I grew up eating poppy seed rolls for Christmas and Easter. I could never get enough of the filling. Mama ground her poppy seeds, soaked them in hot milk and ran them through the grinder again after they had softened. All she added was sugar and egg white. That was my favorite. She never iced her rolls--it would have taken away from the poppy seed taste. I've bought poppy seed rolls when I've found them in bakeries in Pennsylvania, but they're often flavored with lemon and honey. I can't find them at all in local bakeries here. It's also impossible to buy poppy seeds in bulk here so I've used canned filling this time and decided to add some cream cheese icing and walnuts to make them look more festive.
4 cups flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tblsp. granulated sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 cup warm water, 115 deg.
14 oz. (approximately) poppy seed filling or make your own
Mix flour, butter and sugar with a pastry blender. Add egg yolks and mix well.
Dissolve yeast in warm water and add to dough. Mix well. Chill overnight in covered bowl.
Next day, whip room temperature egg whites until stiff.
Roll out half of dough to 13-inch circle. Spread 1/2 of the filling over the dough. Spread half the egg white over the filling. Roll up like a jelly roll. Place on one side of lightly greased large cookie sheet (or parchment-lined sheet pan). Repeat with the other half of the dough. Cover with towel and let rise for 1 hour.
Bake at 350 deg. 35 to 40 minutes. Cool.
3-oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tblsp. melted butter
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Beat everything together, except walnuts. Spread over cooled loaves. Sprinkle with walnuts.