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BackstoryThis is always on the table for our Wilia (pronounced Villea) - the traditional Polish Christmas Eve Feast. This is a rolled bread with a sweet poppy seed filling. It's a bit of a process to make but we only eat it during Wilia and Easter so it's worth the effort!
- 2 cans Poppy Seed filling (sometimes in the canned pie filling section, sometimes in the ethnic food section)
- Large cake of yeast (or 3 pkg. dry)
- 6 cups of flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 lb. butter or margarine
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 lb. sour cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- some extra melted butter for brushing
- Break up yeast (or add packets) into a large heat resistant cup or small bowl with 1/2 cup of warm milk and a pinch of sugar.
- Put cup into a warm oven (turn heat on low for a couple of minutes, then turn off oven before you add the yeast mixture) about 10-15 minutes, until mixture about doubles in volume.
- Mix 3 eggs w/ sugar, butter and salt. Add about 1 cup of flour, sour cream and yeast mixture and combine. Keep adding flour gradually until dough forms.
- Grease a big bowl and put in a warm oven (warm the same way as with the yeast mixture) to raise - about 2 hours - dough will about double in size.
- In the meantime, put the 2 cans of poppy seeds in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of butter/marg. Heat through, stirring constantly, until it's a spreadable consistency.
- After dough has doubled in size, divide it into 4 equal parts.
- Roll each out into rectangular shape (about 9x13) and brush the dough with melted margarine all over.
- Add 1/4 of the poppy mixture to each and spread it with a spatula to about 1/2 inch from the edges.
- Roll it up as tightly as you can, jelly roll style and pinch seams together and pinch and fold the ends under (you don't want the filling to leak out).
- Lay the rolls on a cookie sheet (or in long narrow bread pans if you have them). Cut a few slits in the top of the bread and let rise again about an hour.
- Right before baking, brush the tops with an egg wash (beaten yolk with a little milk).
- Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30-35 minutes. When you take it out, run some butter over the top of the bread to keep the bread soft.
- When cooled, keep tightly wrapped until ready to serve.
- To serve, slice bread and warm slightly in the microwave or wrap in foil and heat up slightly in the oven.
- Also, this can be frozen, tightly wrapped for up to 2 months.