Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen Wand

Poppy Seed Pinwheels

This is a good year round recipe but as Imbolc is near, I thought I would contribute a last “seed” recipe. Seeds are one of the traditional foods of this celebration, along with grains and dairy, all parts of this pinwheel recipe.

Many North American recipes for poppy seeds are combined with lemon. This is a twist on a more traditional Russian version of a poppy seed filling.

Poppies are connected to sleep. Scenes like the poppy fields in The Wizard of Oz or connections to Gods of sleep like Hypnos and Somnos underscore it’s link to dreams. Poppies are also linked to the moon and since this Imbolc falls near a new moon, this is an appropriate time for something with poppy seeds, be it muffins, cookies or these tasty pinwheels.

Just don’t plan for any blood tests. The poppy seeds can register as opium and then there will be “some ‘splainin’ to do”.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen Wand

You will need for the filling:

3/4 cup poppy seeds ( if you can find them ground all the better )

1/2 cup milk, not skim ( time to fess up , I had whipping cream I needed to finish off )

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup sugar ( I have also done this with honey )

a pinch of salt

1 egg

“In my kitchen, filled with care, I welcome water, fire, earth, air”. Breath in, hold, release & repeat. Again if necessary. Findhorn, in Scotland, has a saying, “Work is love in action”. Reach for the love.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen WandGrind the poppy seeds in a coffee mill. It truly is your best bet.

I did these in three sections, 1/4 cup at a time and gave them several pulses before leaving the grinder on for about 15 – 20 seconds.

Blenders and Cuisinart type machines just seem to blow everything around and nothing really happens to the seeds.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen WandIn a small pot on the stove over medium heat, combine sugar, milk and butter. Once everything is melted, gently allow the mixture to come to a simmer.

In another bowl, use a fork to mix up the egg a bit and slowly add some of the hot milk into the egg, stirring thoroughly.

Once about 1/4 of the milk mixture has been added, pour the egg mixture back into the main pot and stir well.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen WandThis process, also called tempering, will stop the egg from cooking to quickly. As the mixture in the pot simmers, it will thicken. Do not allow it to boil.

Add the ground poppy seeds, stir well and take off the heat.

The mixture can be “canned” for future use or set aside for the next step in the cookie, slice, bread making process.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen WandIf you find yourself short of poppy seeds try topping up with chopped walnuts.

Once the filling is complete, allow it to cool a little as the dough is being made. If you make the filling ahead of time and it is in the fridge, bring it out and allow to return to room temperature. If the filling is too cold it will effect the rising of the dough.

This is a quick bread dough but it is also possible to use a yeast sweet bread recipe. Since we were making the filling from scratch, I chose a quicker recipe for the pinwheel part. We are all busy but if you have the time and inclination, yeast ones would make a lovely addition to a weekend breakfast or brunch.

You will need for the dough:

1 3/4 cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 Tbsp. ground pumpkin seeds ( optional )

6 Tbsp. Cold butter

3/4 cup buttermilk

and for later 2 Tbsp. honey

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen WandCombine all the dry ingredients.

I happened to have ground pumpkin seeds in the house. ( Dr. Oz had suggested they might be useful as a sleep aid with hot milk. ) So since this recipe was an homage to seeds, I tossed in a couple of tablespoons. If you have none, just carry on. The pumpkin seeds and the cinnamon help also create a finished product that is closer to whole wheat in flavour.

Cut the cold butter into smaller pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Crumble the fat until a coarse mixture is created. It is also possible to do this part in a Cuisinart if you prefer. I few short pulses should do it.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen WandOnce a coarse mixture is achieved. Add the buttermilk. Truth time. I was doing the” use up the whipping cream thing again”, so I used 3/4 cup whipping cream mixed with 2 teaspoons vinegar that I had let sit for 10 minutes.

The trick to making flaky biscuits is to do as little work as possible while mixing in the buttermilk. This is a little counter intuitive when the next step is to use a rolling pin and flatten the dough but I still would recommend mixing just until the ingredients come together and don’t over work the dough.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen WandTake the mixture out of the bowl, place on a floured work surface, pat it into a ball and roll out into a rectangle about 1/3 of an inch thick. Roll in one direction, turn the dough over and twist the dough 90 degrees so that when you are rolling again, it is in the opposing direction. This will help keep your dough more or lessĀ  rectangular in shape.

Place the poppy seed filling on the rolled out dough and spread to the edges. Leave about an inch free of filling on the edge you are rolling towards. If you roll from the short side you will get larger pinwheels. If you roll from the long side you will get more pinwheels that are smaller in size.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen WandRoll up the dough and when you are at the end that will be clean of filling, take a little water or milk and brush along the dough before finishing the roll. This will help the end to seal. Cut in 1 – 1 1/2 inch slices and place on your baking pan.

I wanted a flower type shape so I used a spring form pan with parchment paper on the bottom. These can also be baked in a greased 9×9 baking pan. Make sure you have 9 pieces when cutting. I have also seen smaller ones in muffin cups.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, remove form the oven and drizzle with 2 Tbsp. honey, return to the oven to finish off baking about 10 minutes. The honey will help the pinwheels brown.

Serve warm or cool, with or without butter.

I did not add a drizzle as there was honey on top. A quick weekend sweet just enough outside the norm to be something special. So put the kettle on, light a candle and have a chat with family or friends about the seeds they are planning on planting this year and what assistance might be appreciated, now that the light is returning.

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen Wand

Poppy Seed Pinwheels from My Kitchen Wand


Posted in Bread & Other Yeast Items - both sweet and savoury, Imbolc/Candlemas.