy seeds MUST be ground or the result will be sandy, or grainy and the seeds can't release their oils an nutty flavor.
Note on poppy seed buying:
Go to one of the bulk food stores and before buying, taste a few seeds, if they taste bitter and rancid, or smell unpleasant, they are.
Good Poppy seeds smell Slightly musty and have a nutty flavor. Not bitter or harsh. Grind within a day if using, they turn rancid quickly.
Needs to be made 24 to 48 hrs in advance, so plan ahead. Great to make in advance, one less thing to worry about during hectic holiday prep.
- Raisin bread or other sweet bread sliced, about 1/2" thick or pre sliced from the bag. about 6 slices
- 250 g poppy seeds, ground
- 1 liter milk, 2%
- 1 big pat butter (1/4 stick or so)
- 150 g dried mixed fruit, soaked over night in 60 ml orange brandy or other fruit spirits (orange juice may work for a no alcohol option)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or lebkuchen spice
- 150 g sugar
- 150 g coarsely chopped nuts, almonds, walnuts, divided 2/3 for recipe, 1/3 for decoration.
- Let the bread get old and stale, over night.
- Soak the fruit over night.
- Bring the milk with butter, sugar and spices to a simmer, stirring constantly.
- Add the poppy seeds, fruit with their alcohol and the 2/3 nuts.
- Stirring constantly simmer for about 10 min. The mix thickens while simmering.
- Take off the heat and let rest for 30 min, will thicken more as the seeds absorb liquid and swell.
- In a glass bowl lay down a layer of the stale bread.
- Ladle poppy mix over it to cover completely. A nice layer about the same thickness of the bread slice.
- Another layer of bread topped by another layer of poppy mix.
Repeat...end with a layer of poppy mix.
- Tap the bowl on the counter gently to firm and settle the mix.
- Sprinkle the rest of the nuts on top for decoration.
Let cool on the counter and then place in the fridge for 24 to 48 hrs.Serving.
With a tablespoon scoop out a portion and serve with whipping cream on top.ENJOY