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January 21, 2011

Diane's Kolacky

Pauline made this poppy seed strudel every time we got together for holiday celebrations. The filling is jam packed with lots of ground poppy seeds and sugar – the thicker the better.  Diane (Datka), her oldest daughter, has also been making them for years, and one day this past fall we made them together.  This savory-semi sweet roll was originally served as a wedding cake in the Austro Hungarian Empire.

This strudel freezes very nicely: cut the baked, still warm logs into slices, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and a freezer bag. To serve, heat frozen pieces in the microwave for 20 seconds.

Rolling the pastry dough with the poppy seed filling


  • 2 packages yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 8 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups milk, lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup butter

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup ground poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup sugar


  • 1 cup ground walnuts
  • 3/4 cup sugar

Slicing the warm kolacky

Dough Steps:

  1. Mix yeast, 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tsp sugar together, proof for 10 minutes
  2. Mix the rest of the dough ingredients together, except for the butter
  3. Add the yeast mixture in to the flour mixture
  4. Once the dough is mixed into a round ball, quickly add in the butter, in pieces, until incorporated into the dough
  5. Place in a greased bowl and cover, allow to rise for 45 minutes in a warm place
  6. Grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder, or in the painfully slow way with a mortar and pestle
  7. Add the poppy seeds into 3/4 cup sugar


  • Divide the risen dough into 4 pieces
  • Roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick
  • Spread 1/4 of the poppy seeds over the middle of the dough, leaving about a 1 inch border all the way around
  • Roll the dough up, tucking the ends under, and leave the seam under
  • Brush the roll with milk
  • Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 20 minutes

Pauline's beautiful daughter, Diane. Diane loves to eat sweets, and we don't know how she manages to stay so thin.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Lidija permalink
    January 22, 2011 2:14 am

    I am so partial to poppy seed strudel (and walnut, studel, for that matter; can’t decide which one I like better!) and will definitely try freezing it. It is so lovely to see your beautiful aunt; what a lovely photo!

    • January 22, 2011 8:40 am

      I think walnut too, is just as delicious. My Aunt Diane looks very much like her grandmother, Marisa, from Dolny Kubin at least from the old pictures I’ve looked through.

  2. Mary Milec permalink
    January 22, 2011 8:08 am

    I tried it this Christmas from Milans Moms recipe. I think it may be the same. Think I need more poppy seeds though.

    • January 22, 2011 8:30 am

      According to Diane, there can never be enough poppy seeds (and lots of sugar)! She spreads it on thick, like peanut butter.

  3. January 22, 2011 9:14 am

    Aunt Diane looks so beautiful in that picture!

    And I’m so pleased you shared this recipe — I remember these and will try to make them one day.

  4. Nicholas Harmon permalink
    January 22, 2011 8:34 pm

    I can confirm that this Slovak desert is especially delicious. Nice article Tonya!

  5. Carole permalink
    January 23, 2011 4:15 pm

    Oh, gosh, I haven’t had poppy seed kolache in years. I will definitely try your recipe–thank you!

  6. March 1, 2011 4:48 am

    Makovy zavin… I love it 🙂 Yours looks wonderful.

    • March 1, 2011 7:09 am

      Michaela, I just took a peek at your website – a Slovak in India – how cool is that?! I can hardly wait to try the recipes as I love Indian food, but I don’t know the dishes or ingredients well, or the techniques. I would love to learn more about you too, and just what got you there and from where originally. I will subscribe to your blog too.

      I am so glad you visited.


  7. Stefanie Kohn permalink
    October 2, 2012 11:07 am

    hello, may I have a high res image of one of your creations?

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